30 Things I've Learned in 30 Years

I planned on writing this in December, but April will suffice.

30 was big for me. Through my 20's my birthdays came and went happily, without much attachment to my age. But 30 hit harder, and I’ve been reflecting on my last chapter. So, in typical blogging style, it’s time to put some of my life lessons on paper (err page?).

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1. Manifestation is real and powerful.

I’ve believed things to be true with such ferocity, that I have manifested them. I have fed myself repetitive rhetoric, and the world upheld them (good OR bad). You have to experience it for yourself, but you’ve likely seen it in others. It can be as simple as thinking you’re clumsy. You continuously verbalize that you’re clumsy, it might be funny, but you’ll likely make this a reality. So be mindful of what you manifest.

2. I’m still the worst traveler. 

No matter how long I’ve been traveling, or how many countries I’ve visited, I still get on the wrong train (Lyon is NOT the same as Lyon Station, which is located in Paris) and I still apply for the wrong visas (a 4-week Indian visa doesn’t really work when your trip is 5 weeks long). No matter how seasoned you are at something, you’ll still make mistakes. (Oh shit, am I manifesting myself being a bad traveler by having this mindset!? This is all too meta right now…)

3. You absorb more as a child than you realize.

There are probably words and phrases you use that are clearly from your parents. Then there is the deeper stuff that will take longer to realize. These might be great habits you’ve formed, or not so great ones… Recognizing why you do the things you do can help you change your actions.

4. Your mindset towards food determines your body’s relationship with food.

There was a study done about French vs American’s food/diet in relation to their weight/physical health. They did a word association with both groups with the word ‘chocolate cake’. Americans associated it with ‘guilt’, whereas the French associated it with ‘celebration’. To think that our minds and bodies aren't connected in a deeper way, is missing the bigger picture.

5. Not every day can be awesome.

This sounds silly and obvious, but when I was 19, this was the biggest revelation of my life. The first few months of college were an absolute high (so was all of college, lets be honest), but when I started to have mediocre days, I got really frustrated. Why wasn’t everything continuously great?! All it took was a friend saying, “Not every day can be awesome. It’s not realistic.” You need some mediocre days to balance out the awesome days.

6. Letting go of friends in natural and necessary.

I’d heard this a handful of times during my 20s. I thought it was so blatantly obvious, that it didn't resonate with me. It wasn't until I had to let people out of my life, that I fully understood the weight of it. It will be hard, you will be sad and you'll question yourself.

7. Being independent is still my jam.

I never liked going to the bathroom with a group of girls during middle school. This is when I knew I was not a group-oriented person. I love being married, and we do a lot together, but deep down I'm still a solo chia.

8. Quitting a job is hard.

Even when you know it's the right thing to do, it will suck. Disappointing a boss you really like, or letting go a comfortable lifestyle will make doing the 'right thing' so much harder. 

9. You can only bounce as high as you have hit low. 

The harder you throw a bouncy ball, the higher it will bounce. This is also true in life. The lower you hit, the higher you will bounce. And it’s always in proportion. You can't just tap the floor and expect a big bounce. So when something shitty happens, don’t worry - something magical is on it's way.

10. People aren’t black and white.

There is so much grey area, and I didn’t always see people this way. When I was younger, if someone did something that I didn’t agree with, I’d write them off entirely. Now I know people are complicated, and you can have close friends who do things you don’t agree with. It doesn’t make them any less of a friend or human.

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11. Only people below you will put you down.

This was a quote I saw just recently and I immediately related it to leaving the USA. I had some people put me down, but they were always people who hadn't traveled, or lived abroad, or left the 'normal' in any way. Think about who's put you down recently? And then think of who has encouraged you? It will reveal a lot about those people and their intention behind their comments.

12. It’s always better to do the dishes in the evening.

Don’t wait until the morning or the next day. Just don’t.

13. You are insanely adaptable, if you allow yourself to be.

Humans cling to comfort, familiarity and sameness. If only we put ourselves in hard situations purposely, we would realize how adaptable we are. We see it in children, and it’s innately in us. Society has just programed us to enjoy the routine. Break free. You’ll be uncomfortable, but before you know it, you’ll be doing things you never thought you could.

