Today is my 30th birthday. I don’t feel much older, but hearing that number roll out of my mouth feels as though I’m closing on a big chapter in my life.
I did a lot in my twenties – graduated college, was recruited for my first real job, got married, started and modified a career, had one baby, then two, and then three (!)… started a business, built a home from the inside out. I’ve had happy years, lots of sad moments, too many highs and lows to count. We’ve sacrificed, pressed on and somehow have made it through. We’ve traveled (seven countries this decade), created adventures, enjoyed late nights with friends over bottles of wine.
If you would have asked me ten years ago if I’d be where I am today, I would have said no way. But, where I am today is so worth it.
30 things that I’ve learned by 30:
Never ever judge a book by its cover.
It’s okay to put problem solving in the back seat and to just listen.
If you want to feel like you’re making a difference in the world, find an organization whose mission you believe in and support it. If you’re in a phase of your life where monetary support is not feasible, offer up a small percentage of what you do best to help that mission (bookkeeping, website design, reading books to children…).
A pedicure once every three weeks may just about save your sanity.
Your mom will always be your best friend (and on your team). Late night mom conversations happen when you’re 8, 18 and 28.
Invest in pieces that mean the most and don’t worry about the rest. You’re in it for the long haul. Clothes, shoes, furniture…
Your home is your haven and your happy space. build it, love on it.
Give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
When you’ve given up on finding time for books, don’t give up on books. Switch to books on tape (books on iPhone?) or podcasts and enjoy.
Subscribe to at least one magazine/journal/newspaper that makes you think. You might not get to read it daily/weekly/monthly, but there will come a moment where you’ll get to ‘catch up’ and your adult brain will thank you. ALSO, subscribe to your favorite indulgent magazine just because (not going anywhere crazy with this one, mine’s Better Homes & Gardens).
When you’re beyond frustrated, recognize it and take a long moment before you speak next (shelve a work email response, pause a conversation with your spouse, give your kiddos the ‘one minute’ hand gesture). Waves of emotion are a real thing.
It’s TOTALLY OKAY to let the sun go down on a fight. Everyone feels better in the morning.
Get away with your spouse, even if only for a day. Preferably to somewhere where someone else is bringing you drinks with those little umbrellas in them.
Save some of your money. Don’t be distracted, just do it.
Invest with your heart and your head. (And learn a thing or two about how the stock market works.)
Listen in on a lecture series at a local university. It’s a TED talk in real life and it’s just as awesome as it sounds. Organizations/groups/clubs host these sorts of events (my last was ‘conscious capitalism’) and if you’re passionate about certain topics, show up and soak it in.
Have fair expectations. I’ve always been disappointed that I was never great at one thing (not one). But I’ve embraced (and now love) that I’m okay at many things.
In school and at the start of your career, try anything and everything that you’re interested in. Learn what you don’t want to do.
Realize that your way is not the only way. (I’m really still working on this one…)
When faced with a mountain of a decision, take it one bite, one task, one goal at a time.
Celebrate the great moments! Capture them on camera and rejoice in them.
Acknowledge kid conversation. Even (especially) when you have a million things on your mind. Drop down to their eye-level and hold their hand so that they know you’re listening.
Stop looking for affirmation from everyone else. Being proud of yourself is the best thing you’ve got.
It’s okay to fail. You learn so much more.
Let people know that you admire/are grateful for/appreciate them (especially your children). Say ‘thank you’ as often as possible.
Reach out of your shell and join an organization (better yet, join the board) that jives with your interests. You’re old enough now. PTA, Rotary, SPCA, a local museum, favorite nonprofit, neighborhood HOA… I’ve been a member of Women in Business for seven years and those awesome women are now a part of my net. It’s good to cast a wide net, you’ll meet great and inspiring people (and the opportunity to ‘know people’ in all sorts of fields).
Find a momma support group and embrace it.
Finally, never underestimate what a cup of coffee, a glass of wine or a chunk of milk chocolate can do for your mood or day. Give yourself a happy break every once in a while :).
And, for the record, things that I have not learned: how to be on time, how to tell a good joke, how to dance and how to throw caution to the wind. I’ve saved all of that for the next chapter.
Have a wonderfully AWESOME weekend!!