Turning 30 is a huge milestone, and I have done just that recently. And by recently, I mean almost a year ago. I haven’t posted in awhile. Sorry.
I have always loved the idea of being 30, and I am excited to see what the next few years hold for me. Also, 29 was terrible and I am glad to say goodbye and leave that year in the past. I also feel like 30 allows me to reflect on the last three decades and offer up some words of wisdom, things I have learned along the way, and things that may help anyone else reading this. Some are short, some are long, but all of them are good.
Here are 30 things I have learned (some of them, the hard way) by 30.
1. True love won’t always stay, and you can’t always force it. Timing is everything, and it is okay to be mature enough to walk away from something that is not beneficial to you. It may hurt for a bit, but it won’t hurt forever, and it will make you stronger. And just because it was true love, does not mean it is your forever love. That isn’t how God works.
2. It’s okay to be alone. Really. If you are reliant on another human being for happiness (I will never be happy until I have a boyfriend!), then you will never truly be happy. Travel solo. Eat in a restaurant solo. Go to the movies solo. Spend time alone, purposefully, with yourself. I promise any future relationship will benefit greatly from this.
3. On the same note, not everyone is meant to settle down. Honestly, though rare, God calls some people to singleness (whether for a season, or for a lifetime) because His plan for you in the moment can only be carried out if you are single. He may be trying to grow you personally or spiritually, or it may serve a larger purpose in His will for your life. And that’s okay.
4. Trust God. For real. His timing, His purpose, His will, His plan. Stop trying to control everything. “Well if I do this, maybe it will move this along.” Or maybe that is not what God wants from you, and you need to wait until He tells you what to do, before you do it. Seriously. Trust Him. Whatever He has for you is far greater than anything you could imagine for yourself.
5. Not everyone has to go to college. HOLD ON BEFORE YOU JUMP DOWN MY THROAT IN THE COMMENTS. God’s plan is not for everyone to go to college. Yes, it is almost universally told that you need a college education. And an education is crucially important for advancement in life and you should never stop learning. However, spend a lot of time with God before deciding where or if to go to college. Student loans are no joke, that is all I am saying.
6. Spend time finding your passion. What makes you the happiest. And make time for that as often as possible. And if you are lucky, turn that passion into a career. Seriously, life is too short to work a job that you hate.
7. Prioritize relationships that matter to you. It took me 27 years to find my best friend. But let me tell you something, now that I have that friendship, I will make sure to take care of it and make it thrive. I’ve had friends along the way, but none that made me a better person. Good friends are hard to find, and if you have someone you care about, make sure you take care of that friendship. One good friend is better than twenty decent friends.
8. Get rid of negativity. Seriously, you do not have to be friends with that person. Even if you have known them your whole life, even if they are family, even if you love them. If that person brings you down, makes you feel bad about yourself, etc. GIVE THEM THE BOOT. Or sit them down and explain to them that you can not stay friends if things continue or that you need space. Negativity causes me so much anxiety, so this one is a big one for me. Adios all my old friends that stressed me out constantly with their drama.
9. Do not put things on credit cards that you can not afford to pay off. Let me say it again for the ones in the back, DO NOT PUT THINGS ON CREDIT CARDS THAT YOU CAN NOT AFFORD TO PAY OFF. Everyone’s financial path is different, and everyone needs are different, so I am not going to tell you to put X amount in savings and have X amount saved before anything else. However, this is universal, and credit card interest rates are no joke. You will pay on them forever. If you have them, learn how to use them for your benefit (miles, points, etc.) but always pay them off as soon as possible.
10. Find your style. And don’t let anyone else define your style for you. If you like your hair dark, but it washes you out, who cares? You like it. If you wear all black, and people say you should wear color, who cares? (Can you tell I am speaking from experience on these two). In all seriousness though, no one needs to define you, except you. Dress up if you want to dress up. Or don’t. But don’t let others set your standards.
11. Kindness is never over-rated. Even when your first instinct is to be angry (road rage, supermarket rage, shopping mall rage, etc.) always take the high road. Be kind. Always. You never know what someone else is going through. Just, be nice.