14. Sunshine is key to happiness.

If you disagree, please come forward now.

15. You don’t have to fit into one category or niche.

This was something I learned soon after college, and am still re-learning as my identity and associations continuously shift. You don’t have to be just the OU Dance Team girl or the camp girl. You can be a unique blend of all the things you are.

16. Living alone is an important self-learning experience.

Before you settle down with someone for good, be sure to live alone for a while. I had my own studio apartment for 10 months, and I still have so much pride for that little place. It was really, truly mine, and the freedom of not being judged or held accountable by anyone’s expectations is absolutely freeing. It may also lead you to calling in sick to work (when you’re not), renting a Justin Bieber movie, and watching it while you devour ice cream and IPAs on the couch. And it will be awesome.

17. You can only connect the dots going backwards.

Do you have that one story you tell yourself and others about how you go to where you are? If I hadn't met this person, I wouldn't have done this, which wouldn't have led me to this place, and then I would have never met my husband! Life's really magical when you can see how the dots connect. You can't see how they'll connect going forward, but know that they will be just as magical.

18. Camping prepared me for a lot of things in life.

If you can camp, like proper backcountry camping - dig a hole to poop in, pack out all your food, not shower for two weeks - you will be prepared for a lot of things life throws your way. Like that time we moved into our house and didn't have a functioning shower for 5 days? Ain’t no thang.

19. Speculoos is the greatest thing the US is missing.

Honestly, the US might have it now. It's like gingerbread flavor in peanut butter consistency. HEAVEN.

20. Your early 20’s are magical.

I have a feeling that I won’t experience life with the same open heart and soul that I did in my early 20s. Embrace that time. It's neither silly nor frivolous. It’s an important time for learning and growing. And if you are open, you will grow by leaps and bounds, with hopefully some good stories to tell afterwards.

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21. Alcoholism is normalized in society.

This was most prevalent as my friends and I transitioned from college to work life. Suddenly, old drinking habits were now alcoholism. Society has a lot of work to do on this front, but take the time to consider if having a few drinks every evening is actually a healthy relationship with alcohol. 

22. Burn your bridges.

If a bridge is crumbling, let it go. Hanging on will not serve people on either side of the structure. Move forward.

23. You still need your mom.

Even if you're miles away, your mom will still help you navigate life (even with the boring stuff like mailing me things all the time). 

24. Hitch hiking across Europe is hilarious, exhilarating and scary.

Probably one of my favorite travel stories was that time Reilly and I hitchhiked from Gent, Belgium to Warsaw, Poland. Let me just say, it got more and more gnarly the further east we went. A story for another day… (P.S. Before you TOTALLY freak out, hitchhiking in Europe is much more commonplace than in the US. I do it often around where I live.)

25. Do something that forces you to question your beliefs and your mindset.

For me, that was traveling and living abroad. It’s brought up uncomfortable thoughts about myself and my home country. Find that thing that pushes you out of your comfort zone. You'll learn something.

26. Everything is preparing you for something else.

You'll see, eventually. Just trust that everything will come in handy at a later date.

27. Live music is good for your soul.

Spend the time and money going to festivals, concerts & gigs. You never regret seeing someone play live, and it will uplift your soul to be near music.

28. You will get burned by others, but don’t let it crush your optimism. 

It’s a part of life. You will be at the receiving end of shit. It has nothing to do with you. It’s the other person's issues and experience that you just happen to be in the way of. Accept it. Let it pass. But don't let it kill your optimistic view of the world. Because generally, people mean well and are good people. You can't waste your energy living any other way.

29. Your confirmation bias will continuously reaffirm what you believe.

Our brain is wired to default to confirmation bias. We seek out things that confirm what we already believe because it feels good. So make sure you believe in things that serve you.

30. Don’t take life too seriously.

I’m not always great at this one. I’ve previously been surrounded by people who took life too seriously. Now I'm a little free from that, I'm teaching myself how to be playful and silly. You create your own reality. Make it a fun one.