30 Things 30 Years Have Taught Me
It’s official. My 20s are gone, but I’ve just started living. 30 years is a long time and I feel confident enough to say it’s a long enough time to have something to say about life and all it’s glory and pain. So, I’m rounding up 30 things I’ve learned in my 30 years on this earth. I hope you find some insightful elements here just as I have! XOXO!
Trust your gut
When the day gets the best of you and you’re at the crossroads of what feels like a life-changing decision, it can totally feel like one of those old cartoons where there are two opposing voices on your shoulders telling you conflicting info on which choice to make or path to take. It’s taken more than a decade to master this one, but I’ve learned that if there is even a sliver of doubt in my mind over something, I just need to trust myself and go with my inner intuition. In Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, the “gut” is described as “personal courage and determination; toughness of character.” In short, it’s pretty much the closest thing we have to an angel on our shoulder.
Move on from unhealthy relationships
I can’t even count how many times I was bullied or have been taken advantage of in my adolescent years. I’ve let others have so much power over me in my 30 years, that I sometimes didn’t even know who I was anymore. As human beings, it’s in our nature to desire to be wanted or accepted and we stay in relationships or friendships because we think we have to or that we’re supposed to instead of knowing that we have a choice. What I know now is that the power I continuously relinquished to others, I did it willingly…I just didn’t know it. I’ve come to realize that it’s okay to push people out of your life. If it’s unhealthy, if they don’t bring you joy, or if the relationship has run its course, it’s okay to move on.
Follow your inner compass
Your determination as a human being is more powerful than you can even imagine. That “gut” I talked about? It’s ever present in you all the time. Trust it, feel it, believe it, follow it. If there’s something gnawing at you, be it an idea, or a passion you’ve always wanted to pursue, then lean into it! There’s a reason you’re being drawn to it and damn wouldn’t it be cool to see what that’s all about?
Make your siblings your best friends
Depending on your familial situation, you might be thinking WTF is this Sarah? But hear me out. As the oldest of 3 girls my sisters literally SUCKED when I was younger – I wanted them to like me so much, but there were years where one would be nicer than the other and then the tables would turn and I would be closer to one than the other and blah, blah, blah. Couple that with literal name calling, door slamming, physical hair pulling, and you’ve got yourself a real-life, recurring cat fight. Fast forward to now and we’re legit all best friends. You see, we know every in and out of each other’s upbringing because we went through it all together (and let me tell you we’ve been through a lot). It’s comforting to know that you can say “I hate you” one day or tell someone they are an idiot and then they’ll just magically forgive you the next day. Try it. You have built in best friends for life.
You WILL become your mother (and that’s okay)
The age old saying, “You will become your mother”, has never been truer than it is at 30. Yes, when I was young, I resented this idea wholeheartedly. It’s not that I didn’t like who my mom was, it was just that my formative years (and likely yours too) were spent relenting to my friends how mean she was or how she wouldn’t let me do anything fun (you know, typical “Woe is me” stuff). Well let me tell you this, I have come to freaking adore the little quirks of mine that remind me of my mother, and I hope to God I become half as good of a mother as she was to me. That’s the dream.
Ask for the raise
There will come a time in your professional life where a raise is something you’ll want (and likely deserve). Does that mean you’ll get one just because you’re so awesome? NO. If there is only one thing I’ve learned in my 30 years, it’s that nobody will look out for you in the way you need to look out for you. What this means is there will come a time where you’ll need to take initiative on your own and ask for that raise. Here’s the kicker: you’ll need to both prepare and to prove yourself. It’s no easy situation, but when you are prepared and can clearly put forth reasons why you deserve it, I promise you, they’ll recognize you’re worth keeping around. TIP: if you can connect your worth to the company back to financial dollars – ex: because of your efforts, the company has seen an increase in xx% of sales or account growth – then all the better!
Marry your best friend
Like it or not, your spouse is the bestest friend you’ll ever find. My advice is that if you’ve found someone you can talk to, confide in, who laughs with you, who laughs at you, who pushes you to pursue your dreams, who tells you not to give up, who believes in you, trusts you, makes life all the more better and loves you unconditionally, then that’s a pretty damn amazing person and you should probably spend the rest of your life with them.
Get the shoes
My greatest fashion compliments have always been connected to my footwear. And I don’t think that’ by coincidence. It’s the one area of your wardrobe where you can stand out without being over-the-top. And it’s always fun to make an unexpected statement. My advice, get the shoes. You (most likely) won’t regret it.
Don’t forget your past. But do forgive your past.
There’s no sense wallowing about what’s already taken place. If you’ve done something you aren’t proud of, there will come a time when you’ll need to face it. All you can do in the present time is look back on the situation, acknowledge it, and then forgive it. Forgive the situation.