12. Go to the doctor for a physical once a year. Seriously, go to the doctor. Get a pap smear. Get your mammogram. Do it, it can save your life. And if you think something is wrong between physicals, just go to the doctor. It could be nothing, but it could be something.
13. Put your phone away. When you are with friends, or family, or traveling. There is something to having the world at your fingertips, but it never beats a genuine time with the world around you. This one is hard for me and my camera, I photograph everything. But there must be a balance.
14. Everything in moderation. EVERYTHING. Food, social media, work, blogging, working out, shopping. You name it, and it probably needs to have a limit to it.
15. Stop comparing yourself to others. I have always had any issue with this, and to be honest, this one was a hard one for me. But I learned and am so much happier now. The internet is full of people who are pretending to have better lives than they really do, so please, do yourself a favor, and stop wishing you had their life. It probably is not that great anyways (they are just good photographers and story tellers).
16. Travel will change you. So, do it. Travel near, travel far, travel for a day, or never come back. But go. I have learned more about myself from traveling, than I ever have staying sedentary. My views on the world, the people in it, politics, and even religion (hold up, I am a Christian who very much loves God and puts Him first, but I have learned to love others how God loves them, because of travel. My heart is not hardened, because of travel. My eyes and most importantly, my arms, are open to everyone I meet, regardless of their beliefs, because of travel.)
17. Forgiveness goes further than you think. Even if that person does not deserve it, if you forgive them, you are setting yourself free. You will feel a burden lifted off you, and you will move on from the pain and hurt in a way that you never thought you could. Learn to forgive, you’ll be glad you did.
18. Be honest with yourself about what you want. Ooo this one. I grew up in a small town in Georgia that believes you should get married by 22, have 3-5 kids, be a stay at home mother and wife, and cook pies on the weekend in your apron. Okay maybe that’s extreme, but if I had a dollar for every time someone from my hometown openly judged me for my life choices, then I could retire to Fiji. “You HAVE to get married. You HAVE to have kids. Etc.” You need to spend time alone with yourself, pray long and hard, and figure out what GOD and YOU want with your life, and forget what anyone else in the world has to say about it.
19. What others think about you is not your business. Also, a good one, but a hard one to learn to live with. Who cares what other people think about you. I know firsthand, that there are a lot of things that people can say about me that are no longer true anymore or were never true. People from high school for instance will always think of me as the person I was back then. People from college will see me as that girl forever. And people who know me now, will never really KNOW me. Co-workers, acquaintances, people on the internet. They never see the real you and most of what they hear is not true. So, who cares what they think they know? It’s only hurting them wasting time worrying about you. God truly knows you, and that is all that should matter to you.
20. Trying and failing is better than standing still. Don’t waste time thinking “what if I fail” just do it, and fail, and then see what you would do if you failed. You may learn a better way to do something, you may succeed on the second try, you may never succeed. But at least you know. Wondering what if is the worst thing, so don’t do it.
21. Someone will always be better than you at most things, so be uniquely you. Stop trying to live up to the best version of what you are trying to accomplish. Yes, try your best, practice hard, learn everything you can. But if I am taking piano lessons, and I am getting good at it, and then I listen to Wolfgang, well… I’m never going to be that. But that does not mean I’m not good. Don’t think you are awful if you are not the best. Just be the best you, that’s all that matters.
22. Never compromise your beliefs. Ever. For anyone. If you truly believe something to be right, and honest, and morally correct, do not let another person convince you that it’s okay to go against that because they want you to. What you stand for is the definition of who you are as a person, don’t let someone else take that away from you.
23. Never let anyone tell you what God’s will for your life is, other than God. If God’s will is for you to get married at 22, and have 3 kids, don’t let anyone tell you “you’re too young”. In that same manner, if God’s will for you is the never marry or never have kids, don’t let anyone convince you that you must, because that is normal in society. Who cares about society’s norms! You would be surprised at the people who are miserable because they did what they thought everyone else wanted them to do, instead of what they should have done. Don’t be that person.
24. Take a hike, literally, nature cures a lot. I hate being outside. You’ll never see me lounging by a pool, sitting on a beach, sitting on my patio drinking coffee, etc. But I will go for a walk, or run, or hike anywhere, anytime. I can’t just SIT outside, I want to go and see and be outside. Hiking is incredible, and it will center you, and I just encourage everyone to do it.
