For everyone like me who’s celebrating or had celebrated their 30th this year, this is it. There’s no turning back. We’ve finally reached the elusive age that most of us are dreading. Turning the big 3-0 is a formidable change that not everyone is ready to take on.
I was like the rest of you lot. I was anxious. I was restless. I felt like the days and months loomed in quickly for my 30th to arrive. And to be honest, I felt pressured. Pressured in the sense that I always had to dive head first among my friends; the first person to learn how to drive and earn my license, the first to fail, the first to love and to get my heart broken and the very first person to leave. Not to spoil the ending, but I’m telling you, everything will be okay.
During the last 30 years of my existence, I’ve managed to gain more insight about life in general. For anyone younger reading and for anyone older listening, here’s my take on life’s lessons.
1. Life moves on. Yes with or without you. I’ve learned this the hard way. If you honestly believe that everything and everyone will stop and drop everything at your beck and call, you’re dead wrong.
2. Throw away your timeline. If there’s one thing I’ve learned these past few years and that would be one of them. It will only mess up your mind and pressure you to fail. Forget whatever scrupulous ideas you’ve had in your younger days. Still living with your parents? That’s okay. Just as long as you’ll eventually buy a house of your own. Still single? It’s not the end of the world. Stuck with your deadbeat job? Do something about it.
3. Invest on skincare. It doesn’t matter if you do the 7-step skin regimen or the 14 steps just as long as you take the time to take care of your skin. Do you know why they’re so damn expensive? Because they work! Investing on your skin is also investing on yourself.
4. Exercise. Not to impress someone but do it for you. And to make you feel good inside and out.
5. Sleep. The one thing we always deprive ourselves from. As you get older, sleep will be one of the most essential things in your life. Other than the fact that lack of it can do some detrimental harm to your body.
6. Drink lots of water. The second thing we take for granted. Drinking water has several benefits to our body. It helps remove unwanted toxins and give you that glow you’ve always wanted. So put that soda down. I mean it. Put it down.
7. Sunscreen. Not only when you go to the beach or visit the desert, but apply sunscreen daily and generously. Your mom was right you know. Sunscreen helps prevent premature aging. And talk about those wrinkles and age spots? You don’t want to be looking like an old spotted Dalmatian dog, right?
8. Stop caring about what other people think or say about you. We can’t please everyone and that is okay. Don’t ever lose yourself in the process just to get the approval of people who don’t deserve you in their lives.
9. Quality over quantity. Having a few real people in your life is better than having a handful of fake ones. Remember that.
10. Take risks in life and in love. What’s a life without risks, right? Do it. Take that first leap of faith or you’ll never know what’s in store for you. Make your life a good story to tell.
11. Travel as far as you can and as often as you can. I can’t emphasize how travelling changed me in several different ways. It makes you modest. Travel opens your mind and you get to realize how tiny and how small you occupy a place in this world.
12. Learn when to say NO. Such a short word that only consists 2 letters and yet the hardest thing to say. Learn the art of saying no and to learn when to say it without feeling guilty. You need to know how to respect yourself enough to decline the things you don’t want to do.
13. Spend time with your family. See your parents. Call your sister. Hang out with your brother. Whatever it is, take the time to be with them. You never know the value of a moment when it becomes a memory.
14. We are stronger than we think. Don’t ever believe you won’t be able to move on and pick up the pieces, because you will. Every nerve and fiber in your being will help you pull through. Give yourself time to wallow in misery but know when to stand up and move on.
15. Know when to let go. If it becomes toxic in your life whether it’d be a job, a vice or a person, you have to stop and let go. Sometimes by walking away, you’re moving forward. Trust me. Everything will all fall into place when you let go of something that doesn’t give you happiness.
16. Don’t sell yourself short. You are beautiful. You are worthy. You are deserving. Stop believing that you’re not capable enough to achieve great things in life.
17. Try to understand that sometimes, you wont always get what you want in life, but rather, you’ll always end up with what you need. And in time, you’ll realize it was what you’ve always wanted ultimately.
18. Stop comparing your life with other people. You don’t always get to know what lies behind close doors. Wherever you are in life right now, know that you’re going to be ahead of some people and behind others. Know that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Sometimes, its just grass. Stop comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle.
19. Spend money on experiences than on things. Always remember that right now will be the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you’ll ever be again. Take chances. Fill your life with amazing stories and memories that leave no room for regrets and what ifs.
20. Listen to your heart. No matter how many advices you hear from other people, in the end, it is you who makes the final say. Learn to live with your decisions and be ready to accept the consequences that go with it.
21. Have fun. Try not to take life too seriously. Live your life. Laugh often. And believe the beauty of magic.
22. It’s okay to not be okay. Remind yourself of this. Cry yourself to sleep. Scream out in frustration. Break down. It’s okay to not be okay sometimes.
23. Learn how to apologize. Know when you’ve done wrong and be sincerely sorry for it. Admit your mistakes and express your regret.
24. Be selfish to put yourself first. Be selfish enough to love yourself first. Be selfish to make your happiness a priority.
25. You accept the love you think you deserve. Knowing what you deserve is a step closer to getting what you actually want and not settling for anything less than that. Be with someone who treats you like a priority and stay with someone who likes you at the same time. Remember, that you accept the love you KNOW you deserve.
26. You don’t go out as much. Home on a Friday night with your pjs on while binge watching shows on Netflix? Best idea ever! Gone are the days where you need to party every drunken weekend. It’s not required of you to be present in all of the crazy gigs out there. And you know deep down, it takes awhile for you to recover after a big night. You deserve some peace and quiet and to let loose on your couch while bawling your eyes out on another heart wrenching episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
27. Be grateful wherever you are in life. The endless blessings and opportunities you’ve received in your work and in life is always something to be thankful for. Appreciate the people who helped you grow. These are the ties worth keeping. Accept the bad with the good and know that nothing is permanent.
28. Change is inevitable. Change is the only thing in this world that doesn’t stay the same. It looks differently on everyone. Some accept change with ease while others do not. And as you get older, change happens more frequently even more than what you normally like.
29. Learn to forgive. There’s a saying that it takes a strong person to say sorry and an even stronger person to forgive. Forgiving someone is one of the hardest things a person needs to do. It’s a slow gradual process that happens over time. It’s finally letting go of the pain and the anger that once was residing in your heart and to readily move on from the past and bravely embrace the present and the future. The choice to forgive doesn’t make oneself weak; rather it liberates you from the chains of your past.
30. Be ready to fall in love. It happens more often than not and usually on those times you least expect. It is the best kind of love where you don’t plan on it. You don’t just pick someone and hope and pray it will work out. No. It’s the kind of love that right from the very start, you know it’s different. It feels different. It feels right. It is right. Be ready to fall in love with someone whom you can’t imagine your life without.