This year I hit the big 3.0. For me, it wasn’t a milestone that I had feared but one I looked forward to. I’m not sure why but I’ve felt more comfortable since hitting 30 and, with that comfort and confidence, I’ve gotten it in my head that I can now impart advice. Stay with me here because, hey, there may be something useful. Feel free to leave me some of your own in the comments! Everybody benefits when wisdom is shared.
1. If it isn’t going to matter 5 years from now, it doesn’t really matter now. Deal with it but don’t dwell on it because, at 30, you’re going to wish you didn’t have those stress lines in your forehead.
2. Don’t feel bad about letting go. You are not obligated to maintain connections with anyone or anything. We don’t get to pick our family and, sometimes, that means having to cut the cords if negativity consistently comes from those biologically tied to us- or even just those you feel obligatorily tied to. Ties do not mean tethers! You can love the people but remove their influences from your life. You owe it to yourself to be around those that empower you and bring light to your existence. Don’t waste your time on negative energy or bonds that don’t serve your higher purpose. Simple as that.
3. There is no perfect person for you and there is no Prince Charming mate out there. Humanity is beautifully flawed and your spouse will be no different. Learn to accept that in them and process quickly. Apologize and own your wrongs when necessary but process someone else’s even faster. Your relationship won’t be perfect because your spouse is but because you are both mature enough to invest, fully, and find a way to make it work. The high school drama of relationships simply dissipates before 30, or at least I hope it does for you too! Move on from your fights, which will absolutely happen, and try not to dwell because you have to get over things at some point in time anyway. You can waste time being bitter, angry or withholding but it only serves to waste breath and ego is never worth more than love.
4. Lioness. I originally had point four as just one word but, to anyone other than me, that’s not exactly clear. I think it took me a long while to accept my own sexuality but hitting 30 has definitely put a spotlight on it. Not necessarily in the rabid way my 20s did- but in acknowledging the power that it brings to my life and relationships. Maturing has also taught me to effectively communicate my needs or desires without hesitation. If you’re in a relationship, the worst possible thing you can do is worry more about him in your bed than you do yourself. Their orgasm is practically a guarantee and yours isn’t. Go for gold and, I can tell you right now, he’ll feel a million times more accomplished and happy than if you didn’t. Women are culturally caged because, once overtly sexual, it can be seen as threatening. Often, we’re seen in a negative sense or railing against the socially accepted (false) norm that men are supposed to be the promiscuous ones and we are wired for monogamy. It’s simply not true but, more than untrue, it can be boring. We are the more sexually adaptable partners, just more disciplined is all- so why should we do without? I don’t condone adultery whatsoever but, if you’re single, then I highly recommend you get good and comfortable with this fact; The female lion is the hunter. If you want to, go and hunt. Don’t feel bad about it.
5. You don’t have to be involved- and things that are wrong don’t always need to be corrected. Zoos are generally more peaceful and entertaining to the outsider- not to the caged, the cleaner, the fixer vet or the one handling the monkeys. Don’t cage yourself, you don’t have to clean up after anyone, you don’t have to help and heal everybody and you don’t have to be a monkey. Sometimes spectating is the greatest service you’ll do for yourself and for others.
6. Live in the moment. I’ve realized, hitting 30, that I’ve spent far too much time in my life dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. There are moments that I’ve lost with my children that I can never, ever get back because I’ve been in a different headspace. I’ve learned that it’s more important to be right here, right now, than anything else. When you spend all of your time planning in order to get more accomplished, you end up going to bed every night feeling like you’ve gotten nothing done. When you live right in the moment, you have a sense of accomplishment for a day well spent- every day.
7. You are a phoenix, not a Jenga tower. Falling apart is part of the beauty that is life. It’s meant to happen and it’s not the end of things when it does- have faith that you’ll end up stronger and more beautiful when you rise again. We are highly adaptable and resilient, all of us- it’s why our species has survived so long. You will survive too.
You are a phoenix, not a Jenga tower. Falling apart is part of the beauty that is life. It’s meant to happen and it’s not the end of things when it does- have faith that you’ll end up stronger and more beautiful when you rise again.
8. My body really is a temple. It needs to be cared for and maintained but also cherished. The foundation is strong but the paint is cracking, things aren’t as smooth and glossy as they used to be and there’s the odd leak once in a while. You can tell just with a glance that much has gone on here- birth celebrations and relationship milestones- but, so long as it’s standing, someone will always worship here. Just find your parishioner.
9. Karma is an absolute.
10. You can’t be happy with anyone else if you aren’t happy with yourself. Contentment and true peace come from within. This sounds so damn cliche, I know, but you’re truly not going to find fulfillment if you look better, earn more, have a great partner and so on. You’re going to find it through enlightenment and that’s not an external journey.