25. Never be ashamed to ask for help or talk about your problems. Self-care is not selfish. If anyone makes you feel less than for having mental health issues, they suck. Bottom line. Mental health is serious, it is real, and it is growing rapidly (or it’s just becoming more talked about, which is great). So please, ask for help. Speak to a friend, let someone know how you are feeling. Because you really are not alone. XO
26. Not everyone will like you, and you won’t like everyone, but be kind to everyone. This speaks for itself. You do not have to make everyone like you. I mean, do you like everyone? No. So don’t worry about the occasional person whose personality you just clash with. But be kind to them anyways. Because kindness is not just for our friends or family. It’s for everyone. Spread that stuff like confetti, for real.
27. Life is not easy. Things change (people, feelings, etc.) but that’s okay. Life is long. I know people say it’s short (and it is), but it’s also long. And in this life, people change their mind. Re-read #1 if you need a reminder of that. But it will get better if you aren’t the one who changed, and if you are the one who changed, NEVER FEEL BAD OR APOLOGIZE FOR GROWTH.
28. Serve, volunteer, etc. If you are reading this, odds are you are insanely blessed. Even if you don’t feel like it, even if you struggle, I promise it could always be worse. Remember that, go out there, and serve those less fortunate than you. Even if it is a small thing, it will be a big thing for whoever you help.
29. Experience over things. This is a personal preference, but material things will fade away (hey girl, I see you about to close off this because you are not feeling this one. I get it. I love clothes and things too, not hating here. However, I downsized in late 2017 from a 3-bedroom house, with 2 bathrooms, 2 living rooms, etc. to a SMALL apartment and I LOVE it. I love it. I love it. But it showed me that I don’t need THINGS. Quality over quantity for me.) I am a person who needs experiences. And they will outweigh anything material that I can buy any day.
And last but not least, a long one, but a good one.
30. Learn to stand up. Everyone has different opinions and that’s okay, but hatred is not. A lot of time we find ourselves in the mist of a conversation and suddenly someone says something insensitive, and you’re like “oh no, now what do I do?” Starting now, you stand up for you, stand up for the person/group/demographic/race/political affiliation/etc. that they are speaking about, stand up. You don’t have to be hateful or match their hate. But offer a gentle explanation. Maybe that person doesn’t get it. Maybe they don’t know what they are saying is hurtful, and the only way for them to know is for you to tell them. Tell them. Or maybe they do know, and it may be time for someone to tell them they shouldn’t say those things. So, stand up. This needs to be a big thing in 2019 and going forward. Racism/sexism/hatred/fear/JUDGEMENT/etc. needs to be left in the past. I may get grief for this, being a Christian who is pretty conservative, but last I read, the Bible speaks on God’s love for EVERYONE regardless of their skin color, sex, nationality, etc. “Love thy neighbor” does not get followed up by “unless they are black, or from Syria, or homosexual, or Democratic/Republican, or refugees, or undocumented immigrant, or anyone who is not like you. Then you can hate them”. *SHOCKED FACE* And the end of the day, no matter what, God wants us to be KIND to these people and show HIS LOVE. That’s Biblical, that’s truth, and that’s where I stand.
Whew. Who knew my once travel blog was turning political in 2019? Well don’t worry, it’s not. I promise. There are enough people out there yelling their opinions, this will not be a place for that. The only thing I am going to speak on is travel and kindness and love. But this needed to be said. I needed this out there. The internet is a nasty, hateful place at times, and I will never agree with hate, no matter what or who is being hated.
Guys, thanks for listening. I know that last one took a turn. But these are hard times and we need love more than anything right now. If I have learned anything over the last 30 years, it’s that. Love, empathy, compassion, and kindness go way further than you can imagine. This world would be a different place if we all started showing that to everyone.
Tell me, what are some words of wisdom you think should be included? Or what is something you wish someone told you a long time ago? Share them in the comments below! And as always, following along on my socials to see what I am up to, and sign up on the right to my email list to know what a new post goes live.
I love you guys, thanks for sticking around on this wild journey with me, and I can’t wait to see what 30 holds. XOXO