Honestly, 31 is a little anti-climactic. You’re no longer celebrating #dirty30 a year after the main event. The birthday itself feels a little ordinary. Maybe you feel a little more comfortable in your skin. You’ve spent a lot of your 20’s figuring things out (not to say that there will ever be a time where you have figured everything out), but you may be just a tad bit more settled. I don’t take settled to mean ‘happily married, with a good job, with a house, a dog, and a kid on the way’ but rather settled in your own skin. You know a little bit more about who you are. Your 20’s feel like a period of time where you’re off to define it yourself, whereas your 30’s feel more of a time where you contemplate why you do things the way you do, and what makes you innately you. (You also spend a lot of time in the self-help section at the book store, trying to be a better version of you who are)
The night before you entire that third decade, you start to think, I’m in my 30’s now- I’m an adult. (I promise you, that does not make it true…) When I woke up that day, I had a slight feeling of “wow, I’m getting older” “life just seems more serious” “Oh MY GOD, did I do everything the way I supposed to do it?” The existential crisis is thankfully momentary, but my 30th birthday was the first birthday where I actually felt a little different.
Now that I’ve experienced this new decade for the last year, I wanted to share some revelations that have taken 30 years to understand. There’s a difference between reading these things and truly realizing it for yourself. It’s a moment when you acknowledge these realizations as truth, even though you probably heard them from someone else before… but that’s JUST not the same thing. Equivalent to you realizing that your days of staying awake past midnight are long gone versus when your parents would harp on you to get rest.
*Your stress is precious and you don’t have time to be bothered as much by what other people think. By other people, I mean people that don’t deserve the privilege of my time. That person who walked down the hall and gave you the stank-eye- yea, not your problem. That co-worker that made a snarky comment- NOT YOUR PROBLEM. At the end of the day, many of us stress about situations that are not even entirely ours to stress over. I admit that I am nowhere near the level of ‘not bothered’ as I would want to be, but I think I do a better job of letting go.
*Your time is precious. Now that you have completed about a third of the average human life-span, you just don’t have time for nonsense. I know, it sounds a bit morbid, but when you realize that you really don’t have forever, you will value it more. I think that this takes a long time to understand, enact, and live by. Again, I have not perfected this, I’ve just learned to take that ticking clock to heart.
*Free time seems to revolve a little bit more around self-improvement. I mentioned this above and it is SO TRUE. I can’t tell you the last time I picked up a fictional book. NOPE- it’s been more about how to improve your sleep, how to meditate, how to not stress, how to, how to, how to…. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! I think it just comes with the times. However, I also think there should be a certain level of balance between ‘fixing ourselves’ and just learning to be better versions of ourselves!
*If you truly want something, the best thing to do to attain it, is to just DO IT. Many of us are guilty of spending 85% of our time in the contemplation phase rather the action phase…
*Don’t ignore your feelings. Our 20’s can seem a little volatile. We feel a lot and we act on them without much thought. We live in a reactionary world, one where many actions can also have little consequence (i.e. social media). But when you take the time to sit down and work through your feelings- which I guarantee is NOT fun- you may discover the root cause of those feelings, and- EVEN BETTER- find a real solution for it!
I know, I’m just to mature for my own good. Trust me, these words of wisdom were not only written to share, but for my own reminder when I don’t act accordingly. At the end of the day, we should always be striving to be better and to be learning. Whether you’re learning to be better or learning more about yourself, put yourself out there and grow! We’re not supposed to have it all figured out, not even in our 30’s!