My 30th birthday is upon us and in true cliche, retrospective style, I’m looking upon the past. I’ve learned a lot in my 30 years. I’ve had triumphant moments and I’ve had moments where I wanted to crawl under the covers and never come out. I’ve made both smart and truly stupid decisions. At the end of the day, I’ve taken every life lesson in stride and vowed to myself not to repeat mistakes. That being said, here is my wisdom that I bequeath unto you.
30 Things You Should Do or Know by Age 30
- Develop a healthy relationship with food.
- Stop eating crap you know isn’t good for you because you think it’s a testament to not caring what people think of your body or YOLO or whatever. Avoid stress eating and remember that food is fuel.
- Stop using credit cards.
- Using credit cards is taking a loan out against your future self. However, you aren’t a psychic and you don’t know for certain what your future financial life looks like. Live within your means. Credit cards have a time and a place, which commonly looks like a broken down car on the side of the road. It does not look like a purse or a vacation.
- Pay your bills first, then play.
- Always pay your bills! I repeat, always pay your bills! If you have a nasty habit of overspending and “accidentally” dipping into bill money, have two debit accounts – one for pay, one for play.
- Write thank you notes.
- It’s good manners and gratitude is a major source of happiness.
- Follow the “Dry Clean Only” requirements.
- Spend the few bucks and dry clean your clothing that requires it.
- Always ask for hotel room upgrades.
- Always. Ask. For. Upgrades. You never know when you could be the magical recipient of a suite or free meal. How? Be kind and courteous to the desk agent and politely ask them, “Do you have any upgrades you can offer me tonight/for my stay?” Chances are, they do and they are inexpensive or free.
- Eat local food when you travel.
- Put down the chain food. Enjoy a little local taste sensation every where you travel, even if for one meal.
- Keep a journal.
- You don’t have to write every day. Maybe just once a week or when you feel like it. Write about your personal life, your career goals or work frustrations, write through a issue or a problem, draw diagrams, keep track of goals. Journals help clear your mind and help with self-awareness.
- Find a creative outlet.
- Paint, draw, write, sew, build models, scrapbook, bake, color. Do something, anything, that gets your creative juices flowing. I get some of my best ideas for every aspect of life while cross stitching. Don’t know where to start? Walk through a craft store and see what speaks to you and just try it. You have to start somewhere.
- Invest in your wardrobe.
- Buy quality clothes that fit you well and make you comfortable. Confidence comes from comfort.
- Exercise regularly.
- Annoying but true. Find an activity that you look forward to doing. Don’t force yourself into an exercise you hate. If you hate running or Zumba, don’t do it. Find your happy place, whether it be a basketball court or a yoga mat, and commit to that at least three times a week.
- Watch cartoons.
- Adult cartoons or kid cartoons. Sit back, relax, and laugh. Life isn’t that serious.
- Go somewhere new once a year.
- Explore. This doesn’t mean you have to get a passport. Most people haven’t seen major tourist attractions near them. Seriously though – the number of people I know in Arizona who have never been to the Grand Canyon is astounding.
- Love fiercely.
- Your new love is not your old love. They will not hurt you the same – nor will they love you the same. No love is the same. So, love fiercely and fearlessly.
- Embrace empathy.
- To be successful in every relationship in your life, whether it’s romantic, professional, or a chance meeting on the subway, you must practice empathy. Everyone’s life has its own challenges. Be sensitive to others’ struggles and be kind.
- Save money.
- Set up automatic transfers on your accounts or stow away a $5 bill a week. Whatever you have to do. No amount is too small.
- Buy expensive sheets.
- Your bed is your sanctuary and a good night’s sleep is key to your health. Buy sheets that make you feel like you’re in heaven.
- Go outside.
- Take a walk during lunch or during a call where you don’t need your computer. Read a book or cruise social media on your patio. Go to a farmer’s market. Spend time outside whenever you can. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
- Make time to read.
- A magazine, a biography, a bodice ripper. Whatever floats your boat. Read for fun or read for work. Read whatever feeds your current passion and interests right now. No one is interested in just ONE thing. Pick up a trade magazine about your favorite hobby or read a personal development book about how to be the best in your field. Just read.
- Drop the word “busy”.
- Being “busy” is the new status symbol and it’s a total joke. Everyone is busy – it doesn’t make you special. When people ask how you’re doing, never, ever use the word busy. That doesn’t give anyone a true gauge on how you are and sounds like you’re either complaining or bragging. Be real with others and yourself. Pick a different word.
- Be brave.
- Try new things and things that scare you. Take the leap. No one else is going to do it for you and in most situations, preparation is never as important as the decision to try. Go for it.
- Stop with the “too cool for school” act.
- By age 30, you should just join in. Hawaiian shirt day at work? Get one and enjoy the tropical feel. No booze at the event? Don’t sneak it in because that’s what the “cool kids” would do. Enjoy being with people and what’s happening in the moment.
- Make a career plan.
- I hate answering the question “Where do you see yourself in five years?” just as much as the next person. However, having a career plan (or at a minimum, a vision) is essential to making sure you aren’t spinning your wheels every day.
- Give the gift of time.
- Not all gifts can be wrapped up in a bow. Spend quality time with those you love. Often, that’s all they want.
- Take the adventures.
- Drive somewhere new. Pause to watch the street show. Take the free tickets. When life gives you an adventure, take it.
- Be authentic.
- Don’t embellish details about yourself. Don’t misrepresent yourself. Be honest about your interests, your talents, and your feelings.
- Don’t lie.
- Come on. If you’re still doing this at 30, you really need to dig deep about why. Live with integrity and accountability.
- Stay on schedule.
- Punctuality is a form of good manners. Don’t waste the time of others. You don’t know what their time is worth and you don’t get to decide that value either.
- Feel your feelings.
- Dude, just cry already.
- Live for laughter.
- There’s humor in every situation, even if it’s pure irony. Laugh.
That’s it. That’s all I got. Just kidding… I could go on for days.
What would you add to the list?