I turned 30 this year.
Looking back on the past decade, I’ve learned so much and grown so much. It didn’t always come easily.
Your 20’s are a decade of becoming, of learning who you are, what you want, and more significantly, what you don’t.
You’re laying the foundation of your life during these years, and your daily choices, habits, and decisions are shaping what your life will look like and who you are in decades to come.
I’m no expert; I’ve gotten plenty of things wrong. It tooks me years to get in a healthy workout routine and eating plan, and I still can’t master simple things like finding my glasses before taking out my contacts. I own my half of a failed marriage and still sometimes find myself sad about words I can’t take back. I have 23 voicemails on my phone and would really rather not show you the inside of my car at the moment. I’ve changed careers a few times because it took me years to figure out what I wanted to do.
But I’ve learned a lot along the way.
Here’s my 30 for 30:
1. Comparison is the thief of joy.
This doesn’t go away after high school or college. If anything, this has the power to intensify in your twenties.The stakes only get higher and the “stuff” only gets nicer as you get older. Whether you are actively practicing contentment or you are succumbing to your own pity party has a significant impact on how you will view the world. If you cannot be happy for others, you are also robbing yourself of seeing the blessings in your own life.
2. Practice gratefulness.
It’s easy to go through the motions of life without reflection, but you’ll miss the blessings you already have by hustling without looking around you. Write down 3 things you’re thankful for every day. It is great for the good seasons, and it’ll help pull you through the bad seasons.
3. Quality over Quantity.
In just about everything: food, beauty products, friends, jeans. They’re all worth the investment, and you’ll realize you’re not missing “more” with any of them.
4. Hipster Cocktail Party Radio on Pandora. You’re welcome.
5. Almost everything works if you unplug it for a while, including yourself. Self care is paramount. There is no guilt in taking time for yourself-a hike, a workout, journaling, a bath, saying no, etc. The only person in charge of taking care of yourself is you.
6. 3 Hobbies.
One for your health.
One for creativity.
One for making money.
7. You can be anything, but not everything.
You will have to learn to make sacrifices. You will have to put in your time. You will have to work harder at some things you thought would come more easily to you in life.
8. Love is action.
Go beyond thoughts and prayers.
9. Work out.
Your body. Your mind. Your heart. You’ll always feel better afterward, and if you make it a habit, it doesn’t feel daunting. Even just a little something each day. A hike. A work out class. Yoga. Stretching. Reading. Trivia. Puzzles. Sudoku. Journal. Therapy.
10. No is just as important as yes. Energy is finite; invest wisely.
11. Wearing sunglasses is a lot cheaper than botox from years of squinting.
12. Do not romanticize the past and do not live in the future. Reflect on the past and plan for the future, but live in today.
13. Take more photos.
14. Open a Roth IRA.
Maybe you’re fresh out of college and have no idea what you want to do. Maybe you’ll try a few different jobs or bounce around a while until you figure out what you want. That’s ok. Exploring is part of the journey. Not everything is going to fit into your life. A Roth IRA is a great idea to invest in and helps take the pressure off not being fully vested in your company’s 401k when you leave.
15. Laser hair removal feels exactly like someone putting out a cigarette on you one million times. And it is absolutely worth it.
16. The only thing more precious than your time is who you spend it on.
17. Being an Amazon Prime mom is just as good as being a Pinterest mom.
18. If you go home with someone and you don’t see any books in their house, leave.
19. Say something.
Congratulate others on the life achievement, realized dream, wedding, baby, new house, etc. But more importantly, say something when you hear something bad happend. They lost a job, got divorced, miscarried, had a health scare, etc. Even if you don’t know them that well. Even if it was their fault. Even if its awkward. Even if you don’t know what to say, you can just say “I heard what happened and I’m so sorry.” Words matter. Be someone who says something.
20. Travel is the only thing you can spend money on that makes you richer. Invest. The more you travel, the more cultures you immerse yourself in, the more foods you try, the more time you spend watching how others live, the more you realize this life is so much more than you and so much more than you know.
21. Binge on books, not TV.
22. Valentine’s Day is not the day to try a new self tanner.
23. Set goals. Write them down. They do not count if they are not written down.
24. You’ll always learn more by listening rather than talking.
25. Therapy is not for when things fall apart. It’s for any time, and all the time. Becoming your best, most aware self is the best gift you can give this world. Talking through your deepest insecurities and your biggest dreams can help you get there.
26. Always have a bottle of champagne in the house. You never know when life’s biggest celebration might pop up.
27. Make your own traditions. Traditions help form some of the best, most vivid memories. Create them for yourself. Create them for your family. Monkey bread on Christmas morning, exploring the trees of the world at Meijer Gardens, and weekend breakfast at Real Food Cafe are some of my favorites.
28. Purging is therapeutic. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or indecisive, take a look around you. Perhaps you have too many choices, perhaps you can’t keep things clean because there’s too much stuff. Let go. Frequently.
29. Never underestimate the power and significance of a hand written letter or love note.
30. Authenticity breeds connection. Be yourself, not who others tell you to be.