I turn 30 this month and it’s one of those scary-big milestones that everyone sort of half dreads and half optimistically looks forward to. Most people on the other side say their 30s prove to be their more comfortable years, and that they enjoy them even more than their 20s, when they worried too much about what other people thought or wasted time on doomed relationships.
Does that mean I have something to look forward to along with welcoming another decade?
If our 30s are supposed to be the years when we feel more confident, enjoy life more, and spend more time with the people who matter, then there are a few promises we should make to ourselves in order to be healthier and happier in anticipation of the milestone (and thereafter). Say them out loud with me:
1. I promise to be gentle with myself. Because in an argument with myself, I’ll always lose.
2. I promise to love openly, even if being open means my heart might get broken. Because treating love like a game with winners and losers is the road to misery.
3. I promise to accept the person in the mirror. Because I look amazing and I don’t have the time or energy to spend on self-loathing.
4. I promise not to compare myself to fashion magazines. Because nobody looks like those airbrushed fantasies and how boring would life be if we all looked the same?
5. I promise not to sabotage things that could be good for me even if I’m scared I might get hurt. Because I don’t have time for that nonsense anymore.
6. I promise never to reserve a loving thought or word. Because if it isn’t reciprocated, I’ll know how the other person feels, and if it is reciprocated, I’ll know how the other person feels.
7. I promise not to take things personally when people who I don’t know are unkind with me. Because their bad mood is about them, not me.
8. I promise to surround myself with people who elevate me. Because supportive relationships are healthy ones.
9. I promise to elevate those who I spend my time with. Because support is a two-way street.
10. I promise to be happy for my friends when good things happen to them. Because their good fortune in no way takes away from mine.
11. I promise to search inwardly when I’m jealous of someone. Because I need to find the root of the problem instead of letting myself dislike someone else for no good reason.
12. I promise to be generous with my patience, kindness, and empathy. Because at the end of the day, good things will come back to me.
13. I promise to form my own opinions about people instead of listening to gossip. Because hating someone just because my friends do is so high-school.
14. I promise to try to understand things from someone else’s point of view. Because it’s simply not possible that I’m always right.
15. I promise not to let the words of people who I don’t love get to me. Because I don’t have to internalize negativity from someone whose opinion doesn’t matter dearly to me.
16. I promise to acknowledge, even if only internally, when I’ve done something wrong. Because living in denial won’t help me to move forward in a positive direction.
17. I promise not to base my self-value on the opinions of others. Because my self-worth should not yo-yo up and down with the emotions of someone else.
18. I promise not to depend on others for my happiness. Because I’m the captain of this ship.
19. I promise to stop and think first before I say a hurtful word. Because it’s probably not productive.
20. I promise not to let my dreams die. Because hopes and dreams are the spice of life and they keep me excited and stimulated.
21. I promise to give my dreams a legitimate effort. Because life’s short and I only get one chance.
22. I promise to be honest with myself about how much hard work I’m putting into my goals. Because for 99.9% of people, there’s no such thing as overnight success.
23. I promise to take responsibility for my own life. Because nobody else is to blame – not my parents, my friends, my ex, or any external forces – for my good or bad decisions.
24. I promise to stop comparing myself to others. Because the Facebook news feed never tells the whole truth, and neither do celebrities and commercials.
25. I promise to just let the little things go. Because being right is not more important than preserving a friendship or relationship.
26. I promise not to let people walk all over me, either. Because I am not a doormat.
27. I promise not to date people simply because they boost my ego or make me feel better about a breakup. Because it’s a waste of time for both of us.
28. I promise not to turn to retail therapy, mind-altering substances, or any other band-aid solution for my sorrows. Because if I confront them head-on and work them out, even though it’s scary to do so, I can heal instead of prolonging the process.
29. I promise to practice gratitude. Because being grateful for what I have will make me less worried about what I don’t have.
30. I promise that, even if I break any of these promises, I’ll forgive myself. Because nobody’s perfect.