I turned 30 over the yesterday & celebrated in my favorite city with
some of the very best. My heart is full.
Over the past few months, when it would come up that my birthday was nearing, someone would make a remark about how o-l-d I am. Is 30 old? I don’t think so. Cher is still on tour and she’s 73 so don’t @ me.
But it’s finally here. The big 3-0.
I’ve watched some meltdowns happen regarding 30th birthdays. For what? The alternative isn’t so great, so I’ll happily take 30. When I was graduating high school, I remember watching some of my classmates have similar meltdowns. The thought of moving on from high school to college was too much for them. My dad always assured me “if you think high school was fun, just wait until college” and when I went to grad school, he reiterated the same thought “I know you loved college, but just wait- grad school will be even better.’ He was right. This reminds me a lot of my 20s. My 20s were awesome; filled with fun, laughter, mistakes, immense growth and life lessons. In honor of my thirtieth birthday, today I’m sharing 30 thoughts & lessons I’ve learned in the past decade.
- 30 is not old. I vividly remember sitting in my friend Kate’s dorm room in college reading a magazine. Kate read allowed “..and women reach their peek in their 30s!” My 20 year old self breathed a sigh of relief, which is so laughable to me now that I was even so concerned but it’s true! I feel solid; more in control of my life & decisions than ever. By no means do I view 30 as the age to settle or slow down.
- I’ve learned to say “no”. For women especially, we’re taught to be people pleasers. I recently watched Dead To Me on Netflix and immediately admired Jen’s powerful use of the word “no” in almost every situation. You can say no to a date, a kiss, taking on extra responsibilities, attending events, etc and you do not have to feel guilty.
- While continuing to say “yes”. To the scary things and things I am not ready for. When opportunity presents itself, I remind myself that growth occurs on the edge of one’s comfort zone.
- There is no key timeline for life. There no official decree that indicates at what age you get married, have kids, buy a home, have the dream job- any of it. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself.
- Confidence is key. Did you know Beyonce created Sasha Fierce, her alter ego, to be more confident on stage? Read that again. Even Beyonce needed more confidence. Look where are you now. You’ve taken care of yourself this long and you’re doing pretty damn well. If you have a moment of weakness…fake it till you make it, baby! Also, if you’re struggling with this, listen to some Lizzo.
- If you don’t ask, you’ll never know (file with: if you don’t try, you’ll never know) If no one knows what you want or your expectations, they cannot and will likely not meet them. So set expectations, ask for what you want and be specific.
- Solo time is necessary. I’m what you’d call an introverted extrovert. I deeply crave quiet, me time to recharge from the energy of the world. Without it, I feel out of control, anxious & chaotic. I’ve learned that taking a few minutes for me, when I need it, is absolutely necessary to function to my greatest potential.
- Self-care isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. This is not all skincare & bath bombs. Sometimes self-care is going to bed early, finding a therapist, staying in or removing a toxic person from your life. You cannot pour from an empty cup.
- Traveling is my drug of choice and for me, 100% necessary. I have an incurable wanderlust. Too long without a looming departure date and I get fidgety. I have been fortunate enough to safari in Africa, smoke a freshly rolled cigar in Cuba, indulge in the world’s best pasta (and pizza…and wine) in Italy and dumplings in Hong Kong. I’ve sailed through Greek Islands and along the Rhine, snorkeled in frigid Icelandic waters, tasted perfectly crafted swiss chocolates and sung through the streets of Salzburg. The list continues and so do the experiences but I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Learning other cultures and customs, in my opinion, is the most enriching experience one can have. If you are dreaming of Scotland (or insert any place in particular), book the flight. You’ll figure out how to pay for it and I promise you’ll come back feeling richer.
- Water. It heals. Feel hungover? Drink water. Headache? Drink water. Need comforted? Drink tea. Take a soothing bath. Cannonball into the pool. Swim in the salty sea.
- Communication is the antidote. So many problems can be solved for with effective communication. Expressing your feelings can sometimes be uncomfortable, but bottling them up and imploding later is much, much worse.
- Choose your words wisely. There is a big difference between saying “you’re being a bitch” and “you are a bitch.” Learn the difference and choose accordingly.
- We all need more kindness. The world can be harsh, if you get an opportunity to spread some kindness and put some good into the universe, just do it.
- Pick & choose your battles. In all your relationships, romantic or otherwise, learn to let things slide. You don’t always have to be right. Some things are worth arguing over, most aren’t.
