Another year, another birthday! 🎂But this one is a bit more special than others: it’s my 30th birthday! 🎉 A 30th birthday is something that is anticipated for such a long time, and now that it’s here, it doesn’t feel real!
To me, age is just a number. I’ve never had any negative feelings about turning another year older. In fact, I feel incredibly blessed and excited to have made another trip around the sun. I embrace my age and I don’t feel any different about 30. I’m finally at a stage in life where I feel comfortable in my own skin, I have people around me that truly love and care for me and I feel the same about them, and I’m financially stable enough to really enjoy life. All great things!
However, I know a 30th birthday is a “milestone” year. Many of us, myself included, tend to measure our lives by these milestone birthdays. “By this age I should be doing this” and “by this age I should be doing that”. Now, here I am, totally single, no kids, working a job I never could have anticipated, and living in Chicago. None of these things were in “the plan”…
So I feel like I should feel frustrated or sad, but I don’t at all. I’ve been reflecting a lot on my life and the journey I have taken to get here. And guess what? I wouldn’t change a damn thing. I am so incredibly happy with where I am at in my life, there’s no room for sadness.
Somewhere along the way, I realized that there is no timeline that should be followed. If you’re not where you thought you would be by a certain age, there’s nothing wrong with that. None of us have crystal balls. None of us can predict the future. Life throws you curveballs and ya never know what can happen.
So, as I mentioned, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting leading up to this big day. I thought this would be the perfect chance to share with you some things that really hit me. Some of these things I learned when I was younger, but most of them have sunk in rather recently. Let’s dive in to the 30 things I’ve learned from 30 years of life!
1. Most things in life aren’t permanent
The hard truth of life is that most things within it, including life itself, are not permanent. Your situation, your finances, your friends and family, your feelings, etc. None of them are permanent. And while that may seem like a sad realization, it’s actually been a blessing to have learned this. You learn to cherish every single moment, you learn that the difficult times will pass, and you learn to live life to the fullest.
2. The grass is greener where you water it
Social media makes it incredibly hard not to feel like everyone out there has it better than you do. But it’s important to keep in mind that social media is mostly everyone’s highlight reel, and that your grass will be greener wherever you choose to water it.
3. The people who truly love you will never think you are “too much” – keep those people around!
I am so thankful for my family and friends. They accept me for the person I am, but also help me grow to be a better person. The people who truly matter in life will never make you feel like you are “too much” or like you aren’t enough. These are the people that matter – so be sure to treat them well and keep them around! They’re irreplaceable.
4. There is no timeline to life
As I mentioned, I came into my 30th birthday reflecting on the timeline I had set for myself at a time a long, long time ago. To be married by this age, to have kids by this age, to be a CEO by this age, etc. All of those things are 100% out of your control. And who’s to say you need to be any of those things by any age? Every single thing that has happened in your life has led you to this point. I have learned to let the chips fall where they may. I believe that anything that is meant for me will not miss me, and that anything that misses me was never meant for me.
5. Small things add up
“Little things, every day.” The little things are the things you can do every day that don’t take a lot of time or effort, but bring you happiness and joy. Maybe it’s enjoying your favorite smoothie after a great workout. Maybe it’s reading before heading into work. It’s important to do those little things because they make your life more positive on a regular basis.
6. Quality over quantity
It’s not about how many friends you have, but about the quality of the people you are surrounding yourself with. I’ve learned to cut ties with those who I felt were toxic or didn’t contribute to my life in a positive way.
7. We accept the love we think we deserve
This is one of my favorite quotes from Perks of Being a Wallflower. The bad relationships we find ourselves in are often a reflection of the love we think we deserve. There was a period in my life where my self-confidence was at a low. I felt like I deserved anything bad that came my way. And yet I wondered why I kept finding myself in horrible relationships. I learned a few things from this: you need to love yourself before you can love anyone else and you teach people how to treat you by what you allow. So don’t settle for anything less than the best.
8. Knowledge is power/never stop learning
Newsflash: reading is COOL. Learning is cool. Knowing stuff is cool. It’s awesome to ask questions and understand new concepts. I try to read 2 books per month and whenever I have a question I find the answer. The other day I wondered why our hair turns gray. This may be a very stupid question, but I didn’t know the answer (and now that I’m typing this, I wonder if this question was caused by my turning 30 😂). So instead of continuing to wonder, I Googled it! I feel like we all ask questions but few of us seek answers. Don’t forget: knowledge is power! (And just so you know, our hair turns gray because the pigment in the follicle dies over time. #themoreyouknow)
9. “He’s just not that into you”… and that’s okay!
Maybe it’s sad I got this one from the movie, but it’s just SO true and it took a LONG time to finally sink in. It’s okay for a guy not to be into you. The same as you aren’t into every guy you come across. I feel like many of us dig for deeper meanings when it’s usually really very simple. Move on and don’t occupy your mind with a guy/girl who’s not into you. Free your energy and open yourself up to the next opportunity.
10. You don’t have to drink to have fun
I learned this during my 30 day no alcohol challenge: life doesn’t stop being fun just because you stop drinking!
11. Work to live, don’t live to work
I once worked a job that quickly overlapped with all of my nights and weekends. While I am a true believer of stepping up and going “above and beyond”, I have also learned how harmful that is for your well being. Work should not dominate your life. Unless it’s your absolute dream job, you need to have a work/life balance. Ultimately, you should work to live – you shouldn’t live to work.
12. Listen to your own advice
How often do we catch ourselves giving advice that we would never take? I shake my head as a write this because I could have saved myself a lot of time and energy had I just taken my own advice in certain situations. When you’re in a difficult situation, ask yourself what you would tell a friend, and then follow your own advice.