11. Everything you need to know about life can be learned from Robin Williams movies. They’re timeless, every generation can appreciate them and they’ll make you laugh.
12. You make mistakes, mistakes don’t make you. I tell this to my children but, hitting 30, I realized it’s a lesson I needed to learn myself too.
13. Giving love only ends up with you getting it. Don’t harden your heart to punish another, it leads to you feeling negative and blocks the light in your life. We give the love we think we deserve and receive it as well.
14. Being constantly plugged in and connected leads to a greater need for a serious disconnect. Often times, silence can solve any of the issues you think you have in the day. Go camping at least a few times a year and stay off of WiFi. I guarantee you that you’ll sleep like a baby.
15. The shape of your heart isn’t a straight line. It’s okay to not follow any predesignated path, or to change your mind once on one. Change is part of evolving and you aren’t stuck going in one direction, no matter what society, family or loved ones tell you. Don’t be afraid to drop something that doesn’t make your fire burn. Just be sure it’s fully and fairly considered, then drop it quicktime and pursue what you’re passionate about. In work, relationships, self-discovery and so forth. Regret’s a really hard thing to live with so, at 30, I’m comfortable in the resolution that I’m not going to anymore.
16. If you can admit that you don’t understand it, you are on the first step to doing so. I used to really hate feeling stupid so I would stick close to my comfort zones. Now I’m thrilled to fall down rabbit holes regularly and don’t mind admitting my ignorance. It’s exhilarating.
17. Music on the Top 40 station, for the most part, really does suck. Ed Sheeran is the exception. Play music all the time, no matter what it is, because those songs will bring back the strangest of memories down the line. No matter how much time has passed and no matter how crappy the tunes were, music memories are some of the best. The soundtrack of my life is filled with music that’s not exactly my first choice in genre but I love it. I have If I Had A Million Dollars by The Bare Naked Ladies, I Knew I Loved You Before I Met You by Savage Garden, Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order, Superman by Five For Fighting, Short People by Randy Newman, Baby, I Love Your Way by Peter Frampton, Ballad Of A Well Known Gun by Elton John, Tisbury Lane by Mae and a variety of Bob Marley or The Tragically Hip always making me think of important moments from my past that helped shape who I am today.
Without that soundtrack, I’m not certain I would remember things so clearly- or at all. Now I watch my three girls dancing together to Spice Up Your Life by The Spice Girls and wonder if that song will bring back the ingrained memory of sisters dancing with Mama in the kitchen. Just play music. All the time. You can also never go wrong with the Rumours album by Fleetwood Mac.
18. It’s the little moments. Actually. At no point in time on your death bed will you wished you traded smiles with your children, family game night or a moment making love to your spouse for a status update, the perfect selfie or a night out singing karaoke. I used to spend some time getting a little annoyed that I couldn’t even spend 30 mins watching a show alone, or reading a book in peace, and having a minute for myself. Hitting 30, it’s like a switch flipped and I realized that although Me TImeis a requirement, there are only so many things I can fit into my memory bank. There are only so many deposits I will ever get to make in my life. I do still need time to unwind, absolutely, but I’ve become a lot less guardian over that time and a lot more relaxed when it’s interrupted. Even writing, which I try to do with headphones on, I keep stopping to let a little one burst in. And I’m okay with that. It’s putting me behind but, at the end of my days, I’m really not going to care about the blog post vs listening to my daughters sing “Hello, my name is Joe! And I work, in a button factory…” while huddled in a happy, giggling circle of three.
Who the hell cares about something you’re watching over watching your child- even if it’s to listen to the same song you’ve heard 12 times since breakfast? Those will be the moments you cherish and the family memories you rehash one day. Relish them.
19. Money can’t buy happiness- but it truly does help. Save. Uhm, but don’t be afraid to spend either because you can’t take it with you. I guess my point is, you need to make sure you have a safety net but don’t obsess over the numbers in the bank. I’ve had less “fun money” in my 30s and I am happier than ever before. I have to be careful what I spend so when I do invest, the things that I purchase bring me immense joy. That’s far better than constant consumerism.
On the topic of money too- it’s much better to buy a little house that you can manage regardless of income, than rent or get yourself in too deep with a mortgage that could sink you. Flashy is fun but functional is necessary. I lucked out in my early 20s with our little Bear Den but I know a lot of people in their 30s without a sound investment.
20. Don’t listen to anybody but yourself. Although it’s nice to have a sounding board and to communicate with others, the only person to influence any decision you ever make should be yourself. People constantly try to influence others but don’t fall prey to that, even if you really love them. Ultimately, you live with regret only from your actions or inactions. It’s much easier to live with a parent being pissed at you than you live with naming your child something you weren’t 100% in love with, for example. In my younger years, I gave too many fucks. Don’t make that mistake.
