30 Things I Learned by 30

This week I turned one year older. This birthday is different — I have entered a new decade. I thought I’d feel more apprehensive, but I surprisingly don’t. Turning thirty means I have an opportunity to make these next ten years different from the last ten.

Somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, I knew there was always more to my life, but I couldn’t tap into what it was. Now at a new age, I find myself on the precipice of a new life — one I always yearned and hoped for. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if not for my past experiences. To be honest, part of me still struggles with accepting current me instead of “fantasy” me. That fantasy version is who I thought I would be based on external pressure, not really who I actually was. When I look back at my life, I realize how much I have learned both about myself, relationships, and life in general.

About Myself

  1. I’m an empath. For years I wracked my brain on why I feel emotions so much deeper than other people around me. I’ve been called overly sensitive and too precious, making me feel that there was something wrong with caring about so many things and people at the level I did. I now choose to not think that something is wrong with me but to see this as my superpower.
  2. Fall is my favorite season. There is something magical that happens during those months, and it makes me excited for things to come.
  3. I need to carve out time for myself. “Me time” was never discussed or encouraged growing up. There were many times where I felt like I couldn’t relax or breathe because I had to be ‘on’. I also felt like I was put in situations where I had to take care of everyone else around me, neglecting myself along the way. Now, I make it a priority to make time to do whatever it is that I want – read, write, paint, garden…I promise that time to myself and I try my best to keep that promise. I find having that keeping time for myself allows me to recharge the batteries and show up better for the other people in my life.
  4. Find hobbies, then make time for them.
  5. I enjoy my own company. I love taking myself to dinner, going for hikes by myself, reading, or painting. While I love spending time with other people in my life, I cherish that time to veg out and let my mind wander too.
  6. Accept that not everyone will like you, and that’s okay. I grew up feeling the need to people please for love and attention. It ended up making me feel exhausted and sad that I was losing myself in the acceptance of others. Now I choose to live life on my own terms and care less about what others think.
  7. You will make mistakes. Learn and grow from them, don’t let them weigh you down that you get lost in that chapter. Lessons will be learned and that’s how you grow.
  8. You will survive. Days will be long, some nights will be hard. You will grieve, mourn, and rage, but you are strong and will make it to the other side.
  9. Your mistake and successes don’t define you. How you act and treat others does. You change, life changes and that’s natural. Place your worth internally.
  10. Don’t be afraid to walk your own path, even if that means making difficult choices.

Recommendations on Relationships

11. Find your tribe, and nurture those relationships. You don’t need a lot of friends, you just need a few good ones. Some relationships won’t last as long as others, and that’s okay. Some people are meant to pass through our lives, not take up residence.

12. Everyone, including you, has a love language. The sooner you understand yours and others, the better your relationship with them will be.

13. Create and understand healthy expectations. Not everyone thinks the same way as you or has the same mindset and priorities. Be mindful of that, or you will set yourself up for continuous disappointment.

14. Honesty and communication are the building blocks for trust and create strong relationships.

15. Don’t let issues fester. Have conversations about hard topics, share your thoughts, be open to opinions not like your own. When issues are resolved, let them go and move on.

16. Be in relationships because you want to. Doing so for any other reason, like out of fear of being alone or judgment is not reason enough. Be with someone because in your heart of hearts you want to.

17. Don’t feel the need to prove you are worthy of love. You can’t “trick” someone into being with you any more than you can fake being someone else so they will like you. The right person will come along and love all you and your quirks. There is no greater feeling than that.

18. Actions speak louder than words. When you say you love someone, follow through on that and show them your love. If you appreciate something, express that. When make plans with friends, stick to it.

19. There’s no such thing as a “normal” relationship. Nobody is perfect or has a blank slate. When you meet someone, meet them at where they’re at. Be there for yourself. Everyone has baggage, it just looks slightly different.

20. Learning to love yourself is important too, and nothing can replace it. I’m reminded of this quote by Sana Dabbas, “And if I asked you to name all the things that you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?”.

Lessons on Life

21. There are some things in life you won’t have a choice in – where you were born, how you were raised, and religious beliefs. But the things you can change – how you act, what you say, what you choose to believe in, and how you live your life are all things that you can make unique to yourself.

22. Work to live, don’t live to work.

23. Feel all the feelings that come with life. I used to shrink away at being too happy for fear that I would lose it and never truly be happy ever again. I couldn’t handle sadness or guilt, so I would suffocate those feelings until they exploded out of me to get some air. Feelings are a human characteristic that are meant to be experienced and lived through.

24. The only thing that will heal trauma and wounds is time, reflection, acceptance, and peace.

25. Comparison is the thief of all joy. I can say that Instagram and the media don’t affect what I think or how I feel about others and myself, but the fact of the matter is that it does affect me. I’ve chosen to limit myself on those platforms so I can spend more time living life, not through my phone.

26. Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear a path. I thought divorce was the end of my life, that there was no way to move on, I would never be happy again. What I realize now is that I’m forging an alternate life, one that is beautifully different.

27. It doesn’t take a lot of strength to hold on, it takes a lot of strength to let go. This applies to friendships, relationships, jobs, bad memories, beliefs, habits, etc. Letting those things go takes conscious effort to make space for other things in your mind.

28. Life is about trust. Be kind, but don’t let people abuse you. Trust, but don’t get deceived. Be content, but never stop improving yourself.

29. Everyday is a chance to begin anew.

30. Sometimes in the waves of change we find our true direction. It begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to, has power over you, but only if you allow it.

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