30 Things I Learned by Age 30

So, something pretty cool is happening this month… I’m turning thirty! Woohooo!!! I have to say, I’m like the only person I know on this planet who is not depressed about it, and even somewhat excited! But, I have to be honest—if I looked thirty (or older!), I’d probably be searching for the nearest bottle of bleach laser center or Botox bar. But because I still look so youthful (pause for laughs!), I’m totally cool with exiting my twenties, and I thought it would be a very fitting sendoff to highlight thirty things I learned in my life so far.

  1. If you buy Chips Ahoy and want them to taste better, wet them a little with water and broil for a few minutes on a cookie sheet. They will taste like you just baked them!
  2. Holding grudges is dumb. If you don’t remember every specific detail of why you are holding the grudge, it’s time to let it go! I hate when I see people from high school and I can’t remember if we got along or not, so I can’t speak to them half the time because I don’t know where we left off.
  3. No. Show. Sock. LINERS!!! Do not wear flats without them!
  4. Buy life insurance! Death does not discriminate, so be prepared! I told my sisters and two of my best friends DO NOT EMBARRASS ME WITH A GOFUNDME PAGE TO PAY FOR MY FUNERAL. I told them they better not humiliate me once I’m dead. I have life insurance—wait for the policy payout if needed, but do not have me out here looking broke once I’m gone! Postpone my funeral, lie and say they have to investigate my death if you have to, but do not make my funeral expenses someone else’s burden. It will be hard enough to lose me as it is, so no need to add any extra stress.
  5. Embarrass yourself one good time and you’ll never be embarrassed again. Now, this is at least what happened to me. When I was sixteen, I was performing on a friend’s song, singing the hook, but I didn’t know the song very well. I started in the wrong octave, sounded an awful mess, and asked to restart the track right in the middle of the song. Worst day of my life. But because of this, now anytime I’m nervous or worried that I’ll mess up, I just think to myself, “It could never be as bad as that one time…” and poof! Nerves go away!
  6. Go to the freaking doctor! And don’t have your mom call and make your appointment either. And the dentist too! I know it sucks, but this is your only body that is supposed to last your entire life, so take care of it!
  7. Sugar grits. Fight me!
  8. Be thoughtful with your words. Even if you don’t mean what you say and apologize to a person, the words you said have already made an impact.
    1. Everything you think doesn’t need to be said, and you don’t always have to have the final say. You’ll push people away like this because they’ll always have to be on edge when speaking to you.
  9. Be “out here lookin’ stupid” sometimes. For those outside of my community, “we” often will say, “Don’t have me out here lookin’ stupid!” but I don’t agree with that. I think it’s just pride that will hold you back from potentially something great, or maybe not. But you can’t be so afraid of looking silly that you miss out on something amazing. **This usually applies to romantic relationships, but could be other situations.
  1. Learn the difference between judging and observing. This is something my dad taught me. When you make a judgement, there is an emotional investment and an opinion that is formed, and everything just doesn’t deserve that much attention or thought.
  2. Carry a notebook around with you. You never know when you need to jot down something quickly. Especially since I write, I have random ideas all the time that are worth recording.
  3. Having siblings is the best thing that has ever happened in my life. And the added bonus is becoming an aunt. My siblings have made my life, and all three of them are my best friends. I mean, they are literally the only ones I can call and complain about my mom and not get defensive or upset if they think my mom is manic too! 😀
  4. Inconvenience yourself for the people you love. I flew out one morning to be in Vegas for fourteen hours and flew back that night just to meet up with my family on vacation. I was exhausted, but it was worth it to spend time with them and make memories.
  5. Speaking of memories, write them down. It took me some time to realize this, but luckily Facebook Memories are saving my life! The older you get, the worse your memory gets. One day, you’ll only have memories of some folks, so do all you can to cherish those memories.
  6. Celebrate yourself. Of course, within reason. But someday (most days, maybe even) you’ll have to be your biggest cheerleader. Toot your own horn sometimes—brag about yourself every once in a while, and be proud of yourself.
  7. Challenge yourself. Don’t always allow yourself to use the excuse of something being “too hard” all the time. You are probably capable of way more than you think! But you really only find out when you push yourself.
  8. Advil Cold and Flu is one of the best OTC medicines ever created.
