I am turning the big 3-0 this year and in honor I’ve put together a list of 30 things I’ve learned throughout my 30 years on this planet.
- Be who you are and be unapologetic.
I am a self-professed nerd who likes 60s and 70s classic rock, Harry Potter, and can quote Monty Python from memory. If you don’t like it that’s your loss because it’s awesome, and so am I.
- Speak your mind.
I used to sit shyly by, not wanting to stir up trouble and have people be mad at me. Now, you will get an earful from me if I hear you use a derogatory term or make someone else feel less than. (This is better in a face-to-face atmosphere. I don’t condone internet bullying or trolling).
- Vote with your dollar.
Money makes the world go round. Your time standing in line to vote for the next round of politics is not as effective as spending your money on things you believe in (organic, vegan, sustainable).
- Don’t be forced into things you’re not ready for.
This is different from taking a leap of faith and getting out of your comfort zone. The main thing I’m thinking about here is kids. Throughout our relationship, we were pressured into having kids. We decided to when it was right for us and it was absolutely perfect. I don’t know if I would have been as good of a mom a few years ago.
- Your health is the most important thing.
Without your health you have no quality of life. “If I’d have known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself,” I knew a 75-year-old say once. When I am 75 I want to keep exploring and don’t want my health (or lack of it) to hold me back from things I love to do. I’m not saying don’t indulge in that piece of cake; I’m saying make time for your health. Make it a TOP priority.
- Collect experiences instead of things.
Is that 45th knickknack going to bring you joy or will gaining a new experience bring you more joy? Memories matter more than things.
- It’s ok to move on.
We all grow and change (hopefully at least) and it’s ok to move forward with your life. It’s ok to move on from friends and hobbies that you used to have. It’s ok to not want to be the same person you once were. You can still have love for the people and be appreciative for the good times you had while not living in the past.
- Don’t get so caught up in how things are ‘supposed to be’.
Things happen for a reason, when they are supposed to and not before. Stop paying so much attention to what others your age are doing and focus on what you are doing.
Turn off the computer. Put your phone in a different room. Keep the TV out of the bedroom and get some sleep. All that stuff will be there in the morning. GET SOME SLEEP!
- Invest in a good camera.
Not a new phone with a ‘better’ camera. I mean a separate camera that only takes pictures. Learn how to use it and take some amazing photos! It will be worth it to look back on high quality images of your kids, your travels, or events instead of blurry, tiny ones from your phone.
- Learn to be without technology.
Even if it’s just for a walk. It’s ok to not be accessible 24/7. You’ll return that call/text/Facebook message in 20 minutes, but for now just be without.
- Be frugal, not cheap.
I’m all for saving money and I research different options and prices. However, I am more than happy to spend more money for a quality item as opposed to something that’s going to break in two weeks and be back where I was.
- Go neutral.
Furniture is expensive. Go with something neutral colored and timeless. You can always change up pillows, paint, or rugs but you will regret that bright green couch in five years.
- Learn to let things go.
I am not super good at this because I seem to remember every detail about everything, but it is definitely something that is important and I need to work on more. It makes life less complicated and helps you de-stress.
- Drink water when you’re thirsty.
Our bodies are made from mostly water. Drinking that coffee, soda, or other beverage may taste good but it’s not what your body really wants or needs. Sure, you’ll be going to the bathroom more often but you’ll look better and feel better.
- Don’t be afraid of getting older.
I hear it so often, “I am going to stay 29 forever” or “Don’t say ’40’, it will upset them.” Seriously people? There are so many who never get the chance to make these milestones. Appreciate it and the wisdom you get with it.
- Don’t just do/like/believe things just because others do.
It could be sports teams, religion, eating habits, whatever. Just because you were raised a certain way doesn’t mean you need to continue with those beliefs. If something doesn’t feel right to you, find something that does feel right.
- Treat your credit card like a debit card.
Pay it off right away and don’t spend more than you make. Seems pretty simple but we live in an instant gratification society with many spending way more than they make.
- Life goes on.
This is a blessing and a curse. When you lose someone you love it hurts that life can just keep moving on without them when you don’t know what you’re going to do without them. But the sun will always rise again and tomorrow is a new day.
- Happiness comes from within.
You are in charge of your happiness. No one else. Those purchases wont make you happy. That house wont make you happy. You make you happy.
- Be flexible.
I’m really really bad with this. It’s something I’ve struggled with since I was a kid. I have learned that I need time to wrap my head around plans and get my self mentally ready for them, and when things happen out of the blue I can get upset about it because it messes with the plans I have in my head. Being flexible is very important and it’s something I truly need to work on.
- Take time for yourself.
Many people run themselves ragged with their days (and weekends) planned down to the hour. Take some time to be with yourself and re-charge. Even if it’s just a little bit of a longer shower.
- Be with the people who are here.
When you do have face-to-face plans with people you love, be with them. Turn off your phone, or at the very least, put it away (OUT OF SIGHT!) and give them your full attention. You don’t need to Google every answer to a question that is asked or immediately check your notification for that junk email you received. Your phone will still be there later and the conversation, laughs, and love will stick with you longer than that phone will.
- Wear a helmet.
I don’t care if you think it makes you look dumb, a smashed in head will make you look dumber. Your parents worked very hard to make sure you have that nice round head. Protect it. And while we’re at it, wear a seat belt too. (Do you hear me BB?!)
- Don’t be an ass.
There’s a famous quote, “A person who is nice to you but is not nice to the waiter, is not a nice person.” Be nice to everyone. Waiters, retail workers, telemarketers, CEOs…everyone. It can make someone’s day to hear a few kind words. Plus (and this comes from a long line of retail/service jobs), they don’t make the rules; they just have to follow them or they’ll get fired.
- Cognitive dissonance is ok.
That’s what lead to my veganism. If some kind of information is making you feel uncomfortable, try to figure out why. Maybe it will challenge your beliefs; maybe it will make you re-think everything, and maybe that’s ok.
- Get in the pool and get in the pictures!
No one else cares about that extra fat on your tummy or those dimples in your thighs or the way your hip bones and shoulder blades stick out.They’re all too worried about themselves and how they look. If you keep focusing on that and that’s your reason for not going in the water or getting in the pictures then you are going to miss out on so much. If you jump in, your kids will remember how much fun it was that you were swimming with them. They’ll get to look back on those pictures and see how much love you have for them when you hold them or smile at them. They can look back forever on that. And you will have those great memories too instead of sitting on the sidelines being too self conscious to join in the fun.
- Have a hobby.
It’s so easy to go from work, to TV/computer, to bed day after day until one day you realize you aren’t happy. This happened to me a few years go and for some reason sewing kept popping into my head. So I bought a new cross stitch kit and the rest is history! Even if I can only do a couple of lines a day I still feel like I accomplished something just for me. I have other hobbies to fill the void when I get tired of this one too. Find joy in doing something for no other reason than the fact that you enjoy it and your life will be richer for it.
Laugh loud. Laugh long. Laugh often.
No matter what the outcome, love is always worth it.
And lastly, one to start off with that is very very important and I think everyone needs to remember:
- There is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS someone willing to help. If you think that you’re alone, you are not. No matter how bad you feel, there is always someone willing to help or just listen. Reach out if you need help. Reach out if you need someone to talk to. It doesn’t make you weak. It makes you strong to admit that you need help. And the people who love you will be so grateful you did.