13. You are stronger than you think you are
Whenever I am having a hard time, I try to remember a time when I was at a low. Why? Because it reminds me that I’ve gotten through other shitty situations, and I’ll get through the current shitty situation as well. Take the time you need, but then pick yourself back up and start again.
14. Protect your energy
A few years ago I learned a lot about the law of attraction, spirituality, and manifestation. Once I was made more aware of the energy around me, I quickly realized how contagious it is. Bad people give bad vibes. And bad energy has a way of affecting your own. Have you ever been around someone who was angry and complaining about something that had happened to them, and when you walked away, you also felt sort of down even though the situation had nothing to do with you? It’s important to protect your energy and be around those who are positive and uplifting.
15. Stop seeking advice from those who aren’t on the same journey as you
So often we look to others for advice, when really, we already know the answer or what we should do. I personally do this far too often. I ask for others opinions on things for no reason at all. It’s important to keep in mind that the people you are asking, likely won’t have to live with the final result. I’ve learned I need to trust my gut and intuition more often and believe in the decisions I make.
16. Patience is a virtue
Things have a way of working themselves out if you’re able to be patient with yourself and with others.
17. Everyone should read The 5 Love Languages
This book was truly eye-opening. We all have a love language. It’s valuable to learn what your own love language is, along with the love languages of those around you. Once you know the love languages of those around you, you’ll be more able to give and provide them the love that they need, in the way that they need it.
18. Stop worrying about things you can’t control
It’s taken me a long time to learn this lesson. In fact, I’d say I’m still learning it. One of the worst parts about having an anxiety disorder is the constant worry about situations that haven’t even happened yet. What does worrying solve? For a long time I thought worrying was a way of preparing for possible outcomes. But even if something does go as you thought it might (which hardly ever happens), all of the worrying in no way could have prepared me to handle the situation once it actually happened. I do my best to not get worked up until I need to (if I need to). Another important thing to note is that you cannot control other people. But you CAN control yourself (revert to #3!)
19. Sometimes it just is what it is
I feel like so often we look for hidden meanings behind things, when really, there is no hidden meaning at all. Sometimes, it just is what it is. Take things for what they are and move on.
20. Few things matter in the grand scheme of things
Recently I have noticed that people get so mad and upset over things that don’t really matter. We get ourselves SO worked up over things that are so small. How many of the things you were worried about last year are still part of your life today? Probably very few. I do my best to be mindful about the things I get upset about knowing that it just really doesn’t matter. The situation will pass and you’ll likely never think of it again!
21. Money and objects do not equal happiness
Money and objects provide you short term happiness, but that feeling will quickly fade. Then, you’ll just want another object, or more money, to fill the void. On and on it goes. I have learned that my true happiness does not come from things, but rather from people and experiences.
22. Learn how to manage your money early and you’ll be thankful earlier
I’ve always been pretty good with money, but it wasn’t until I moved to California that I didn’t have a choice other than to be a good with money. I highly suggest learning how to manage your money and maintain a budget. I also highly recommend starting a savings fund, a retirement fund, and investing your money if you can.
23. Do what you want to do
I have learned that sometimes you just gotta do whatever the hell you want to do. Say what you want to say. Don’t go to the party. Do go to the party. Do whatever YOU want to do – regardless of what you think other people want you to do.
24. How you feel should not be dependent on how someone else feels
One time I was in a relationship with someone and it was a constant on again off again situation. Often, I would jump back into the relationship just because he wanted to get back together. It never dawned on me to actually think about whether it was something I wanted. I’ve noticed that so many of us do this. It’s important to think for yourself and make decisions that are independent of people.
25. Age is a gift
One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone complains about their age. And 30 seems to be an age an awful lot of people complain about, but I honestly don’t understand why. Why do people seem so resentful about turning another year older? Because you’re closer to death? Because you’re closer to more responsibility? I just don’t understand. Every year I get is a gift. I’ve lost too many friends at a young age to think differently. I honestly think we need to end the stigma around age. You’re only as old as you feel inside and the more you complain, the older you’ll feel!
26. Learn to say you’re sorry
It’s okay to make mistakes, but when you do, admit it, apologize, and move on. Don’t let problems linger solely because you are too proud to simply apologize.
27. “Everyone you meet is for a reason. Either they’ll be a lesson, or a blessing.”
I don’t regret any of the people who have come and gone through my life. Some are more meaningful than others, but each person left me with a different lesson.
28. You cannot compare your journey to someone else’s
Your journey is in no way, shape, or form identical to anyone else’s journey – so why compare them? One person’s life may look picture perfect on Instagram, but you have no idea what that person’s life is like behind the camera. Stop comparing yourself to others because you are on different paths.
29. You are not obligated to be the same person you were 5 years ago, 1 year ago, or even yesterday
I cannot stand when people say “people don’t change”. Sure, people have tendencies and most people are unable to break habits. But to say people never change is just simply not true. I am so different than the person I was 10 years ago. I have grown and lived and experienced things that have shaped me into the person I am right now. I try not to hold people’s pasts against them. We all have a past, but that doesn’t mean it has to dictate the future. You are allowed to change.
30. You will continue learning for the rest of your life
As each life stage passes, I learn so many new things. Hence why you see so many ‘life lesson’ type blogs. I learn new things with every year and I am so grateful for that. I am excited to continue learning and growing and being the best version of myself I can be!
To be totally honest, there were many more lessons I could have included in this list. Each of these lessons ties back to a particular time and situation in my life, so I tried to share the ones that were most meaningful to me. I am excited for the next year of my life. Who knows what lessons will come my way!