  9. Sometimes you have to face hard times to help someone else. That sounds crazy, right? When I was thirteen, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully, she is now cancer-free and living her life. Unfortunately, at twenty-five I learned that the same disease she had prior to cancer I have as well. And it sucked finding out I’m sick and of course I’ll always wonder if I’ll have cancer too. But they caught it really early because they knew what to look for due to my family medical history. And I was bummed when I found out, but this is what my mom said: “Cancer was awful—I hated every part of it. But if I had to go through that for them to know what to check you for, I’d do it again.” I benefited from my mom’s cancer bout.
  10. Carry a snack with you, always.
  11. Never let anyone question how you feel about them, especially if you love them. I told one of my best friends, “Girl, I always got your back!” She stopped, and looked me dead in my eyes and said, “I never had to question that.” That was one of the best moments of my life.
  12. Learn how to properly store food. It will cut down on food waste, and save you some money!
    1. And only buy the food you’ll actually need!
  13. Pizza Hut is always better the next day. I don’t know if it’s scientific or just magical.
  14. Wait for the sale! Everything basically goes on sale at some point, and if it’s not an item you need desperately, just wait a little while. I literally waited two days for a jacket at the beginning of the month and the price was like, cut in half!
  15. Everyone isn’t going to like you, and that’s okay. I remember in high school, two girls had a “beef,” I guess. One girl walked up to the other one, ULTRA MAD, and was like, “I heard you don’t like me!” The other girl, calmly and almost politely confused, said, “I don’t, and? I don’t HAVE to like you.” It was like a lightbulb turned on in my head. I never realized I could actually dislike a person and NOT argue or fight with them. They can stay in their lane, I can stay in mine, and we can both keep it pushin’! You also don’t have to hate on the person you don’t like. What a revelation!
  1. You can face hard times gracefully. My Auntie Alice was one of the most brilliant women I know. She was absolutely stunning, basically a genius, an incredible businesswoman, and the queen of etiquette. But she had a comical side too that just balanced her out so perfectly. And most importantly, she was a strong, devout Christian. She passed away December 11th, 2014. I knew she had cancer, but it wasn’t until almost the very end I knew she had stage 4… for four years. She was such a fighter, and I never saw her complain. Even when her limbs were so weak she couldn’t walk anymore, she was so positive. I consider myself tremendously blessed to even have known such a phenomenal woman, and I’m eternally grateful that God chose me to be her niece.
  2. My mom was right. I hate to admit it, but my mom was right about almost everything she ever told me in the form of advice. Listen to your mom, guys. I mean—unless she’s crazy or something.
  3. All you need in life is a few good friends. I think we are programmed to believe we have to be popular to be happy. SO NOT TRUE!!! Like I mentioned in a different article, I have only a handful of close friends, and I’ve known most of them all my life (or close to it), and the others, 15+ years. And I am very happy, and truly content. But, I wouldn’t mind if a selfie of me went viral or something (a tasteful one, of course!) 😀
  4. Have a hobby that isn’t just watching TV. Hobbies are awesome! And there are so many of them! You can scrapbook, crochet, windsurf, be a pilot in your free time, be a writer ( 🙂 ), learn to bake… this list can go on for days! Just find some value in something that is productive and makes you happy, and a hobby can be a great stress reliever!
  5. Pray, every day, as often as possible. I would be remiss if I didn’t also make reference to the most important part of my life—my relationship with God. Having faith has brought me out of the toughest parts of this thing we call life. And don’t over think it. Just tell God how you feel, and He’ll do the rest.
    1. But remember, God is not a genie! He’s not just here to grant wishes.
  6. And lastly… Cry sometimes. I cry probably more than I want to admit. I cried this morning looking at the sunrise. It took me a long time to be comfortable with shedding a few tears because I thought it was a sign of weakness. But honestly, crying is a sign of strength. It’s a sign you are alive and surviving. It’s a sign you are enduring. And, it’s a sign you have emotions. I cry when I’m happy, overwhelmed, laughing, sad, etc. It is another way to release feelings that are bottled up and can help from busting at the seams!

Bonus! The more I learn, the less I realize I know. And learning doesn’t stop when you graduate high school, college, or any other education program. I thought at seventeen that I knew everything! I thought I was smarter than everyone on this planet. And thank goodness that NOW I have some sense! The older I get, I realize I have so much to learn. So, I look forward to learning for the rest of my life.

I’m so happy I made it to thirty.