Hi friends! As the title indicates, TODAY’S MY BIRTHDAY! I turn the big 3-0 and I’m spending it hanging with my best friend doing the things I enjoy.
Turning 30 is kind of scary and I’m not saying that because aging sucks physiologically (it does) or for superficial reasons. It’s scary because of time. Time seems to be moving so quickly and I’m afraid of missed opportunities and regrets. I’m afraid my dreams will slip away.
Growing up, I never quite pictured what my life would look like at 30. The only thing I dreamed of was freedom to make my own choices and naps during lunch break (I really love napping). I didn’t aspire to be like anyone because I didn’t have that. I’ve just been figuring it out as I go and hoping it all works out. So, I’m kind of approaching this decade similarly.
To reflect on turning 30, I started compiling a list of things I’ve learned back in June. Now I can finally share that list with all of you. I’ve always done my best to keep it real on this blog so this post is no exception. It’s honest and transparent. I hope what I’ve learned encourages you in some small way.
1. Be yourself and don’t try to mold yourself into who you think other people want you to be.
It took me 27 years to get to that point, but when I did, I felt liberated. I was such a people pleaser.
2. Surround yourself with a few friends you trust wholeheartedly and be transparent with them.
It’s not possible to go deep with everyone, but it helps a ton to have someone you can fully be yourself with and someone who knows the good, the bad, and the ugly. It also helps to have someone who will call you out when you are in the wrong because they know you so well.
3. College is a scam.
Not really. But it’s quite expensive and definitely not for everyone. *whispers* and it’s also a scam
4. It’s okay to be where you are in life.
A few years ago, I had a breakdown in a grocery parking lot because I was unhappy with where I was in my life. That breakdown was brought on because I hated my job, but also because I compared my life to my friends. They went off to grad school right after undergrad while I took time off. Trust me, don’t compare your life and your accomplishments to other people.
5. Self-care is important.
I’m not talking about self-care where you spend money on lavish things like massages, manicures, or retail therapy. Those activities are great and I encourage everyone to do the things they love like reading a book, listening to music, journaling, etc. What I’m really talking about here is saying no when you feel you’ve stretched yourself too thin, sleeping for 8 hours, exercising, removing unhealthy people from your life. It’s difficult at first, but the people who love you will understand. If they don’t, you need to examine that relationship.
6. Google is free. Please please please use it. Research every single thing you don’t know and even the things you think you know.
7. Pay attention to the relationships that drain you.
It’s important to make note of this. Because sometimes your mental health will depend on it because giving 100% of yourself to someone can be draining.
8. Therapy is helpful (and it should be free). It’ll take time to find the right therapist though.
9. Don’t compromise your values or feel like you have to settle for someone to avoid loneliness
10. Laugh. Laugh. Laugh.
“And that’s how you go on. You lay laughter over the dark parts. The more dark parts, the more you have to laugh. With defiance, with abandon, with hysteria, any way you can.” – Strange the Dreamer, Laini Taylor
11. Life is short. Don’t read books you don’t enjoy.
12. There’s so much going on in the world and it can be overwhelming to think about.
Find the causes that move you and passionately support them with your time and money.
13. If you haven’t used it, worn it, or picked it up in a year, you probably won’t. Donate it.
14. Don’t be afraid to be direct and firm.
Women get a bad rap (especially black women) for being assertive, but don’t let that stop you from being firm when the situation calls for it.
15. You can’t be all things to all people.
16. Your family’s “crisis” (the ones brought on by poor decision-making) is not your crisis.
It took 29 years for me to learn that I can’t drop everything for my family.
Learn how to genuinely apologize and get comfortable doing that because you won’t always be right.
18. Friendship break-ups happen.
Sometimes it’s your fault. Sometimes, it’s the other person’s. Other times, it’s just two people naturally growing apart. Regardless, you will get through it.
19. I’ll probably spend the rest of my life recovering from my childhood.
I didn’t realize how much my upbringing made me into this fearful, timid person who doesn’t trust easily and suppresses emotions until a few years ago. I’m still working through that.
20. Learn to say no.
21. There’s a difference between being nice and being kind. Be kind.
22. If at all possible, invest in a quality bedding.
23. Natural hair is a lot of work.
24. Be kind to yourself.
25. Don’t take great friendships for granted.
Great friendships require work so be ready to put in the work.
26. Celebrate the small victories.
This is something that I often remind my best friend. Life is fucking hard, we have to celebrate the small victories.
27. At some point, one or both of your parents will disappoint you.
28. Your voice matters.
Don’t let anyone silence your voice and don’t be afraid to speak up. Use your voice to advocate for yourself and others.
29. Don’t wait for a new month or new year to start working on your goals.
30. Wings without fries is incomplete. Always get fries.