I recently turned 31, and this year’s birthday inspired me to take a look back at the first year of my 30’s. I know a lot of people dread turning 30, but I don’t really have any issues with getting older. For me, turning 30 was the age where I started feeling like an adult.
Here are 30 things that I think everyone should know by the time they are 30. Some of them are still works in progress for me, but who isn’t a work in progress?? Take these tidbits in context, because if you don’t know me, I am married with no children but have three fabulous puppies and a hectic work schedule. Here are things to do, things to remember and things to make you think while you are 30-something.
THIS IS 30-SOMETHING.
1. DRINK LOTS OF WATER – I am a firm believer that water can fix many issues. A tall glass of iced water or a hot shower can make you feel like a whole new person. There is a reason water is essential to living, so drink up!
2. ALWAYS TAKE OFF YOUR MAKEUP – I hope that you have found this out before 30, but this is a no-brainer. I have no scientific evidence to back this up, but I feel like I can attribute my clear skin to 15 years of not sleeping in my makeup. Skincare becomes more and more important each year of your life (and also more expensive).
3. KNOW YOUR FINANCES – The status of this tip is in a constant state of ‘in progress’ for me. Set a budget, have a savings, and know where your money is going. Yes, you will spend money on things you don’t need at times, and that’s ok, but don’t let your finances get you into a crippling situation if they don’t have to.
4. ADOPT A PET – Now, this obviously depends on your specific circumstances and if having a pet fits into your life and budget. I cannot imagine not having my three dogs. Chuy and Gracie are eight years old and have been through moves, career changes, breakups, marriage and everything in between with me. Life would be so boring without them, and I have learned many lessons through our life together. “Those who teach the most about humanity, aren’t always humans.” – Donald L. Hicks
5. DON’T SETTLE
Whether it’s a job, a significant other or any other major life decision, don’t get stuck in a position where you don’t want to be. If you find yourself there, change it.
6. WEAR SUNSCREEN – Here is another status ‘in progress’ for me, but I try to wear sunscreen everyday. Yes, it might be in your makeup, but use more and don’t forget your décolletage and hands. A few years ago I got a bad case of melasma on my face and it is the thing I am most self-conscious about. Protect your skin!
7. YOU CAN ALWAYS CHANGE JOBS – A coach once told me, “It’s easier to find a job when you have a job.” I didn’t want my first job out of college, but I took it and paid my bills and it led to my next job and the next one. A job is not a lifetime commitment, so if you want a different one, go out there and get it.
8. YOUR FRIEND GROUP MIGHT CHANGE – And even if you don’t have kids, you might start hanging out with your friends’ kids. If your friends are cool, chances are their kids are cool too. Don’t ever make it feel like they have to find a babysitter just to hang out with you. Welcome everyone.
9. YOUR MIND MIGHT CHANGE TOO – I think the idea that you have to figure out what you want to do in life between the ages of 18-22 is a little absurd. There is a lot of growing up you do after college, both personally and professionally. You have the right to change your mind about a career, where you live, finding a partner or whatever else that you might want in life. Again, don’t settle.
10. STOP COMPARING
I’m not sure who said it first, but don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 20. In other words, don’t compare your life to someone else’s Instagram. We are all currently at different places in our life, even if we are the same age. Don’t worry if you haven’t met that career goal or if you haven’t gotten married by a certain timeline you previously set. Like rules, timelines are meant to be broken.
11. YOU DON’T ALWAYS HAVE TO SUBSTITUTE CARBS – I read a funny tweet the other day that said, “Welcome to your 30’s. A cauliflower has replaced all the carbs you love and the only joy you get is watching shows about murder.” I love me some Dateline and Keith Morrison, but for some reason cauliflower pizza crusts drive me nuts. How many calories are you really cutting out by loading a cauliflower crust with all of your favorite pizza toppings? Moderation is key. Eat the pizza crust.
12. LEARN TO SAY ‘NO’ – I’m a people pleaser, so this is a challenge for me each day. As you get older, you have more commitments, which means your time is very valuable. If you don’t learn to say ‘no’, your schedule will fill up with events and people that will end up making you resentful because you don’t have time for the important things in your life. Prioritize and keep it movin’.
