Life Lessons from Thirty (One) Years


It sounds so old, doesn’t it? I guess it depends on where you are in life and what number year you’re living in. I’m living in 31 now, and 30 sounds old.

And yet, it doesn’t.

The important life lessons I've learned in thirty (one) years. //

Here’s a brief (??) history of me and ages:

  • Newborn to 9 were filled with magic & pure bliss (and I’m not looking at those years through rose-colored glasses at all 😉).
  • At age 9 I was forced to move and was so angry.
  • I got through that, but entered the middle school years. I shudder just thinking of them.
  • And then I entered high school and it wasn’t that bad for me. Probably because for two years my social life consisted of hanging out in stables with a family friend (who’s like an older sister to me) and her horses.
  • At 18 I was an adult. 🎉
  • 19 was the best year ever.
  • I was terrified to turn 20. (Just ask my friends! 🙈) And 20 was kinda rough.
  • 25 was surreal. A quarter of a century! Definitely an adult now.
  • At 26 I was terrified that I was 28.
  • At 27 I was terrified that I was 28.
  • At 28 I couldn’t remember how old I was, but it wasn’t so bad.
  • At 29 I ignored that I was about to turn 30.
  • At 30 I realized a few things… (we’ll get to those in a moment). Also: I realized I’m a ways into this adult thing.
  • And now, at 31, I still think I’m 30. You know what they say, it’s all about how you feel. And, TBH, I feel like I’m in my late 20s.

So here’s the thing about turning 30: it kinda rocks. In fact, being in my 30s might rival being 19. Maybe it’s a little too early to make that analysis since I’m only one full year into the decade, but so far I’m loving it. Here’s why:

1 // I’m so much more confident in who I am. Yes, I’m weird. Who isn’t? I don’t feel a need to hide that anymore. I’ve realized who I am and that feels amazing. I talked to a friend about this recently and she said, “Yes! Even with the mess my life is right now, I am so much more confident in who I am.” I think that’s the key thing: my life isn’t perfect, but I’m confident in who I am and that helps me handle the messiness that life brings without questioning and doubting everything. Because, let’s face it. Life is always going to be messy. I want to be able to handle the mess when it comes. Does that mean I always handle it with grace and free from anxiety? Heck, no! And yes, sometimes those questions and doubts creep up. But I process all of those feelings faster and I know I’ll get through it.

2 // I don’t let other people’s ish drag me down. Here’s what I mean: if I genuinely offend someone, I want to have a conversation about it. I want to know what I said or did so that I don’t do that again. But sometimes people just have bad attitudes and they can direct those attitudes toward someone else. Sometimes people see someone in a certain way and that’s not how that person is at all. When these types of ideas, opinions, and attitudes are directed at me, I just shrug it off. (Okay, sometimes I have an eye roll moment and then I shrug it off.) Because those ideas, opinions, and attitudes reflect more on the person who has them than on me. I know who I am, I know what my strengths are, I know what my weaknesses are. I know that I’m not perfect, but I also know that my imperfections and my weaknesses don’t make me inferior to other people, just like other people’s imperfections and weaknesses don’t make them inferior to me. This could probably be a sub-point to #1, because I think it all goes back to that confidence thing. But this is also something that I feel is important and has been so beneficial to me recently, so it needs to be its own category. There was a time when I let the attitudes and opinions of others drag me down and sometimes it does. Now, when it does, I catch on and remind myself: it’s not about me, it’s about them.

[Tweet “Note to self: other people’s bad attitudes are not a reflection on me.”]

3 // You feel aging in your body earlier than you anticipate. I’ve had conversations about this with everyone I know who’s in their 30s. Sometimes you wake up and have a crick in your back, your joints start to crack a little more than they used to. Our bodies are not indestructible. So maybe it’s not good to lie on the floor to write for hours. Proper posture makes a difference.

The important life lessons I've learned in thirty (one) years. //

(PS: Not my pup in the picture above, Little One is still an only dog. That’s my sister’s dog Tino on my 30th birthday.)

4 // I don’t have life figured out and that’s okay. When I turned 25 and “was definitely an adult” I was surprised that I didn’t have everything figured out. I have goals I’d like to achieve, but if someone were to say, “What will your life look like in five years?” my answer would be, “I don’t know.” “Where will you be in five years?” I don’t know. “What do you want your life to look like in five years?” Well, it would be cool if this, this and this happened, but… my answer to that question a year ago would have been different than my answer to that question today. There are some consistencies to it, but there also some major differences. I was the girl who, in high school, had my life through retirement planned, so this whole not knowing exactly what I want my life to look like in five years thing took some getting used to. If you had told 18-year-old me that at 31 I’d be where I am at this moment, I would have laughed at you. But now that I’m here, it’s not a bad place to be. In fact, I kinda like it. Most of the time, at least. 😂

5 // Life can be exhausting, but it’s also so, so good. And you need to hold onto that. I’ll be honest with you: I’m exhausted. At the end of the school year I left the job I had been working at for a couple of different things. They all feel a bit nebulous right now, but one thing is for sure: I needed to leave the job I was in. It wasn’t a good place for me anymore and, even more than that, I was exhausted. A hectic and demanding job along with pursuing my own creative goals left me exhausted and I watched as my ambition and my passion slowly drained. Last week I had coffee with a friend and a fellow writer and we talked about how we looked back on our younger selves when we were so full of passion and inspiration. We wonder where that passion and inspiration went. Between the demands and life and, let’s face it, the state of the world, life is exhausting.

