Call me crazy, but I’ve always wanted to be ‘in my thirties’. I didn't think I could actually be considered 'classy' until I was out of my twenties. As if once my third decade on Earth hit, my title would suddenly graduate from the endearing 'Young Lady' to the prestigious, 'Woman'. That is obviously my 12-year-old self speaking, but the thought took root somewhere in the depths of me. Today, on this my entry into that mystical third decade, I’m beginning to see some flaws in my logic (winky-face Emoji). I don’t feel the way I envisioned those classy, refined, thirty-something women feeling. I feel immature. The cannon is still a little loose and decisions at times still questionable. I guess I'd hoped to be all grounded, not like listening to the new Taylor Swift album on repeat and shopping at Forever 21 (sometimes simultaneously) and using the words ‘like’ and ‘Emoji’ so much in daily life.
Along with those expectations, however, comes the bonus of growing up: I don’t mind. I don’t mind that I still have a long way to go before ‘sophisticated’ and ‘graceful’ are synonymous with my name. Tell my 22-year-old self that this is what 30-year-old self would say? Bam - horror and disappointment at the thought of still being a work-in-progress. But for today’s me? It’s all good.
Okay, so I haven’t found my ‘life’s work’ or know exactly where I’d like the next five years to go, but I am more comfortable with that uncertainty than ever. With that comfort I have found more clarity and drive to achieve things of which 22-year-old me could only dream. The weight of needing to have it all figured out has proven to be a burden I am happy to leave behind.
So to kick-off the new decade, in all my non-wisdom and tween-at-heart sensibilities, I’ve given myself the challenge of writing 30 lessons I’ve learned in 30 years on this planet. In one(ish) sentence each. That's hard for me, people! Getting old is already a challenge.
Though far from groundbreaking, these are some of the tried-and-true basics that get me through the day.
- Saying Thank You matters, large or small.
- Self-esteem comes not from self-love, but self-respect, and self-respect grows by exercising good character.
- Being kind and being genuine are not mutually exclusive.
- People usually have a reason for being mean/angry/judgemental, and that reason is usually about them, not me.
- Feelings follow actions; the best way to love someone or something is to behave as though you do.
- Doing a job I commit to doing, and doing it right no matter who cares and regardless of whether or not it will be ‘checked’, increases my self-respect.
- Doing anything or nothing with those I love is worth the time, every time.
- Of all activities, reading books gives the biggest bang for my buck: relaxing, learning, attention-span growing, emotion-conjuring, brain-exercising, socially enlightening, vocabulary-enhancing, writing-improving, comfort-giving, goodness.
- Blaming anyone or anything is
almostalways a bad idea.
- When it comes to hard things that have to be done, stop thinking and just do it. On some days, just friggin’ do it.
- Do care what others think of you. Do not fear what they think of you.
- Spending a lot of time dwelling on, or talking about, negative experiences from the past is a way of avoiding the future.
- Anticipation of pain/discomfort/awkwardness is much worse than the feeling itself, so just get to the point already.
- The moment I realize I’m behaving stupidly, it’s best to stop whatever I’m doing and just admit it.
- I make more progress when I concern myself with how one feels about themselves while with me, rather than how they feel about me.
- When the opportunity to complain or argue arises, ask, "Is this the hill I want to die on?" a.k.a. Choose battles sparingly.*
- It's simpler to be 100% myself than 75% of someone else, and far less tiring.
- Asking and listening is better than talking, and I should always do more of both.
- There are precious few things that are true in every situation and for every person; seeking for and abiding by those truths invites powerful things into your life.
- Patience helps everything. Everything.
- Most problems can be traced to either comparison or unmet expectations. Figuring out which is a quick way to start fixing them.
- Demanding my needs are met takes more energy and is much less pleasant than meeting another's needs.
- Anything I'm worried about at night will be at least ten-times easier to deal with in the morning.
- Going easier on others is a surefire way to become less critical of myself, and vice versa.
- The less I need in order to feel content in a given situation, the better life is.
- Only a fool takes offense when none is intended, and a greater fool takes offense when it is.**
- Keeping commitments is a muscle; warm it up on the smallest things and it will be ready for the biggest things.
- Having a friend from whom you go away feeling like you can face the world again, is one of life’s treasures worth seeking. Being that friend is just as worthy.
- Fear and faith cannot coexist. F.E.A.R: False Expectations Appearing Real.***
- I am a child of God, and so are you.
Best part about this is, I only have to learn one thing a year from here on out!
*Adapted from Dr. Laura
**Brigham Young, paraphrased
**Heard the acronym from John Bytheway