Things I’ve Learned During 30 Years of Life

This past weekend I turned 30. It wasn’t quite the big deal I had imagined it might be. This is due to mentally conditioning myself by using the phrase, “I mean, I’m almost 30.” Note, this is usually to explain to someone why I don’t want to stay out late or how mature and awesome I am.

And while I certainly don’t consider myself to be someone who has it all figured out, I do think my 30 years of life entitle me to share some wisdom. Take it or leave it.

Don’t judge people’s relationships. Just don’t. Nothing good ever comes of it. No one knows what it’s like to be inside of said relationship and participating in it. From friendships to family to significant others, relationships are the most complex things on earth. The best thing we can do is love our friends and family and be supportive in healthy ways, regardless of how we feel about their choices.

Be proactive. No one is ever happier because they waited to do something. Think ahead, embrace challenges and be a problem solver. This is a sure fire way to ensure a good outcome.

Budgeting is not enough. I love my Excel sheet with monthly expenses broken down and, it’s certainly helpful when making purchasing decisions or trying to schedule dinners and drinks with friends. Sadly, it isn’t enough to make the BIG decisions, like, can I afford a new car if my ’07 Nissan breaks down or when will I be able to retire? While I may be getting ahead of myself with that last one, it’s something we should all know! Having an understanding of your net worth and where your investments have you tracking makes you a true adult. At least according to me.

Be a flexible friend. I struggle with this one. I’m a major planner. But the reality is, as we get older, our lives become more complicated and most people are juggling a lot. The bottom line is the phrase, “sh*t happens” is truth. And being a flexible friend when unexpected things come up will improve your relationships. It happens to all of us.

Have a wish list. I keep a running list of “wants” and “needs.” It helps me prioritize my previously referenced budget. It’s great for when people ask for birthday or Christmas ideas and ensures I don’t buy crap I don’t need just because it’s cute (that I end up throwing away when I’m purging my apartment a month down the road).

Just say no. I tend to spread myself a little thin. Saying no is a powerful happiness tool. I highly recommend it.

Find a passion project. This. Is. Everything. I love my job, but the older I get, the more it’s just not enough. I used to think career fulfillment would be everything. That I would be happy as soon as I reached a certain level (both in title and salary). I’m here to tell you, it’s not. Find something outside of your work and, this is important, outside of your relationships that makes you happy, that gets your creative juices flowing. Something that’s just for you. I love riding horses, cooking and doing this little blog.

Do things you don’t want to do. I used to cancel plans with friends all of the time. I would be feeling down or just running low on energy. Finally, a friend confronted me about the regularity of these cancellations and how frustrating is was. Not everything is about us and our little worlds. When I stopped canceling and started going to that dinner I wanted to skip in favor of sweats, I started having a lot more fun.

Don’t be jealous of others. No one’s life is as fancy-free and beautifully curated as it appears on Instagram. Everyone has struggles, issues, frustrations and pain points. Don’t waste time wishing you were in someone else’s shoes.

Change is a VERY good thing.  It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to deal with. But, typically the outcome of large changes is something better than what existed before. I’ve been through a divorce (my parents, not my own), transitioned from college to career, changed cities and jobs and learned to embrace change for the excitement of opportunity it brings.

Some of my more practical advice: 
  1. You can never own too much underwear.
  2. Expensive wine does taste better. Sorry.
  3. Learn how to properly store your food, it’s worth it!
  4. Always tip 20 percent.
  5. If you don’t like your food or your cocktail, send it back, you’re paying for it.
  6. Always be selfish with your career.
  7. Skipping workouts is never a good idea.
  8. Neither is taking shots.
  9. Cooking at home is fun.
  10. Skip washing your hair if you can.

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