But there’s also so much good in it. We live in a beautiful world and there’s so much good to be found, even in darker times. We need to look for those things when we’re feeling beaten down, when we’re exhausted.

[Tweet “We live in a beautiful world and there’s so much good to be found, even in darker times.”]

6 // We need to be intentional. That lack of passion and inspiration thing? I’m not okay with it. The girl who was always thinking of story ideas, who was always so excited to write them down, the girl who lived to blog? I miss that part of me. I miss the girl who could get lost in a book for hours, who thought the perfect weekend was one spent with paints and drawing pencils scattered around. So I decided: instead of missing her, I’m going to bring her back. She’s still in me, I just need to pull her back out.

That’s what I mean by being intentional. We need to intentionally hold onto the things we love the most. For me, that means turning a room into my creative oasis. I want to turn it into a place that inspires me just by being in it. I’m returning to the things that have always inspired me to write. I’m giving myself permission to get lost in books again, because books are like fuel. And I’m scheduling in time to write. One of the things I think of as beautiful is the written word and the stories and worlds that are created with them, so I’m intentionally bringing that passion and motivation back into my life.

[Tweet “We need to intentionally hold onto the things we love the most.”]

What life lessons have you learned?

[Tweet “Life lessons from thirty (one) years.”]

The important life lessons I've learned in thirty (one) years. //

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  • Reply
    Shannon Paige
    June 27, 2017 at 11:17 am

    I feel like I will be the same way with being more confident in my 30s but I don’t want to have to wait that long! I’ll be 26 in august and still struggle with way too much anxiety, self questioning, and doubting myself. Always working on it but feel like it’s a constant uphill battle! *

  • Reply
    Mia Sutton
    June 27, 2017 at 11:31 am

    I love this post. I’m 34 and I still don’t have life figured out either. I think we’re all work in progresses, learning as we go each day. 🙂 I also love what you said in #2 – about other people’s attitudes. I feel the same way. No drama llamas. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jelena Milosavljević
    June 27, 2017 at 11:52 am

    I agree with number one so much, confidence definitely grows with age.

  • Reply
    June 27, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Awww, I loved this 🙂 And also getting to know you a bit better. The confidence thing definitely comes with age. Also, I totally did that once. I don’t remember where I was but a waiter asked my age and I randomly blurted out the wrong number. My brother (bless his heart) was at the table and goes, “WHY DID YOU JUST LIE?! You’re totally three years older than that.” I literally forgot my age for a hot minute there, LOL!!

    Anyway, I used to sweat the small stuff, and I’ve also realized how precious this all is. <3 <3 <3 PS: 38 over here, and I ain't got my ish figured out either. WHEE!!

  • Reply
    Maryanne @the little epicurean
    June 27, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    Loved this post! I’m turning 32 in a couple weeks. After 30, I’ve stopped counting and worrying about the number. So far, the 30s are turning out to be more fun than my 20s!

  • Reply
    Rachel @ STCL
    June 27, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    Great post! I just turned 27 and so many of these resonate with me – especially the not having life figured out one. And the best part is, nobody does! There’s no roadmap to the craziness of life 🙂

  • Reply
    June 28, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Such good lessons! And I had to laugh, I just turned 28 and for the past year I have always forgotten my age! lol

  • Reply
    Jessica Bradshaw
    June 29, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    I love this! I agree, although I have always wanted to be thirty. I love that I feel more confident, agree that we need to be more intentional, and see random things that happen to my body I wasn’t quite ready for.

  • Reply
    Lindsay Satmary
    July 2, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    I relate to so much of this! I always thought 30 was so old. I just turned 32 and I’m remembering days out shopping with my friends at Forever 21. And now we’re a DECADE too old for that store. Crazy! From my experience, I think “real” adulthood starts at age 29. And I also agree that my 30’s will probably be the best years of my life!

  • Reply
    Melissa Javan
    July 3, 2017 at 11:56 am

    I’m loving your lessons – I also turned 30 this year 🙂

  • Reply
    Kenyatta Harris
    July 3, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    30 isn’t so bad…I’m heading closer to 40 now, but I love my almost 40 year-old-self, so much more than my almost 30 year old self.

  • Reply
    July 3, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    I love number 5! Life can be exhausting but it’s important to remember to still have fun with it!

  • Reply
    July 3, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    I’m turning 30 in a few months. This was very relatable!

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