30 Lessons I Learned in My 30th Year

I’ve always been a sucker for life lessons and reflections. I try to devote conscious attention to what I’m grateful for in my life, as well as the lessons I’ve learned and the work I need to continue doing. As someone who grew up with minimal direction and structure, I made it a point to seek out wisdom from other people who had experienced more than I had: more life, more success, more whatever-it-was. If someone ever has a life lesson learned and wants to share his/her/their wisdom, I’m more than happy to listen. 

I try to be attentive to the personal lessons that life serves me, and I enjoy reflecting on the ways I’ve grown and changed with each passing year. I turned thirty one this year, so I thought about all that I experienced and learned throughout the year prior. 

A few weeks before my 30th birthday

My thirtieth year was an odd one. It began a few months deep into COVID19 quarantines and it was filled with isolation, a ton of work, chaos, an unexpected state move, sacrifice, and immense change. It was also filled with a lot of family love, support from our friends, personal growth, bonding, and inspiration. Overall, I learned a lot and have so much to be grateful for. 

I gotta be honest: this blog post is more for me than you. I wanted to document the life lessons I learned in my 30th year around the sun and record it here so that I have something to look back on. If you’re interested in my personal life lessons, or if you love unsolicited advice like me, then read on. Otherwise, I love you, you’re beautiful, and have a nice evening. 

Here are 30 lessons I learned in my 30th year of life: 

#1- Learn to love people for who they are instead of who you wish they were. 

#2- Prioritize people who make time for you instead of people who only see you when they have time. Understand the difference. Make time for the people who are important to you, too. 

#3- No employer will ever give a fuck about you and your family the way that you do. Do everything you can to employ yourself, even if you start out small. 

Our little family; they mean the world to me!

#4- Have multiple streams of income, always. Even small streams are helpful and can become larger streams later, if and when needed.

#5- You’ll never live an outstanding life without taking risks. Make yours calculated, but take them nonetheless. 

#6- The majority of all people have experienced some sort of trauma in their lives and have not fully– if at all– healed from it. Apply this context and practice forgiveness and compassion.

#7- Chasing your dreams and doing something you love for less money is far more valuable to your life than being miserable in a job you hate. 

#8- Tell people you love them openly and often, even if it’s weird or awkward or they don’t say it back.

#9- You can tell how much someone loves you by how much they love your child(ren). 

a mother kissing her son on the cheek
My sonshine, my world!

#10- Ignore what people say; pay attention to what they do. Body language, choices, actions, and behaviors will always communicate more authentically than verbal conversation.

#11- Create as much as you can: food, media content, art, whatever it may be. Your creations are incredible time-stamps of who you are throughout your life. These expressions are gifts to our society. 

#12- Practice gardening, cooking, and baking; they will always be useful skills. 

#13- There really is nothing more powerful than community. People can do incredible things when they come together. 

#14- Pay attention to the difference in what people say to your face versus how they talk about you when you aren’t around. I’ve learned the hard way that the latter is always more revealing of someone’s true feelings. For example, how do your friends portray you to the new people who enter their lives? Do they emphasize your best qualities, or your worst? If a friend claims to be your biggest supporter but then trashes you to the other people in his/her life, then it may be time to re-evaluate your friendship. 

#15- Support small businesses, always.

a woman eating spaghetti
Take out from Red Gravy in Colorado Springs, CO, an awesome small biz.

#16- Be accountable, always. Apologize often and mean it. We all make mistakes; they do not define you or make you a bad person. Own up, genuinely apologize, make it right, try your best to repeat your mistake, and then move on. 

#17- Worrying accomplishes nothing besides ruining your own time. We control nothing. Just enjoy yourself. 

#18- Minimize the clutter in your life. You really do not need as much clothing, accessories, makeup, toys, or any other crap as you may think you do. 

#19- Spend more time outside. At least an hour per day if possible. Being outside literally makes us happier. It’s science!

#20- Stop being on your phone when friends and loved ones are around. I became really conscious about breaking this bad habit after spending time with a friend who NEVER used her phone when she and I hung out. I realized how much more valuable she made me feel, and how foolish and rude it is to aimlessly scroll when friends and loved ones– who are offering time we will never get back– are with us. Experiencing COVID19 solidified the importance of being present and embracing any quality time you have with the people in your life. Scrolling through social media should never be more of a priority than spending time with friends and family. 

#21- Drink the damn water and WEAR THE DAMN SUNSCREEN. Every day. 

mother and son outside in summer
In motion outside in the 95-degree heat. SUNSCREEN!

#22- Exercise every single day, even if just for 10 minutes. Make it a permanent, consistent part of your lifestyle. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain in doing so.

#23- Chit-chat with strangers more. As an introvert, I struggle to small-talk with people I don’t know, but I’ve only just realized how important and uplifting it is. If more of us chatted with one another, maybe we’d feel more connected and realize how similar we all are. 

#24- Read more books. I read more in my 30th year, and it made my heart so happy. I felt less anxious, I felt like I got more “me time,” even if I only read for 20 minutes or so, and I felt like my mind was clearer. So many stories are at our fingertips, and I want to remember to make reading more of a priority in my life again.

#25- Take really good care of your teeth! Dental work is no joke, and dental health is so incredibly important to your overall health. I never really realized how much bad teeth can create so many other health issues for people. I really just thought about cavities, root canals, and whatever else common dental issues we’ve all heard of. Now that I’m getting older, I see people around me facing major dental issues and it has really opened my eyes to the significance of comprehensive, consistent, high-quality dental hygiene!

#26- There are few things more important and impactful than getting involved in your community. Learn about your local community’s history and shortcomings, do what you can to help out, volunteer, get to know your neighbors, offer a helping hand when you can, and create positive change. If we all did this in our respective communities, how much better would our world be?

Making lasagnas for our local St. Louis community through Lasagna Love.

#27- Your grass will be green if you water it. 

#28- Compliment people as often as you can. Even the simplest kind words can make a huge difference in someone’s life. 

#29- Send your friends and family a quick text or voice note the moment they pop into your brain. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than: “Hey, just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you and that I love you. I hope you have a wonderful day!” Especially after COVID19, I realized how important it is to reach out when you can, and how much more loved I felt when people reached out to me. 

#30- Commit to lifelong learning. There are so many incredible, interesting, fun, hands-on, unique, creative things out there, waiting for you to explore. Learning anything– a new skill, new information, a new recipe– is purely beneficial. Continue to expand your knowledge and skills for the duration of your life. 

Phew, that’s a lot! From relationships, to self-growth, to more practical life lessons, my 30th year certainly served me a lot of wisdom and experience. I’m grateful for all of these life lessons, even the ones that were difficult to learn. Here’s to the year ahead of me. May more learning and transformation commence!