- Learn how to apologize. There’s a big difference between saying sorry and being sorry. Apologizing isn’t always admitting you’re wrong, it’s remorse for hurting another person. That’s how you can apologize and mean it. Also, if you’re wrong- just own up to it.
- Time with girlfriends. Do not wait for bachelorette parties & big life events to bring you together. Plan a girls trip, show up with a weekend bag, schedule a phone date. You won’t regret it. If you’re like me, you sometimes find yourself just thinking about how proud you are to have such incredible women in your life!
- Prioritize your health. This doesn’t just mean eating well & hitting the gym. Schedule your yearly physicals, your skin checks, your gyno appointment. There is nothing cavalier about not being to the doctor in a ridiculous amount of time and so many issues can be solved with early detection.
- Be cautious of what goes into/on your body. This doesn’t just go for food. Know what ingredients make up your beauty products, tampons, deodorant, etc. Also, this applies for toxicity from other people- that can be absorbed through osmosis, I swear- avoid that like the plague.
- You do not need a reason or occasion to celebrate. Sometimes a Tuesday is just as good as any for a special bottle of champagne and/or ice cream. Little victories still count as victories and sometimes no victory is required at all.
- You are your best company. Spend time with yourself. If you live in a city where it’s feasible, live by yourself at some point in your life. It’s uncomfortable at first. When I started grad school, I had just moved off my sorority floor where all my best friends were just paces away and I struggled to be in my new apartment all alone. I learned to love it and would recommend to anyone. Your 20s are the time when you can be completely selfish with your time, so spent some of that time with yourself. I also recommend taking yourself out to lunch (try not to be glued to your phone the whole time).
- Just start. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with a new project and don’t know where to begin, just start. Make a list and take baby steps. You’ll get there.
- Rescue yourself. In college, I was getting hit on by a major creep at a bar. I was enduring his chatter while making eyes at my friend across the room; majorly signaling SOS. Eventually the creepy guy walked away and I ran over to my friend…”What the heck! Why didn’t you rescue me from him!” I chirped. He said something that has stuck with me ever since. “You could’ve gotten yourself out of that situation at any point.” He was so right. I wasn’t in any danger, all I had to say was I wasn’t interested & walk away. Lesson here: You are fully capable of rescuing yourself & you should.
- You do not always have to be ON. I am my own PR person. I default to “everything’s fine, great & unwaveringly wonderful.” It feels heavy to share sadness, or anger, or other emotions with friends. Anything other than happy is uncomfortable; uncomfortable to feel and uncomfortable to share. And the times we do share, there’s the possibility we’ll be met with the worst: “Everything happens for a reason!”, “It’ll be ok, just remember, you choose your attitude!” and “Be positive!” Oye. I agree with choosing your attitude to an extent but it’s OK to not always be a bubbling ray of sunshine. Sometimes life sucks & shit gets tough. If you need to take some time to be sad, be f*cking sad! Don’t let anyone tell you to immediately get over it. Take the time to grieve because it’s necessary and you don’t always have to be on.
- “Good for you, not for me!” This is a quote I read in Amy Poehler’s book. It’s a great thought I keep tucked in my head when I hear something that has seemed to affect someone’s life but can’t imagine it fitting into mine. “Oh you do crossfit- awesome!” aka good for you, not for me.
- Trust your gut. Intuition is real, real thing. Trust it.
- I can make a difference. The world needs people to stand up and make a difference. I’m not talking about having to be the sole person to solve global warming but there are ways to get involved in different issues at every level. Check in with your community, put a little time toward a cause you feel passionate about. Speak up and make your voice heard. It is important.
- Learn to take a compliment. Why is this hard? Make it a habit to express thanks & focus on gracefully accepting the compliment instead of deflecting or minimizing.
- Learn to listen. Like really listen. Not because you have something you want to say in response but because you want to hear what the other person is telling you.
- Practice gratitude. Think about what you’re grateful for every single morning. Please do not only do this during the week of Thanksgiving.
- I am proud of myself. I am my own worst critic (aren’t we all?) I often think of my bucket list and think: wow, I’ve got a lot to do. But then I think about all that I’ve accomplished in 30 years and hey, I’m not doing so bad! I am proud of myself for the woman I’ve grown to become. If you have made it to the bottom of this list, I urge you to stop making self- deprecating jokes because you think success doesn’t fit you. Stop comparing yourself to strangers on the internet. Don’t talk yourself out of a good idea or positive thought. Be proud of yourself for where you and where you know you’ll be.
My 20s were incredible. I have very high hopes for my 30s but know I’ll be saying the exact same thing again at 40.