Be the light
“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – J.K. Rowling
One of my favorite scriptures is Matthew 5:15 “No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.” I’ve fallen short of living this out on more than one occasion, but it’s a mantra I seek to live by. In a world so full of darkness and what can feel like hopelessness, seek to be the light. Whether that be caring for others when they don’t seem to care about you or standing up for what is right – don’t crawl away and hide. If you have a light, shine it.
Travel the United States
When my husband and I first started dating, we received one of those TIME 100 Places to See Before You Die books. It one focused on America and it opened our eyes to an incredible world of wonder just within our 50 states! Every trip we take, we try to cross off one or two things from this book. Some of our favorite stops include: The Mammoth Caves in Kentucky, Mount Rainier in Seattle, the Redwood National Forest in Northern California, and the Hoh Rainforest in western Washington.
The land of 10,000 lakes is without a doubt my favorite place on the planet. I love it with every part of my being. I grew up in California and never thought a second about the Midwest, but every time my parents would bring us there for a visit, it simply took my breath away. When we finally moved there, I came to realize what all the fuss was about. It’s quaint, its cultured and it’s glorious. The state of Minnesota is literally the ONLY place I’d want to be in the summer months. Perfect weather and a boastful shoreline. Lake Minnetonka is my personal favorite. Also, did I mention there is no sales tax on clothing and also its home to the Mall of America?
Pay off your car
Freedom from debt is hard. But trust me, living within your means is the first way to living like a rich person. Okay, a (sensible) rich person. Pay off your car and see how freeing not having a car payment is. Hint: It’s wonderful.
Have a 401k
In my first real job at the age of 19, I realized there were such thing as “benefits”. If you get the opportunity to be at an organization that matches your 401k, take it to the max percent!! A few hundred dollars a month now, will NOT be something you miss 30 years from now.
Give yourself 1-hour of self-pity and move on with your life
One of my first bosses gave me a piece of paper with this advice on it. On many occasions I’d look at it when things felt unimaginably challenging. I never forget these words and I impart them on you now. No situation is worth constantly toiling over.
Believe in a higher power
God is real. People are just people and they do not have existential power.
Work with a nonprofit
Living life for yourself is boring. Especially when you recognize all you can offer the world around you. I spent 4 years serving on the board of the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance and they were the most rewarding years of my life thus far. Find something that makes you feel passionate and see how you can get involved.
Be a mentor
Did someone ever take you out to coffee, or lunch, or Happy Hour and give you advice? Did you take that advice and put it to good use? Did that advice ever turn into something greater? Did you capitalize on that advice? Then, good!! You had a mentor!! The world needs more of you. Take what you’ve been given and give that back to someone else who could make use of it.
Say thank you
It’s the right thing to do. It’s okay to oversay it.
Watch “The Princess Bride”
“As you wish”. That is all.
Help the next one in line
Like number 18, it’s important to give back. If you’ve gotten somewhere; in life, in your career, in your relationships — you have advice to give and knowledge to impart. Don’t let this go wasted. Share it, give it.
Pursue career greatness
Know what you can be and strive to become that. This doesn’t mean entitlement. Greatness takes work. Greatness takes hard work and it takes time. Be patient with yourself, but know your worth and make proper steps to ladder up to your ultimate goals.
Know what you stand for. And what you don’t.
Cattiness is fleeting; women can be conniving, men can be assholes. You don’t need to stand for either. Speak up. Put your foot down and if you need to, address problems face-to-face.
You have a voice. Use it and be proud of it. Nobody ever got anywhere by sitting in the back-corner practicing silence. Except Gandhi, but that was a different situation in its entirety.
Don’t be consumed by laziness
This is something I laugh at now. When you’re a kid, this is basically life AF. But adulthood and success are not defined by the word lazy. Adulting takes hard work, focus and a hell of a lot of hutzpah, so don’t let the idea of being lazy ruin the vision of who you hope to become.
It’s okay to be choosy (sometimes)
In a relationship, I get it. In a job, maybe. But in life, it’s not always so black and white. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. There doesn’t have to be an in-between.
Money isn’t everything
Relationships and mental and spiritual health are more important than the Benjamins.
Believe in yourself
I’ll say it again – you are capable of undeniable greatness! You just need to believe that your potential is endless. You have the power to conjure up unimaginable greatness. It’s inside of you, waiting for the chance to be seen.
Take leaps of faith
Maybe it’s a big move, a big job or a big relationship but there are always going to be junctures in life where you have a choice: to keep it safe or to take a leap of faith. I dare you to try the faith thing.
Find your passion and fuel it in some way each day.
For me, it’s two passions: singing and fashion. How do I nurture both? I belt it out in the car ride to and from work and I’ve started this blog as a way to energize my fashion fiend. What passions do you want to fuel?