I turned 30 this summer.
Yes, a few belated happy birthdays would be lovely to hear, but this really isn’t about THAT (wink). This is about all of the 30 lessons I’ve learned leading up to this 30th birthday.
Because the reality was, I dreaded my 30th birthday.
I totally expected it to be terrible. That’s what everyone says, right? I feared the worst. But before my 30th birthday arrived, I started talking to people about their experiences turning 30. And what I found was fascinating.
The more people in their 30s, 40s, and beyond that I talked to, the more I realized almost everyone says their current age is way better than their 20’s were! I wanted to have that attitude. Who cares if I’m getting older? I’m also getting more fabulous. So I decided to reflect on that.
As I got closer to the big day, I reflected on the past 30 years and all I had done and learned and actually felt pretty amazing about it. I have learned so many lessons in my past 30 years, that I actually started to feel grateful for my impending birthday. So to anyone out there who isn’t sure about getting older, I want to provide some inspiration. May these 30 lessons that I learned before I turned 30 help you find your positivity towards your next birthday!
My 30 for 30 Lessons:
Lesson 1: You’re never fully ready. Not for anything. Seriously. And if you actually feel ready, you probably waited too long.
Lesson 2: Your friends are important. It really is true – you are who your friends are. Choose wisely.
Lesson 3: Your inner critic is a liar. It will tell you anything you need to hear in order to stop believing in yourself. So stop listening.
Lesson 4: Integrity isn’t objective. It just indicates a time when you behavior aligns with your beliefs. These can be my beliefs, your beliefs, her beliefs…it doesn’t matter. It’s subjective. And it’s beautiful.
Lesson 5: Your past matters, but doesn’t define you. It’s really just meant to help prevent you from making the same mistakes and offering wonderful memories. Otherwise, it’s pretty useless.
Lesson 6: Go to the birthday party. Being a flake sucks. Showing up is usually worth it, even if it takes effort.
Lesson 7: Be vulnerable. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s easier to wear the mask. But real connection to yourself and real connection to others only happens through sharing the real you.
Lesson 8: Total selflessness isn’t noble. You aren’t going to get a badge of honor for not caring about yourself. Instead you’ll probably get trampled on by everyone else who is rightfully putting their needs first. And then you’ll probably feel super bitter. Yuck.
Lesson 9: Say what you mean. Dodging plans this weekend because you’re “busy”? Are you really busy? No, you’re actually just feeling a little down and wanting to stay in. You’re allowed to say that, and chances are, the honesty will be a breath of fresh air to everyone.
Lesson 10: You don’t have to have it all figured out. Not even close. You are allowed to wing it, because most of the time, it will work out just fine regardless.
Lesson 11: You are enough and worthy simply because you are you. There is no other requirement necessary.
Lesson 12: Everyone struggles. Facebook and Instagram can play as many mind tricks with you as possible, but they can’t hide the truth. Everybody doubts themselves and everybody has bad days.
Lesson 13: Fear is trying to save you. Fear is a totally natural biological response to a perceived threat. It’s trying to save you from death or danger which is almost funny when you realize the chances are low that you’ll die at that job interview or big presentation. Give your body a little “thanks, but no thanks,” take a deep breath, and go get ’em!
Lesson 14: Tantrums aren’t a turn-on. Nobody looks at the girl losing her marbles and says “I want to please her.” Take deep breaths and listen to others before throwing a fit.
Lesson 15: There’s no perfect way but there’s a lot of good ways. So spare yourself the never-ending search and become friends with “good enough.”
Lesson 16: Be you, not a reproduction of someone else. Because you will *never* be as good as the original, just like someone else will never be as good at being you.
Lesson 17: Taking time to really figure out who you are and what you like is worthwhile. Yes, it’s tedious, but if you can put the time in, you will get infinite rewards out. Oh, and give yourself permission for this process to take your whole life.
Lesson 18: Never wish something away. This rough period you’re in? Sorority recruitment, finals week, unemployment, wedding planning, the list goes on.. These times are stressful but don’t wish them away. Someday, believe it or not, you’ll look back on it all fondly. And by the way – these moments are your *life*, so try to enjoy the ride.
Lesson 19: When you speak your deepest most shameful stories to a trusted friend, they lose their power over you. Deep down we are all people just wanting to be heard. Don’t try to do life alone!
Lesson 20: It can take one minute or years to know you’ve met a soul twin. Always trust your gut – if they feel special, then they probably are.
Lesson 21: If a friend kindly calls you out on your BS in the name of saving the friendship, hold on tight. True friends utilize honesty over people-pleasing.
Lesson 22: Set and enforce your boundaries even when it feels mean. You are not meant to life this life as a doormat, so stand up for yourself.
Lesson 23: Having kids really is a miracle, but it’s not necessary for a fulfilling life. And it’s also really freaking hard.
Lesson 24: You may like being a mom even if you never liked kids or thought motherhood was for you. You may even end up having three kids yourself! Point is, you are allowed to change your mind and embrace new roles as they come.
Lesson 25: Practice gratitude. Every damn day.
Lesson 26: It’s ok to have a preference. You aren’t being picky or stubborn – you’re contributing to society with your ideas and opinions.
Lesson 27: Find a way to give back. You will feel the warm and fuzzies from your toes to your fingers.
Lesson 28: Don’t stop looking until you find that thing that lights you up. It’s either a HELL YES or it’s a no – and the yes’s take time.
Lesson 29: It’s ok if you’re a cat person. Cats are cool too.
Lesson 30: If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. So literally the worst thing that could happen is you receive the same answer you would have gotten anyway.
I hope you enjoyed my 30 lessons!
And I’d love to work with you so you can reflect on your last 10, 20, or 30 years, too. Being grateful for the time we have on Earth is so essential to appreciating our lives. Without this perspective, life can seem like a string of Mondays. So together, let’s work on creating a new passion for learning and a new passion for life.