The best thing about turning 30 is I realized that the things I've learned along the way has created a strong foundation for confidence in my 30s. However, when I take a moment to reflect on my journey in my 20s there are a few things that I wish I knew when I was a bit younger.
Love Yourself & Be Happy Being You
There will never be a you like you! Learning this has been pretty powerful for me. Understanding how special you are, fully embracing yourself and owning your identity changes your life.
It Always Works Out in the End
I can't begin to count the multiple times I'd freak out in a situation or regarding an outcome I cannot control. Being able to let go and learn that what is meant to be will be and that it's going to work out the way it's intended, would have saved me a lot of stress in my 20s. Credit to my mom for teaching me this my entire life, but it’s one of those things I had to learn on my own.
It's Okay to Say No
This has always been a tough one for me. I've always hated the uncomfortable feeling of delivering disappointment and telling someone no. On the other hand, it's such a relief when you realize that doing what makes you happy is what should prevail, even if it means telling that one friend you can't make it to dinner. Even if you say yes to everyone, you still won’t please the whole world. With practice we have to work to overcome the guilt and unapologetically say no. You don't need to explain yourself - everything you decide to do is your choice. You are the CEO of your time.
Don't sweat the small stuff
Overly stressing about situations has taught me to keep things in perspective. Especially when it comes to work. Prioritize what you give your energy to - your brain will thank you later.
You are Good Enough
Value Yourself - For some reason I used to think I needed to be in a certain place in life by a certain time. But in reality, different things happen for different people at just the right time that they need to. Be confident in the fact that you can compete with the big boys just the way you are. How you value yourself is exactly how others will value you. Love yourself and know that no matter where you are in life, you are enough.
It’s worth mentioning again that everyone is in different places in life and have gone through different experiences. You never know what someone went through to get to where they are today. Social media has played a big part in comparisons and misconceptions - but never compare your life to someone's social media highlight rail.
Mindset is Everything
How you think about life, situations, opportunities, failures etc. is 100% up to you. If you are positive and exude positive energy, positive things will happen. If you think the opposite, then the opposite will happen. Your brain controls how you see life and how you see life controls your version of happiness, success, failures etc. Single at 30? Career change at 30? These can be good things or bad things - totally up to your mindset.
No One is Always Right
I used to think that if someone was in a high position or who was more experienced was always right. I've been surprised to learn that life is all about experiences and lessons. We all have different beliefs and developed different values. A lot of things are subjective so don't assume someone is right and don't assume the way you think is wrong. You or no one else always has the answers. No decision is the wrong decision- it's your decision and when it comes to your life, facts are defined by you.
The younger you are or the less responsibilities you have, create for the perfect time to take risks. By age 30, you may have people depending on you or more responsibilities than years past, but as long as the risk or failure isn’t life threatening or potentially catastrophic, try to take as many leaps as you can withstand. Stop holding out for the perfect moment because there will never be a perfect time, just go for it. Risks open doors for new opportunities that you wouldn’t experience otherwise and failures create lessons you wouldn't have learned.
Planning and Organizing Keeps Me Sane
Whether it's my thoughts, cleanliness of my room, clutter in my car or my work desk - keeping everything organized takes the load off your mind and helps to make executing on things more effectively. (One thing I still cannot keep organized is folding clothes. Ugh, what a bore! Any tips on mastering laundry?)
Another part of planning that I've learned the hard way and wish I learned sooner is being on time. I've learned the value that comes with the feeling of being some place exactly when I need to. While this is still a work in progress, the many frustrations of being late has pushed me to get it right.
Accomplishing my "things to do before 30" list would have been great, but what's better is the lessons I've learned along the way. I truly believe in timing and who knows how things would be different if I mastered these things at 20. Looking back, I realize there are things you just cannot understand or grasp until you are 30 or until you have an experience or true desire and intent to understand it. Ultimately I'm very grateful that I've been able to master and acknowledge these things now!
What things do you wish you knew before you hit age 30?
See also: 17 Habits for Mastering Life in Your 30s