When I was a teenager the thought of turning 30 was horrifying. Literally, horrifying. People that were 30 (or older) seemed so grown up, so responsible, so old. I officially turned 30 on May 11th and now I am the BIG 3-0. But it doesn’t seem old at all! In fact, I still feel young. I still feel like I am trying to figure things out and I am a total impostor in this adult world. I feel like a kid with a big age label on my lapel. Heck, I’m still kid size, pocket size, travel size, whatever you want to call it.
After discussing with some of my closest girlfriends what we had learned in our 30 or almost 30 years back in April, I could not stop thinking about the little tidbits life has taught me. It was intriguing to hear what my friends have learned and to think about the things we have yet to learn.
As most people do when they come to a pivotal age in their life, I am reflecting on the things I have learned in my young 30 years. I know there is plenty I am missing or forgot to include, but I thought this list was pretty comprehensive (not in any specific order). So, here it goes…
- If it feels like a fart, it might be a fart, but what if it’s a shart? Don’t risk it in public…
- High school is the easiest thing you will experience in your life. WORK HARD so you can get further along in the next stage of your life.
- (If you go to college) College is the most fun thing you will experience in your life. However, you should still work hard because the work you do there will lead you to a job later down the line (you can only hope). The harder you work, the better you will set yourself up. Oh. and GET INTERNSHIPS. Internships actually lead to real jobs once you graduate and make it easier to network. If college isn’t for you, no need to worry. There are a lot of career fields that do not require a college degree. A certificate program may be the best route for you. Take the time to explore different career options, you don’t want to feel stuck and regret not going a different path down the road when you have a family and/or mortgage payment (hahahahaha so many Millennials can’t get mortgages because of student loans – not funny, just amusing we go to college to get a good job to buy a house and turns out paying for college thwarts our efforts to buy homes. OK rant over).
- Don’t worry about having a lot of friends, make sure they are quality friends.
- Don’t worry about having close friends in high school and college. The friendships you make in your young adult life will be totally rad and you will most likely be closer to those people than anyone in high school and college (why, you ask? Because people go off to college or move away for jobs after college and you end up losing touch. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, it just happens. Some of these people will be lifelong friends too though).
- Know what your values are and stick to them. They will guide in times of darkness and keep you grounded.
- Family is family, spend time with them because you only have them for so long. Unless they are bad people, then spend time with the family you make your family or the family that treats you with respect and dignity. Don’t waste time on bad people.
- Don’t worry about what people think about you. You are solely here to take care of yourself. So, put yourself first and only care about what YOU think and how YOU feel. Side note: some of you reading this may think it’s OK for me to say that because I am weird and don’t give AF and, you, my friend, are correct.
- Love and love hard. If you don’t love hard you will never experience heart break and if you never experience heart break you will never know the joy of loving and being loved in return. It is worth it.
- Dance because it feels good and your body wants to move to the groove. Just please remember, when dancing (and in life in general), have grace, class, charisma, and manners.
- Fail and fail a lot. When you fail you are just learning another way that does not work. Be OK with failing because it means you are trying, and the more you try the likelier you are to succeed. It’s better to try and fail than to never try at all. But when you fail, try again, try again, and keep trying until you succeed.
- Don’t be someone you are not. In the end you will just disappoint yourself for not being true to yourself and disappoint others who thought you were the person you are not.
- Find your rascal pack and support them HARD. They will support you back and it feels WONDERFUL knowing your tribe/squad/gang has your back no matter what.
- Laugh a lot, it helps develop wicked abdominal muscles. On that same note, abs are made in the kitchen (seriously). Don’t think you can do crunches every single day and eat crap and have nice abs. It doesn’t work that way and never will.
- Wrinkles are really just experience lines and they are beautiful. Don’t cover them up. Accept the aging process, accept your flaws, but most importantly, accept where you are in your life. If you are 30 with wrinkles, don’t try looking like you are 19 again, because trust me, you are fooling nobody. Side note: Once you start getting Botox, you can’t stop because Botox eventually wares off and the wrinkles become worse looking than before. So just don’t start.
- Love yourself more than anyone else, it’s not selfish. Practice tons of self-care. It is worth it and it will make you feel fabulous.
- Learn personal finance at a young age. It will save you loads of money in the future. Know what interest rates are, know how to budget, live below your means, and SAVE (because one day you will want to retire).
- Don’t take out student loans FOR GOSHDARNSAKE! Unless you absolutely have to, and then only take out enough to pay your tuition. Live like a broke student, you will appreciate it so much more in the future knowing you won’t be paying off student loans until you are 55.
- Develop strong relationships. It’s ok if you lose some overtime, that is just the ebb and flow of life. Some will last a lifetime. Overall, researchers say having strong and deep relationships are the key to living a longer, happier life.
- Forgive ALWAYS. Holding on to anger is not healthy for you. Ask yourself, is this going to matter in 5 years, 3 months, or 2 days? In some instances, it will – forgive anyway. But for most instances, it will not matter. Learn to let go and move on. Holding onto anger is like holding a hot pan in your hand expecting someone else to get burned – you are really the only one getting hurt.
- Have a strong work ethic. This will carry you very far. How you do anything is how you do everything. Instead of being lazy and expecting life to be easy, work hard at everything and expect to struggle and things to be difficult. Opportunities will present themselves to you. Have patience. Opportunities don’t present themselves every year. You have to put in time and effort for opportunities to come knocking.
- Focus on health, eat clean, and workout. Just like taking care of a car, it is important to put gas in that car, to make sure the battery is charged, and to get the oil changed. It’s just like your body. You need to take care of it for it to last a long time. You may have a sweet tooth, but you need to figure out how to curb those cravings because sugar is truly poison and does things to our bodies that you would not believe (read “The Case Against Sugar”).
- Be confident but, be humble, and have humility. Everyone is replaceable.
- Read a lot of books and be careful how much time you spend on social media. Always try to learn more because learning and growing is what will move the needle forward in self development and in your career and life.
- Treat others the way you want to be treated. Golden rule. Always remember it. It will bite you in the butt if you don’t.
- Heels are pretty, but healthy feet are WAY better. Pain is not worth it.
- Even a bad plan is better than no plan. Know your end goal and understand plans can and will change.
- Learn the Stockdale Paradox and ALWAYS remember it: you must maintain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, AND at the same time, have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality. Greatness is a matter of conscious choice.
- Problems will always exist in our lives. It is completely unrealistic to think at some point in our life we will get “through” everything and not have any problems. Once you get through one problem, there will be one on the horizon waiting for you. The sooner you accept this, the easier it will be to work through problems that come up. Problems will always exist. Life is not meant to be smooth sailing, that is not the human experience. Don’t rob yourself of the human experience by wanting no problems. If you accept that problems are a part of living, a part of the human experience on this earth, and there will always be problems in life, it will be much easier to handle them and get through them.
- Your perception is your reality. If you believe you will never succeed in life, you will never succeed in life. Having a positive mindset goes much further than you might expect.
To wrap it up, I am more excited about my 30’s than my 20’s by FAR. I know this will be one of the best decades of my life. My 20’s were a ton of fun, but now I am more established, more secure personally and financially (and more knowledgeable about personal finance), and know more about myself and what I want. I am in a place where I love myself, I love my body, I love what I am doing, and most importantly, I love the man I am sharing my life with and could not be happier.
Cheers to the BIG 3-0 and the years to follow!