13. STUDY ABROAD – If you have the opportunity, do it. This is one of those things I look back on and really wish I would have done in college. Yes, you need internships in the summer to get a job and no one wants to miss a football season, but take a semester and do it. Once you get 30, you can’t get this opportunity back.
14. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY – It’s the only one you got, so treat your body with the utmost respect.
15. BE INFORMED
I know print might be dead, but we live in a world where news and information is consumed at a rapid rate and in various mediums. Don’t be the person who doesn’t know basic events that are going on in the world. Also, be informed about where you are getting your information. This is just as important.
16. FIND A HOBBY – I love to run and was a regular runner for years. Then, work got in the way and I made about a million other excuses, and now I miss it deeply. Find something that you miss when it’s gone and work hard to keep it a part of your life and routine.
17. KEEP LEARNING – Times are constantly changing, and you can’t assume your college degree and experience are going to keep you up to date forever. The same goes with technology. I’m finally hitting the age where I have to ask for iPhone help from college students. Don’t use, “I’m just old” or “That’s before my time” as an excuse to not learn something. Really, don’t be lazy. LEARN.
18. FORGET FOMO – The “fear of missing out” use to almost paralyze me, especially in college. I felt like I had to do everything or I was going to become some old, uncool, boring dog-lady. If you don’t want to go out one night and would rather stay at home and literally Netflix and chill with puppies – do it.
19. FIND WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY – Easier said than done, I know, but important nonetheless. This can be a hobby, a job, a person in your life, or a culmination of all of those things. Just make sure you’re happy and are finding joy in something each day.
20. KNOW YOUR WORTH
This is another area where I struggle. In my profession, there is no way around working unpaid internships, taking low-paying jobs and always knowing that a million other people would love to take your job in a heartbeat. While all of this is inevitable, at some point in many careers, you will get to a place where you are way past entry level tasks and focused more on being valued. Your time, energy and ideas are all valuable. Remember that.
21. LAUGH – Any appropriate chance you can get, laugh. It truly is some of the best medicine. Also, surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Life is a lot more fun this way.
22. KEEP IN TOUCH – I strive to be better with this each year. As you get older, life gets really busy. People move across the country, start families, have jobs, etc. We might not all be going out each Thursday night together like college, but a random text or card in the mail can keep important relationships together.
23. BE PRESENT – This sounds cliche, but how many times have you snapped fireworks or uploaded videos of concerts to your Instastory? I’m raising my hand too over here! It’s fun to share, but we might be oversharing to the point where we are more concerned with other people seeing what we are doing than what we are actually doing. Snap some pics and video to remember fun times and events, but don’t forget to live in the moment too.
24. RELAX – Even when you have a to-do list a mile long, it’s just as important to take time for yourself and relax as it is for you to check off your list. I always feel the need to be doing something, but sometimes that means doing nothing. Carve time out for yourself each day or each week to rest and recharge, and don’t feel bad about it.
25. YOUR MOM WAS RIGHT
I find this to be true on a daily basis. The only way to deal with this one is to accept it. You will also find yourself acting like your mother…or your husband will tell you that you are. Again, just accept it.
26. EAT THE LAST BITE – My brother, Jason, taught me this. When people are at parties or sharing appetizers at dinner, how many times does the last single piece of food get picked up by the waiter or left on the plate? People don’t want to be “that person” who eats the last bite. Do it. Don’t waste food.
27. THE HANGOVER LASTS MUCH LONGER – Much, much longer in fact. The morning after hits you a lot harder as each year goes by, so make sure to schedule plans accordingly.
28. BE YOURSELF – As you get older, you kind of stop caring as much about what other people think about you. I think this is a sign of maturity. Be unapologetically yourself at all times. Don’t be crippled by other people’s opinions or expectations of you.
29. DECIDE ON WHAT YOU STAND FOR – I’m not saying you have to publicly vocalize your political or social views, but at least know what you believe in and what is important to you. It will give you more of a purpose as you continue to grow up and also a reason to stay informed.
30. BE NICE
This one is simple, yet extremely important. Be nice to each and every person you encounter; not because you feel like you have to, but because you genuinely want to spread happy vibes and make others smile. You never know the difference you could make in someone’s life.
To all my other 30-somethings out there, what is some of the best advice you received or what is a lesson you learned as you entered your 30’s?