30 Learned by 30

September 15, 2016
Yesterday I turned 30, and the past month has been full of significant events, some fun, some not so much. I went on holiday for a week to Mexico with my sisters, my MIL passed away, we started the process to clean out and sell her house, semester started again...

This birthday marks many beginnings and ends, and not just the beginning of my 30s and the end of my 20s. I'm hoping to graduate within the next half a year, start my career, move, sell a house, buy a second car... and that's only the planned stuff!

While I have a feeling this is going to be a big year for me, I realize all those accomplishments I hope will come my way are built on the past years of experience, including those times where I felt like I'd failed. I know mistakes are a vital part of learning, and I hope the missteps of my 20s will build a foundation for success in my 30s.

I wanted to share some of the things I'd learned, some through heartbreak, some through hard work, and some from happier times and good friends. I've found in some ways I've become more apathetic, and in others more open and adventurous. I think it's a move away from caring less that everyone likes me, and towards wanting to try more experiences - focusing more on myself than on other people.

And no matter how many times I've read about other people experiencing similar, I think it's something only your own personal insight can bring - you can read lists like this again and again and won't fully embrace them until you experience it on your own. So maybe these lessons will ring hollow, and maybe you'll find yourself nodding along.

30 things learned in 30 years

1. Sometimes you need to walk away -  this is especially true of relationships. You don't owe it to anyone to make it work, especially if they're not making an effort. Sometimes you just need to live and let live.

2. I don't usually need more stuff.  There have been very few times in my life when I regret not buying something, in fact, I can't think of any off the top of my head - maybe a concert T-shirt?

3. It's only money - Not that you should be frivolous with money, but it's not worth it to develop an emotional bond to it.

4. Wear sunscreen. Yes, it's gross, but it's worth it.

5. Don't stop playing. Whether it's sports, music, video games, dress up, whatever - if you feel like you're "too old" to play you're deliberately limiting yourself and your creativity.

6. It's easier to feel better rested if you go to bed a bit earlier rather than sleeping in.

7. Hanger is real. Carry a snack.

8. The more easily you admit you're wrong, the smaller the mistake seems.

9. People who are willing to make mistakes in front of others are perceived as confident and adventurous rather than foolish.

10. You don't have to be good at something to enjoy it, but it helps.

11. Remember who you were in High School, that person is still part of you.

12. Those dreams you gave up are still waiting for you. It's not too late.

13. You'll find good and bad people where ever you go. Deep down, we're all very similar.

14. Going outside or working out often improves my mood.

15. No matter how right you are, sometimes it's not worth destroying someone else to prove it, especially if it's a minor "I told you so!" moment. Choose your hill to die on carefully, sometimes it's better to let it go.

16. Making snap judgments is a way of keeping ourselves safe. Listen to your gut feelings, just be aware that it's based on your own experiences and beliefs. Remember, you don't owe anyone your time or friendship, especially if they make you uncomfortable. You can always revise your sentiments about someone later, don't beat yourself up for not giving someone creepy a chance.

17. Sometimes it's easier to be strong for someone else than it is to be strong for yourself.

18. If it brings you happiness, it's not stupid or lame. Table top gaming? cross stitch? curling? whatever makes you happy, do it more.

19. A piece of wisdom from my husband: If you enjoyed yourself, it wasn't a waste of time.

20. There's nothing wrong with pink, sparkles, kitties, etc. Being feminine doesn't make you weak, childish or frivolous - although I admit some people may think so.

21.  Sometimes the experts are wrong. Keep this in mind when you need to consult one, and when you make mistakes yourself.

22. Pride isn't always bad, sometimes it's what pushes you to do something difficult. Learn how to use it.

23. If someone wants to see you/talk to you, they will make time for you. If they don't, chances are you're not a priority. It hurts, but it will keep hurting until you move on.

24. Enjoy spending time alone.

25. I won't ever regret going to the gym, but I may regret skipping. Similarly, I've never regretted studying too much for a test, working too hard on a project or spending hours on a plane. Sometimes the processes in painful, but worth it.

26. You can fall in love with the same person over and over again.

27. If you appreciate someone, tell them! Even if it's just "I'm so glad we had time to catch up."

28. Do things that scare you occasionally.

29. Spontaneity isn't necessary for a genuine experience.

30. Strive to become a person you'd want to spend time with.

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