I turned 30 over the weekend. The big 3-0. Contrary to birthdays past, this one had me slightly unhinged. The idea of no longer being a 20 something felt heavy to me. The fact that there were things I always thought I would have accomplished in my 20s, that I hadn’t, I found unsettling. But, if there’s one thing that moving to NYC has taught me, it’s that the timeline you think your life needs to run on, doesn’t really exist. There’s no correct age to accomplish certain things. And if I really take a look at the last decade, the things I have accomplished fully outweigh the things I haven’t. So in the spirit of reflection and appreciation, I’m making a list of the things the last decade has taught me. 10 years of learning and mistake making and growth. Some lessons learned the hard way, some by observation, so don’t read to heavily into all of them please.
On the topic of life:
- Pick up and move. It will be scary and hard but it will be the best thing you can do for yourself.
- You aren’t in high school anymore so stop expecting your body to look like it still is.
- Buy fresh flowers. Even if they’re $5 bodega flowers. They’re worth it.
- Don’t open that Gap Credit Card. The initial discount isn’t worth it.
- The dreams you had for your life will probably change/morph over the years. Go with the flow. They could end up being even better than your original dream.
- Life really isn’t black and white. It is frustratingly and confusingly and wonderfully grey.
- Do whatever you have to do to go to another country. And when you do, take the time to not be a total tourist. Find the spots the locals go to. That’s where the good stuff happens. And write about it. You’ll forget things over the years so make sure you write things down.
- Facebook is not your diary. Have a blog instead. Or an actual diary.
- Try the vegetables you hated as a child. You’ll probably like them now. Except peas. They’re still the worst.
- Care about what the right people think.
- It’s okay to be by yourself sometimes.
- When in Paris, eat snails.
- It’s okay to change your mind about things. Even if it’s something you’ve felt a particular way about for a long time.
- Plan road trips.
- Make friends with the shop owners next to your apartment.
- Create things. Use your hands to make something out of nothing. It’s so rewarding.
- The Florida sun will always burn you. Always.
- Learn to cook and more importantly, trust yourself in the kitchen. You’re more capable than you think you are.
- Going to the doctor is actually something you should do more than once every five years.
- A split second decision can have a ripple effect that touches more than just you. And can’t be taken back.
- Get in the water with the manatees. The story is worth it.
- It’s okay to keep your mouth shut sometimes.
- Don’t be afraid to question your own opinions. Especially the ones that you’ve been raised to have. They might not actually be your own.
On the topic of friendship:
- You may never get closure on why some friendships end. Come to terms with that.
- Some friends will become your family and you might even fight with them like they’re your family, but that also means that you choose to keep loving them like family too.
- When a friend comes to you with a problem, it isn’t always your job to fix it. Just listen.
- Know the difference between a friend and an acquaintance
- Don’t beat yourself up for not staying in constant touch with friends that live far away. Communication works both ways and usually it’s the time you do spend together that means the most.
- Don’t expect one person to carry all of your emotional baggage. It’s not fair to them nor is it their job.
- When your friends of the opposite sex get married, your friendship will change. Like it or not.
- Celebrate each others little things. Preferably with prosecco.
- When you find yourself in job position in charge of your peers, do your job first, then be their friend. They won’t like it and it will definitely suck most of the time. But the right people will respect you for it and end up being true friends.
- Don’t prioritize your boyfriend over your friends. When that shmuck is out of the picture your friends won’t be.
- Someday your guy friends will date women who aren’t intimidated by you and it will be great! Try not to assume that they hate you in advance.
- When your friend decides that you’re no longer friends, you’ll always still be glad that you didn’t go out with her ex to get back at her.
- Be the DD. You’ll be so sober watching your friends be drunken fools but you’ll feel better knowing they got home safe.
- It’s a two way street.
On the topic of love:
- It isn’t written anywhere that you must remain friends with your ex. In some situations the healthiest thing you can do is realize that that person isn’t bringing anything to the table as a friend either and walk away.
- On the opposite side of that coin; there’s something to be said about continuing to appreciate the things about an ex that made them attractive in the first place and choosing to not hate them for not being “the one”.
- Men won’t do things if they don’t want to. So if he isn’t calling/texting/visiting it’s because he doesn’t want to. Take that as the hint it is and keep it moving.
- If you want a man to be chivalrous, act like a lady who deserves that.
- Try not to be “one of the guys” when you’re with your guy. Chances are he’s dating you because you’re not a guy.
- So you think that you found “the one”. That doesn’t mean jack if he doesn’t think you’re “the one” too.
- Emotional and verbal abuse is still abuse.
- Putting up with “just a little more of his crap” isn’t going to suddenly make him realize how great you are. He should have figured that out from the start and not put you through any crap.
- Your sexuality is not your best asset for attracting men. Or at least the right men.
- If a guy jokes about being a “jerk”, chances are it’s not a joke.
- Learn to be okay with being taken care of.
- Love really is about a mutual weirdness. So if you don’t have that with someone, maybe it’s time to move on.
- Actions will always speak louder than words
- You will fight sometimes but fight fair. Avoid the low blows. Those are especially hard to take back.
- All the heartache from past relationships is entirely worth it when you’re with the right person.
- It might seem totally hopeless at times. Like you’ll be alone forever. A spinster. Don’t get down. Take this time to better yourself. You’ll be even more ready when the right one comes along.
- It’s alright to go above and beyond for someone, as long as it’s not at the price of your own happiness/sanity.
I’m sure I could continue but I’ll stop there. A lot of people I have talked to say that their 30s were even better than their 20s. My 20s were pretty great but I still hope they’re right. I hope that when I’m turning 40 I’ll be able to look back and have a whole new list of things I’ve learned and grown from. Because that’s what it’s about isn’t? What’s the point of experiencing all these things and making mistakes if we aren’t learning from them?
So here we go 30s. Let’s see what you’ve got to offer.