Last month, I turned thirty. THIRTY! How wild is that? I know some people have a really hard time turning 30, but it didn’t really phase me. More than anything, I used it as a reminder to be grateful. To reflect on what I’ve learned, how I’ve changed, and the woman I’ve become in the first thirty years of my life. So I’m here to share my biggest takeaways from three decades on earth –– thirty lessons in 30 years.
I’m really excited about entering my thirties. The woman I am now is so much wiser, happier, and stronger than I was only a few years ago. My twenties brought so much change –– I became a wife, a mother, I struggled with losing myself and losing relationships I thought would stand the test of time. I experienced great joy and pain, and I grew from it all.
I’ve learned a lot in my thirty years –– certainly more than I could ever put in a blog post. I know there’s still so much more to learn, and so much that I don’t know. But there are some things I now know for certain, and I wanted to share those lessons with you all –– and also with my younger self.
1.Sprinkle grace around like confetti
Give it freely to others and to yourself. If you do this, you’ll find the world a much kinder place.
2. Remain grounded in God
Faith makes life better. With God, the highs are higher, and the lows are more manageable.
3. Keep one small promise to yourself every day
Maybe it’s drinking that extra water or making the bed. Keep one small promise, then add another. Before you know it, you’ll have created a life you love. A life that’s full of good habits. A life you’re proud of.
4. Don’t let what you want now get in the way of what you want most
Whew. This is a hard one to practice sometimes, but it is so worth it. Get really clear on what you want in life, from yourself, from your relationships, from your finances. And then commit to making those desires a reality, no matter what distractions come your way.
5. Learn to struggle well
Setbacks and hardships are part of life, so you can either embrace them as lessons you need to learn, or you can rail against them and wallow in self-pity. If you choose the latter, your life will pass you by before you know it. And you’ll get hit over the head with the same lesson again and again until you finally do learn.
6. Leave it better than you found it
This applies to everything. Pick up that piece of trash you stepped over. Put a smile on someone’s face. Clean up at your friend’s house even when she says not to worry about it.
7. Don’t shrink yourself
Not for your partner, friends, parents. No one. You may think you’re helping support your loved ones by taking a backseat, but you’re only harming yourself, and them. When you step into your truth and light, you’ll see that those who truly love you are happy to support you and would never, ever want you to make yourself smaller.
8. Discover who you are
Spend time getting to know yourself. Ditch the labels of mom, wife, daughter, friend. Who are you at your core? When the distractions are gone, when there’s no one looking –– who are you? Figure that out, and everything else will come more naturally.
9. Be quick to apologize
When you’re wrong, own it. Apologize. Make amends. Try not to do it again (because then, really, what good is your apology?). Life is short, and everyone makes mistakes –– there’s no shame in that. Try not to say, “I’m sorry, but…” – even if it was unintentional. Own that you hurt the person or you were wrong, even if your intent was good.
10. Stop apologizing so much
Yes, I am contradicting myself. Hear me out: women say “sorry” way too much. We use it to shrink ourselves, to make others feel more comfortable, to hedge our bets in case we’re wrong. No more! Save your sorry for when you mean it, and it will mean more. Stop saying it when you don’t mean sorry.
Pro tip: Try substituting words of appreciation. Instead of “Sorry I’m late,” say “Thank you for waiting for me.” It’s a total game-changer.
11. Show up
For yourself, for your loved ones, for your dreams, for the hard times. Be there.
12. Write it down and make it happen
Spend time reflecting on what you truly want, and then write it down. Sure, a digital copy is fine but there’s something real about writing the words out in pen. Write down your goals, your dreams, your challenges. And then make a plan to attack that list.
13. Feel the fear and do it anyway
I’m at a stage in my life where I refuse to be held back by fear. I’d rather deal with a “whoops” than a “what if…” and it has been so transformative in my life. Whether this is asking someone out on a date, starting your business, moving across the country, traveling solo. Whatever it is –– feel the fear, and do it anyway. If you’re comfortable, you’re not growing.
14. Get busy being grateful
Feel it, show it, think it, live it. And when you’re feeling negative or sorry for yourself –– stop. Think of three things you’re grateful for. And boom. Perspective shifted.
15. Give back
Self-esteem comes from doing estimable acts for others. Not from the new clothes, the fancy car, the fill-in-the-blank. Sure, those are fun and nice and all, but that’s not what fills up your soul. When you’re feeling down, go do something nice for someone else. Watch how fast your mood turns around.
16. Time is the ultimate commodity
Learn to use yours wisely. Figure out what is important to you and pour your time and love into it. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “I’m too busy” or “I’m too tired” or “maybe next time” game. No. Get clear on what you want, and then spend your time there.
17. Take a walk
Fresh air does wonders for your soul, and moving your body will cure almost whatever ails ya.
18. Find a mentor
Surround yourself with people who inspire you. If you don’t have them, find them. Network, ask for introductions. Follow them on social media, read their books, listen to their TED Talks. Mentors are all around us, even if we don’t know them in real life. There are examples of incredible women slaying their fields all around us.
19. BLOOM where you are planted.
No matter where you find yourself –– hello 6 moves in 7 years –– you were meant to be here and to thrive. Find your community, make a community yours –– put in the work and blossom.
More to come on this…
20. Have a go-to method to de-funk
Feeling off? Put on the always-feel-amazing outfit and crank your favorite song or podcast. Before you know it, you’ll be feelin’ yourself all over again.
21. Cut out the noise
Relationships should fill you up, not leave you depleted. If you walk away from dinner, trip, a phone call –– whatever interaction –– and feel drained and worse than when you walked in, consider if you’ve outgrown this relationship. It’s a sad truth that sometimes a person who was important in our life at one time no longer serves us. We can love them for who they are, and who they were to us, and we can let them go. You’ve outgrown one another, but you can and should be grateful for the relationship you once had.
22. Nurture your relationships
Girlfriends are the cure for whatever ails you. But after high school or college, relationships take work. Put in that work. It’s so worth it.
23. Choose peace
You choose what you allow in your life, and anything that costs you peace isn’t worth it. Cut it out. Hate a book? Stop reading it. Sick of comparison game? Take a month off social media. Feeling taken advantage of by a friend? Take time off or end the relationship. Damn if this isn’t what freedom feels like.
24. Find what you’re passionate about
Then pursue it relentlessly. Unapologetically. A career? A charitable organization? Figure out what sets your heart on fire and then pour yourself into it.
25. You don’t need everyone to like you
That’s it. Give yourself permission not to be everyone’s cup of tea. There’s nothing wrong with you, you just aren’t for them. Embrace this mentality and you’ll feel a heck of a lot happier.
26. Demand respect
You are worthy of respect from anyone, no matter what’s on their resume or in their bank account. Don’t settle for anything less.
27. If it’s not a hell yes, then it’s a no
Are you really excited about something? If not, the answer is no. Apply this liberally to all aspects of life.
28. Family is everything
Find your people, by birth, marriage, friendship –– whatever your family is to you, find your people and love them hard.
29. There’s beauty in the mess
Whether that’s kids covered in mud because they were busy making memories in the downpour or a messy but necessary conversation with a loved one – there’s beauty to be seen. Don’t shy away from something just because it’s messy.
30. Everyone is doing their best
There are very few exceptions to this, I’ve found. We all do it our own way, and we’re doing the best we can. So, even if it’s very different than the way you’re doing it, that’s okay. Even if you wish it were different, the person who wronged you is probably just doing their best with the knowledge they have/had.
What would you add to the list? What are the biggest lessons you’ve
learned so far? I’m always looking to learn.