“I still remember, when 30 was old.”
I sure do, Deana Carter, but here I am – finally hit the big 3-0.
Three decades of life under my belt – some of the highest of highs and plenty of (what felt like) the lowest of lows. Yet, I somehow made it. Reflecting on the past three decades triggers a ride on the good ol’ emotional rollercoaster, but instead of dwelling on the mistakes (can’t learn without those, right?), I’ve chosen to focus on the lessons I’ve learned – the tidbits of wisdom I’ve acquired.
So, here we go – 30 things I’ve learned over 30 years (To be clear: learned does not mean mastered.)
1. “Getting your life together” never really happens. It’s a daily struggle – and that’s the ironic beauty of it.
2. Worrying gets you nowhere – it’s wasted energy. Instead, harness that energy to power meaningful change.
3. There’s no “right” age to find love. 16, 28, 37, etc. When it’s right for you, you’ll know – there’s no magic formula. (Also, love comes in many forms – don’t feel obligated to settle down. Do what suits you – don’t worry about others’ judgements.)
4. You’re never obligated to make all parties happy – it’s perfectly fine, healthy even, to put your own happiness before that of others. This is a vital component of living within your integrity.
5. We live in a world of double standards, and, as women, we must push back. HARD. Strive to be a woman who lifts up other women.
6. Words are extraordinarily powerful. Speak things into existence – and be careful with your words, as they can facilitate negative outcomes. My dad tells me to not talk about “getting sick” – that’s when you get the flu.
7. We are our own cheerleaders. Thankfully, most of us have been blessed with others on our squad – when you find those people, cherish them. Remember, give love to receive love.
8. NEVER SETTLE. I always go back to this. Your career, your relationships – hell, your coffee table. Decide what you want, then figure out a way to make it a reality.
9. Be solution-oriented. A brilliant friend/mentor of mine taught me this – and it’s been a game-changer. Try your best not to whine, not to point fingers – instead, identify the problem, and approach it from an I-will-address-this mindset.
10. If it’s (whatever “it” is) not working, make a change – it’s never too late to switch gears. Reevaluate, reset, reboot.
11. Go get what you want. Nobody is going to get it for you. Nobody wants to hear your excuses. Is it in your highest and best good? Your soul’s true desire? Go get it – you are the author of your own story.
12. Other things have healed for you – this will, too. Whatever you’re going through – big or small – remember that nothing can break you if you don’t allow it.
13. Relax into the way existence wants you to be – sometimes you need a “let-go.” Whatever your “let-go” may be – meditation, gardening, a good book – surrender to it.
14. Faith. Is. So. Important. Whatever faith means to you – embrace it, grow in it, and watch it work its wonder.
15. Some things aren’t in your best interest to save – essentially, not all loss leads to harm. It’s a relief to let go of unnecessary burdens, so if it weighs you down, drop it. The lighter you become, the more empowered you are.
16. Money comes easily and frequently. Be smart with your money, and invest – but don’t be afraid to spend. Tomorrow isn’t promised, so go with your gut. If something is important to you, the money will come.
17. It feels good to help people. Do it as often as you can. Period.
18. Don’t worry about others’ opinions of you – it’s not your concern.
19. People aren’t always in your life forever. They’ll come and go – it’ll happen organically. Life changes, relationships ebb and flow, situations evolve. Don’t fight it.
20. Theodore Roosevelt was absolutely right: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
21. Take risks – in fact, take lots of them. Making mistakes takes courage – don’t sell out to be safe. Be bold. Be unapologetic.
22. Speak your truth, and remember to set boundaries. Don’t be combative – but, with that said, do not strive to appease others. People-pleasing won’t get you anywhere.
23. You’ll never be everything to everyone. Be yourself more and more each day – that’s what matters.
24. It’s never (!!!) too late to take back your power and ignore the bullsh*t.
25. Beating yourself up does no good – forgive others, and don’t forget to forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes.
26. Be grateful – in both joyous and adverse times. Gratitude is a vital component of living your best life.
27. Remember what’s important (and what’s not). Remind yourself often.
28. What is your true soul’s desire? Figure that out – and do it. Deciding the course of your life is tremendously empowering.
29. Love the skin you’re in – learn to love yourself unconditionally, inside and out.
30. Age is just a number. No number can stop you from loving, learning, growing, and giving.
So, while I certainly remember when “thirty was old,” I’m grateful that was the furthest thing from the truth. 30 is special – it’s something new, a fresh start. Perhaps 30 means some semblance of adulthood is coming head-on – welcome it with open arms.