30 is seen as a milestone. Naturally. You’re entering a new decade, leaving your childish 20s behind and starting a new chapter. However, for me, 30 wasn’t the biggest deal – I welcomed it with open arms, itching to put my 20s behind me and start this new decade of my life. Everything had stayed the same from 29-30 – my apartment, job, relationships, I didn’t feel like I was entering any big new place with my life (which at the time I found a lot of comfort in).
But as I’m celebrating turning 31 this month, a lot of things feel very different. I’ve learned a multitude of lessons about myself and life in the past year. More than I think I learned in the last 2 years of my 20s. Here are a few things I’ve learned:
- You shouldn’t be anywhere. Just because you’re 30 (or 31) doesn’t mean you should be married, have kids, have a career. It truthfully doesn’t mean anything. It’s your path and journey, and if it takes you 10 years longer to figure out than it did for the person next to you, that’s ok.
- You are your only source for happiness. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn. As a natural caretaker, it’s so easy for me to get wrapped up in making sure the people around me are happy, their happiness makes me happy. But at the end of the day, I’m really the only one that has any control of my happiness.
- The Universe has your back. I’m a type-a control freak, I want to know the outcomes of my situations, I want to ensure that my future is taken care of, and I hate surprises. But in the past year, I’ve really given up that controlling part of myself, realizing that regardless of the bad times I encounter, the universe is going to have my back, she’s going to find a way for things to be right in the end. And if they aren’t right? Well, then it’s simply not the end.
- The power of the mind is an incredible thing. As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my life, I wallowed in it for so long. It wasn’t until I made the ardent choice to change my mindset that I’ve been able to manage it with ease (I’ll be writing a longer detailed post on this in the future).
- It really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
- Find your passion. It doesn’t matter how much money you make, or if you have a sense of security. If you are lucky enough to be able to find your passion and pursue it, you’d better be doing that. For so long I pushed all my passions aside for a career I thought I should be in. And guess what? I was miserable….of course.
- Self awareness is sexy. We all have these impressions of ourselves which we want to believe, but when we remove the guise of who we think we are and start to examine who we really are, that’s when the breakthroughs happen. This past year I’ve realized I can be an emotional terrorist, dramatic, and a total bitch. But guess what? Now that I’m aware of those behaviors, I can finally start to deal with them.
- Feeling your emotions and dealing with them are powerful things. In our society, we’re taught that we should compartmentalize our lives, bury our emotions, and put on a happy face. Now I’m not saying to let the bad times affect every single aspect of your life, but it’s ok to feel them. It’s ok to deal with them, in fact, it’s healthy to.
- It is ok to ask for help. Every day. Always. We can’t do it on our own. We need our mentors, we need our tribe, we need our families (biological or not). And sometimes we need the help of a professional because it’s just too much on our own. This is ok, there is nothing shameful in it, it shows strength to recognize that it’s not always easy to keep it all together on your own.
Truthfully, I could go on and on about the life lessons I’ve learned in the past year. Things I was afraid to confront in my 20s, things I’m still afraid to confront head on. I love the idea that people are a constant work in progress, all we can do is try our best and keep going.
As much as I had wished I would’ve realized all of this earlier in my life (god that would’ve made things so much easier), I’m welcoming 31 with open arms. I can’t wait to see what the next year of my life brings, and regardless of whether I experience super high highs or super low lows, I know that at the end of the day, I’m fortunate for so many things, and that I’ll continue to grow and learn, and that if things aren’t good in the end, it’s not the end.