30 Lessons for 30 Years

It’s about to get thirty, flirty and thriving up in here.

Totally. Via Giphy

I’ve never been scared of turning 30. I have always enjoyed hitting age milestones and this is no different. Okay, it may have been nicer to not be 40 pounds heavier on my 30th birthday, but having a baby is pretty cool, so I can’t complain. But really, I love entering new stages of life. It’s crazy to think of what was going on when I turned 20 and how it feels like both yesterday and a lifetime ago. When I turned 20, I was preparing to transfer to an out-of-state university, juuust about to have my heart broken, and had no idea how much my life would change in the next couple of years. Or how those next couple of years would shape my entire decade. Hindsight is fun!

Anyways, as I’m getting ready to turn 30 on Saturday, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned up to this point. Some are things people have taught me directly, some are obvious, and some have taken a few years to realize.

  1. There are very few absolute truths. Recognize that your “truths” may change as you learn and live, so try to see things from others’ perspectives before assuming they’re wrong.
  2. High school really wasn’t the glory days. If you ever wish you were still in high school, then you’re living wrong.
  3. I’ve done a lot of embarrassing things and had a lot of embarrassing things happen to me. I don’t remember most of them anymore and the ones I do remember are pretty funny now. So keep your head up and give them your best red-faced smile. That guy in the school library probably won’t remember you accidentally manhandling him anyways. Or it’ll be his favorite college memory. Win-win.
  4. Liking yourself is super important. The more I like who I am, the more confident I am in my decisions, in my relationships, and in my ability to adapt to the changes that always come.
  5. People come into our lives for short seasons sometimes. Not everyone will be a lifelong friend, and that’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up for not staying in touch with every person you’ve ever known.

    This was a super fun day and I loved these friends in college. I talk to probably two of them still. Doesn’t change the great memories, though.

  6. Some people will have a permanent place in your life, though, so do make time to strengthen those relationships.
  7. When it comes to dating, remember that the wrong one is the right one to lead you to the best one.
  8. Your dreams and goals will change. This is a good thing, it means you’re growing. My life is so different and so much better than what I could have thought up at 18.
  9. Don’t waste time with toxic people. Sure, there are people you care about who always have drama and that’s fine, but there’s a difference between them and people who suck you dry emotionally. Some of my best decisions were to distance myself from those relationships.
  10. Again with dating and love–just because you and someone weren’t good together doesn’t mean that person will be terrible with everyone. If you see them happy with someone else, don’t worry about why they get to be happy and you’re not. Let it go, move on with your life, and be glad they found someone who they can be a better person with. At the very least it should give you hope for yourself.
  11. Life is a lot more interesting than we recognize sometimes, and a lot more enjoyable when you look for the funny stories happening all around you. Because then you can tell people about the one-armed chicken man and that time you used your body as a human shield to keep an empty car from rolling into another one in a parking lot while you were in a skirt and heels. Life is good stuff!

    Though not the one-armed chicken man, this guy did open his door when I knocked on it once. And no, I did not know him, but yes, he did let me take his picture because I was laughing so hard.

  12. A selfish life is a really lame way to live. Do things for other people.
  13. Keep a journal of some type. It is so much fun to look back and see how you’ve changed, what you’ve learned, who you’ve met, and how you’ve become who you are.
  14. It’s okay to want to be attractive. It’s also okay to want to be smart, funny, well-educated, articulate, a good friend, and any other positive quality you want to be. There’s a lot of room to become a lot of things, don’t limit yourself.

    Brains and beauty, am I right? But seriously, you can be a whole lot of things all at once.

  15. Start taking care of your body while you’re still young. Don’t try to survive off of sugar, no sleep, and no exercise. That’ll come back to bite you in the butt much sooner than you think.
  16. Learn how to take care of your mind, too. Meditate, pray, get therapy, color–whatever. Your mind needs to recharge as much as your body does.
  17. Nobody else can make your life turn out the way you want. Your goals require your own work.
  18. Waking up early is the bomb. Unless you’re being woken up by a crying baby. Other than that, it’s the best.
  19. For crapssake, go to bed at a decent hour! You’re an adult, you should know by now that staying up late makes you cranky and less effective. No late night talk show host is funny enough to cause me to give up my sleep.
  20. If you’re not kind to old people, then you’re pretty much a horrible person and I don’t want you in my life. And I do not apologize for that.

    Me and my grandma about 30 years ago, give or take a month.

  21. People have more similarities than differences if you’re willing to really look and listen to them.
  22. Open your eyes, recognize the opportunities around you, and take advantage of them.
  23. There is zero point in trying to make others feel small, insignificant, or stupid. When has being a jerk ever made you feel good about yourself? When has being kind ever not made you feel like a better human?
  24. Learn to apologize. Not in the “I’m sorry my house is such a mess” kind of way, because that’s lame and you don’t need to feel sorry about that. Do apologize in your relationships and really mean it. Don’t try to outlast your loved ones and “win” by not saying sorry. The real win is when you talk, understand, and improve your relationships.
  25. Real relationships are hard and take work to maintain. It’s easy in casual dating and friending to discard people when you don’t want to deal with their drama or problems. Relationships of substance require you to face those and work through them. It’s way harder and scarier, but much more fulfilling. You know you’re in a real relationship when you want to work through the hard and scary things.

    We’re totes in an adult relationship.

  26. Kids change everything. They can be awesome and horrible within about 30 seconds. It’s a great sacrifice, but make sure you’re ready to make that sacrifice.
  27. Make your education an investment in yourself and future. Learn skills that will help you both in the workplace and in your personal life. Take advantage of the time you can dedicate to learning.
  28. There is a special satisfaction in being really good at your job. Don’t be afraid to be great in your career.
  29. Go for it. Whether it’s a big dream, crazy random thought, whatever. Just try it and see what happens.

    Remember this fun thing that happened? Never thought I’d get to be part of something like this, but I went for it and it worked out!

  30. Car dance parties are appropriate at any age. True story.

So there you go. Not even close to all the lessons I’ve learned, but some good ones. Here’s to another year’s worth of learning! What are some of the lessons you’ve learned?

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