We’re closing in on the big 3-0, you guys. Earlier this week, I was thinking about the last time I had a new-decade birthday — you know, back when I turned 20. What a crazy ride the last 10 years has been. Growing up, you always hear about how much growth occurs between 20 and 30 and it’s sort of in one ear and out the other. But it IS pretty incredible to reflect back on the last decade of my life and marvel at how much has happened and changed. I was thinking about all the things I’d tell my 20 year old self — or a little sister, if I had one — and as I jotted down a few nuggets of wisdom, the idea for this post came into play. And then, as I determined what graphics I should add, a highly amusing personal yearbook emerged too. Yes, that’s right, after the jump are 10 photos of me over the last 10 years. From a gal who can barely get an outfit post up but every few months, no less (ahead: a blogger in her natural environment). The biggest takeaway from 30 years on this weird and wonderful planet? Be present and enjoy the now. That’s an important one. And here are 30 other things I’ve learned:
But first, my personal yearbook!
Okay, now for realsies.
30 THINGS I’VE LEARNED IN 30 YEARS:
1. Margaritas are never a bad idea.
2. Make an effort to cultivate lasting friendships with the people who make you feel most like you.
3. Worrying about what other people are doing is a total waste of time and energy. Train yourself to not do it.
4. Save a few trendy items that you loved wearing when you were in your very early 20s. They make GREAT costumes later in life.
5. Despite all your self convincing that it won’t happen to you, yes, your skin really does eventually age and your metabolism really will slow down.
6. It’s okay if there are some things in life that you’re not ready to get over, and may not ever get over. Those are the things that become part of you, and probably make you who you are.
7. And as a follow up: Ain’t no shame in seeing a therapist. Regularly.
8. Discomfort in life is a sign that you’re going through something that will challenge, change and evolve you. So while it sucks in the moment, take solace in the knowledge that you’re going to come out the other side a stronger person.
9. Study abroad in college. You will regret it if you don’t.
10. Collect experiences, no things. This one’s really hard and no one can subscribe to it completely, but it’s a good approach to remember.
11. Ridiculous dance moves will never be frowned upon during an impromptu dance party; in fact, they will be celebrated. Always bust a move if you’re feeling the beat — you’ll probably be the life of the party.
12. Special guest contribution from Joe, who turns 30.5 this week: “Being happy and healthy are really the only things that matter.”
13. Never, ever go to bed without washing your face and moisturizing. It’s beyond me how people can sleep with any makeup on. Ew.
14. People are not mind readers. If you know what you want, you have to ask for it.
15. In our culture, we’re made to feel like there’s no such thing as getting wealthier, you only reach new levels of relative poverty. Instead, work on being grateful for everything you have and have earned, and where you are in the present.
16. Find a book you absolutely love, then read it once per year. I’ve done this with one particular book for years, and it’s been fun to see how it changes for me as I get older — what makes me laugh, what parts I like the best, etc. (The first time I read it, I was 17 years old!)
17. Throw someone you love a huge surprise party at least once in your life. It’s really, really fun!
18. If you fall in love with an item while traveling — whether it’s a knick knack or a piece of furniture — always buy it. Those are the home decor items that make for the best stories and memories.
19. Selecting and regularly wearing a signature scent can do wonders as a daily pick-me-up. It can make you feel more like you.
20. Indulging in guilty pleasures will be some of the best times you have alone with yourself. Watch that reality TV, treat yourself to a massage, or eat half a box of Cheez-Its while watching reality TV. And enjoy every second of it.
21. It’s okay to not want the same things that everyone else seems to want. And that includes trendy footwear OR major life decisions!
22. Between the ages of 21 and 25, all visits to Vegas should have a strict 2 night maximum. After 25, any additional nights should only be added if you’re splurging on the the 3S’s: spas, shows, and shopping. Otherwise, the max night rule holds.
23. No really, things could always be worse.
24. Take care of yourself. The human body is a pretty incredible machine, but it functions a lot better when you care for it accordingly. I admittedly could be better at this a lot of the time!
25. If you enjoy the language you learn in high school, keep it up for as long as you can. There’s nothing cooler than meeting multi-lingual adults.
26. In the same vein: It’s entirely possible that the subjects you thought you sucked at in school will end up being necessary — and much easier for you — later in life. Don’t sell yourself short, and keep learning about the things you don’t understand.
27. Whether you like it or not, the music you loved as teenager will eventually be considered “oldies”, regardless of how current it still sounds to you.
28. It really is a small world. Weird connections and acquaintances will come back into your life again and again. I’m always in awe of it — especially in this day and age, with our ability to connect online! Two of my favorite examples: a guy I met as a teenager on a cruise ship and totally had a teenage summer fling with is married to a popular blogger I came across 12 years later. And once, Joe was on a video conference call at work with another office in London, and realized he was talking to his childhood best friend who had moved away at age 8. They hadn’t seen each other in nearly 20 years.
29. A good hair removal place is gold. As is a good hair salon and stylist who understands what will make you look and feel great. Follow these people to the ends of the earth, no matter how many salon changes they make. Unless you move to another city, in which case, prepare yourself for a couple years of bad haircuts and salon hopping.
30. At every stage in life, whether it’s your best friends or the most insignificant acquaintances, everyone’s journey will be different from your own. Don’t spend your time comparing.
Your turn, late 20-somethings and newly minted 30 somethings. What’s something you’ve learned in your 30 years? Share your wisdom below. I hope you enjoyed this very random Real Life post!
Image credit: Jo Lewis, via Style Me Pretty