21. Learn from everyone else. Although I said above that only you should make your decisions, you can still learn from the mistakes of others. Read a lot about relationships and gather some tools to make those more fulfilling. Read about business, finances, parenting and health. Learning constantly can prevent so many mistakes, save a lot of time and boost your confidence level a great deal too. There’s no downside.
22. Simplify. This whole thing about minimalism that, if you’re 30, you’ve probably noticed? Yeah, it works and it’s an incredible release. Feng shui that shit and clear everything out. It helps energy flow freely in your life.
23. The greatest thing about getting older is that you learn to not give a damn faster. I genuinely don’t care if you like me- not because I’m hardened, just because you’re irrelevant. “It’s not you, it’s me”? It absolutely isn’t me, that’s true. Nourish those that nourish you. Good quality relationships are essential, far more than having a large social circle. They have been proven to help extend a person’s life. Help those that are extending yours have a more beautiful journey themselves by making sure you reciprocate and love fully. You’ll both end up richer for it. Find your tribe. Love them hard. Forget the rest.
24. There is nothing more important than your spouse. Both sexes could do with taking this into account. I see a lot of issues with couples where the hubby is putting videogames, bro nights or work first and the wife is putting kids, parental opinions or her to do list in the forefront. Of course, those issues aren’t gender exclusive but just my observation and experience. Kids, the house, a job, anyone else- nothing should take the top spot. You have to be a great, nurturing and present parent but healthy relationships in the home are what ensures healthy children. If you’re too busy putting the kids first and your spousal relationship dwindles as a result, you’ve just shot yourself in the foot. They will not be there to keep you warm at night. They will not be there to keep you company when you’re old, or at least not every day. It’s great to have a set list of priorities but your partner in life should be just that, and should always know they’re #1. Whatever else you’re doing, whoever else may require your attention, should never come before your relationship. If you have an argument against this, you just haven’t learned it yet.
25. In 5 years time you’re going to wish you looked like you did 5 years ago. Almost always. Just enjoy what you look like right now because it can- and will- get worse. I highly recommend doing a ton of squats, as your ass is going to fall and it’ll make you almost as sad as the day your teen goes to bed without kissing you goodnight. Do them now and don’t even worry about the amount of junk in your trunk, as you’ll love being able to bounce a quarter off of it more. Trust me. And don’t wear a bra, for the love of all things holy. Every time you can free the nipple, unholster the twins and keep them perky. It genuinely does help- ask any 30 year old lady.
26. Research everything and believe nothing. It sounds so tinfoil hat but a lot of what I once believed on a variety of subjects is utter crap, I’ve got to admit. Don’t listen to your spouse, your parents, your friends, your family, a doctor, the media, alt news, conspiracy theorists or Ted Talks. Just look into all sides of all stories and decide for yourself. It’ll be enlightening and you’ll end up more confident for it. This helps with all of the other points.
27. Try your best to recognize the moments you’ll look back on and laugh as they’re happening. When your kid paints the living room in diaper cream or smashes your TV (this happened to my sister, sucka lol), it’s hard to not want to cry. If your vehicle breaks down, when the power goes out, if you lose your job or when you injure yourself- If you take the time to see the humour in a lot of it, it can change your perception of the experience, how you deal with things and the memory of you that’s created. Laughter also burns calories, helps boost your immune system, makes you sleep better, creates joy for everyone around you and can boost brain power for the next 30 years.
28. Take pictures- and let them take pictures of you! I hate having my picture taken. I know, if you’re a regular reader, you may think otherwise but those are ones that took a long time to capture. I was very uncomfortable with it being done and I might have downed a glass of liquid courage before traipsing out to bashfully and begrudgingly pose. My second Mum takes a ton of pics, all the time, and I was so mortified when she would snap one of me but she has taken some that I look at fondly now. I won’t always be here for my children and, at 30, I am starting to learn what it’s like to lose friends or loved ones, with many in my family or social circle having already passed away. Pictures, apart from memories, are all you’ve got sometimes and they’re a blessing to those of us left behind.
29. Drink your fucking water and eat the avocados. Just do it. We all know it’s good for us and we don’t bother but, when your liver is tired, your eyes look like they are and your skin starts to show signs of wear and tear, you’re going to wish you had.
30. Pregnancy, labour and motherhood are tiring, beautiful, messy miracles. There is nothing more exhausting and rewarding in the history of humanity. And, no matter how qualified you are, how many books you read or how much you love your children- you will never be “good” at it. Or at least you’ll never think so.
There are my pearls of wisdom from my first few decades. What would yours be?
I’m so curious about what my next decade would look like, or how this list may change. Hey…40… bring it on.