30 Things I've learned in my 30 Years

So I turned 30 this month (cringe), and I’ve been contemplating the meaning of life, OBVIOUSLY. (mid life crisis much?)

I have come to these conclusions about the things I have learned in my humble 30 years:

(these aren’t in order of importance, just as they came to me).

1.Do you, buy yourself  those flowers, don’t be passively aggressive with others because they don’t, it’s a waste of energy. Make yourself happy, whatever that means to you. Practice self care.

2. Make the most of human touch (or your furry four legged friend’s). Hugs can heal and bring emotions to the surface. Hold the people around you (not so much your coworkers, always respect personal space, not everyone is touchy feely), but give your friends and family impromptu meaningful hugs (the longer the better), and just let go. Feel the positive vibes flow through and just loosen your muscles and give into it.

3. Alone time is as necessary as water, even if you don’t like being alone (especially if you don’t), think, meditate, write.

Meditation doesn’t have to involve closed eyes, crossed legs on the floor and Oms, but don’t diss it till you try it. Just take time out to think, or go blank, look out a window, have a cup of tea in silence, listen to your favorite song.

My new favourite: Leon Bridges – River

Be aware of your thoughts, be kind to yourself in the voice inside your head (if it’s voiceS with an s, we have a problem).

4. Relationships are hard,work on them or let go. Realize that if you’ve lost respect or gone cold towards the other person, or feel in your gut that it isn’t going to work, do the hard thing now and walk away, it will become harder as time passes, or you will get more and more damaged emotionally as time moves on. If you are reluctant in hurting the other person, know that staying with them will hurt them more in the long run if you are doing it for the wrong reasons, children included.

5. Be your own masterpiece, let the way you look express who you are, there is a reason why putting on your favourite or lucky outfit makes you feel better, or dressing up when you feel down does the same. If you have been contemplating a new haircut, tattoo or change in style for a while, and it speaks to you, go for it. Unless it’s a full face tattoo, a crazy impulse, racist or a significant other’s name, your body is your temple but also your gallery. Feel free to decorate.

6. Start over, move to a whole new country, end that relationship sucking the energy out of you (friendships count too), if you walk away from a meeting with someone feeling drained, or find yourself staying at work late because you don’t want to go home to someone, it’s time for some deep thought, contemplation and conversations. Being alone and scared is how we grow, get uncomfortable and it will make you more of who you are.

7. The older you get the less self conscious you are, embrace that, at 22 you feel like the whole world is watching you, it slowly dawns on you that they have better things to do, and if  for some strange reason they are, give them a good show, the old adage rings true here, those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. Be unapologetically yourself, those who disapprove; however close you may think they are, aren’t meant to be part of your story going forward.

8. Deal with emotions as they come, keeping things pent up is a sure course for mental health issues. I’m not advocating having a meltdown mid meeting, but to process emotions on a daily basis, when you are in a safe space, if you need to cry, scream or just re-evaluate.

9. Value over success, being a person that is truly valuable to this world, even if you only affect a few people in a strong positive way, is more important and more selfless than personal success, and will give you more true joy than you’ve ever known.

10. Before you judge a fellow human being, broaden that horizon, understand their background, their life circumstance and therefore their perspective, chances are you won’t be as judgmental afterwards.

The broader your horizon, the more places you’ve been, the more people from different walks of life you’ve had in depth, meaningful conversations with, the more your judgments will dissipate.

We all have baggage, we all have a story. The hardest part is understanding the even those who hurt you, have been hurt. Let the cycle of negativity stop with you.

11. You can sometimes only connect the dots looking backwards, time really does heal your wounds, not completely, but it makes them livable, hindsight is 20/20, in retrospect things become as clear as day, don’t beat yourself up about it, move on. Forgive yourself your transgressions, forgive others theirs.

12. Make peace with things you can’t change or change them, gun to your head, you have a choice to make, do as you’re told and live, or don’t and die, the third option is to find a roundabout way of dealing with things. Never stay stagnant. As graphic as it sounds, you will rot from the inside out. Making peace with the hand life has dealt us can be one of the most difficult things to do, especially for the more stubborn of us, but you’re like a horse pulling at your own reigns, you’re only hurting yourself.

13. Enjoy the now, whatever it is you’re doing, even if it’s the dishes. As cliche as it sounds, it’s all you’ve got.

14. Cherish the people you love, let them know, life is short.

15. Read.

16. Surround yourself with inspiration. Be it art, music or a vision board ( I like to think cupcakes with colorful frosting count here too). When you surround yourself with beauty it uplifts you in the most difficult of times. If you don’t love something and find it beautiful or useful, give it away, which brings us to our next point …

17. Get organised. Declutter, having too much can bring you down, Make room in your life for the energy to flow freely.

18. Be strong, the pain will pass. It may not ever fully leave you, but that just makes you a better person, if you are able to make peace with your pain and make it positive. With pain comes wisdom, help and support others who feel your brand of pain, give advice and love. Share through whatever means available to you, be it any form of media or personal contact.

19. Follow your gut, when something or someone doesn’t feel or seem right. To clarify, this doesn’t work if you are too trusting or suspicious. Find a balance between realistic and aware with a smidge of benefit of the doubt.

20. FAMILY. IS. EVERYTHING. This does not need to mean your biological family. The group of people you choose to let inside your walls. Cherish them, whether friends, a significant other, or people you share DNA with. Not to diminish the value of true family however, a sibling for example, if the relationship is decent, will be the only person to weather it all with you, from parents’ passed on issues, to the loss of one.

22. Create things you love. Be a person you love. Whether you write code or poetry. Paint a picture, if so inclined, or draw a flow chart. Do what you love. Regardless of the world’s opinions. Round pegs shouldn’t be pushed into square holes.

23. Be able to list your strengths and weaknesses honestly, work on or embrace them, know yourself regardless of other people’s opinions, know your self worth, let go of who you imagine yourself to be and just be who you currently are.

24. Be able to name your values, priorities and goals. Not for other people’s benefit but your own. Have enough conviction in them however, to speak them, loud and proud.

25. Mentors, have them, dead or alive, in your life or on the TV. Make them people whose values are in sync with your own, not whose lifestyles you crave.

26. Perception is everything, look at the world through rose tinted glasses. Be in touch with reality, be aware of the world outside your circle, but try and view it all in as positive a light as possible. Be constantly aware when interacting with others that their perception can be, and most likely is, very different than your own, try and understand it, but NEVER assume to know what it looks like. This can be the key to dealing with conflict and improving communication.

27. The blame game helps no one, accept responsibility for your flaws (we all have them), we also all make mistakes, don’t be so quick to throw the first stone.

28. Embrace your inner child, that’s who you really are. This unadulterated version of you is the most pure and unassuming. Make it the voice inside your head. Play. Jump, skip, blow bubbles, give people endearing nicknames, express yourself without too much calculation or malice, show love freely. Be open.

29. Define pain and pleasure to you, what makes you feel those things, those are your good and evil. Let them help you define your boundaries and values.

30. Don’t just respond to life, be proactive in your own destiny.

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