Well. I'm 30 today. 3 whole decades. Approximately 10,957.266 days old. Yep...it's true.
I was born on March 23, 1981, and as much as I try to pretend that wasn't 30 years ago today, I can't deny the truth. I'm 30. In fact, if you do the math, I feel confident that you would also see that I am indeed 30 years old.
I'm OK about this, though. Really---I AM!
Can't you tell??
I feel like now, I'm allowed to make an excuse about being really tired, finding a gray hair on my head, an unplanned curve on my body, or a new wrinkle on my face. I am 30 after all...
It's crazy to reflect on the past 10 years of my life. If you had asked me at age 20, what I thought my life would be like at age 30, never EVER would I have said that I would still be single-no kids, teaching in Starkville, and living in my grandparents' home. I don't really know exactly what I thought my life would be like at age 30, but I can tell you that this is not what I envisioned. Am I complaining? Not really. I'm very content with my life right now. Sure, there are things that I'd like to be different, but isn't that only human? God has taken care of me all of my life and I'm not afraid of entering another decade of my life.
I have compiled a list of 30(+1!) things I learned in my 20's. Now, I've learned eleventy bazillion things in my 20's, but here's a very abbreviated list:
1. Stay close to your parents. They probably know you better (and longer!) than anybody else, and more than likely, they're a whole lot wiser than you.
2. Got siblings? Make an effort to stay close to them too. You'll be glad you did.
3. Be a good friend and surround yourself with friends who are real. Best friends are underrated sometimes. I think every girl should have at least 3 best friends. Me? Well, I have about a dozen. Each of them was perfectly placed in my life at the time when they were needed most. Most of the time I'm not really sure what I'd do without them, nor am I sure what I've done to deserve them! Find real friends and choose not to spend your time with people who bring you down.
4. Be trustworthy, but don't trust everybody you meet. I learned this the hard way about 3 years ago. Yes, I'm still a very trustworthy person, but I'm not so easy to trust people anymore. Unfortunately people aren't always what they seem. Choose wisely.
5. It's OK to be single in your 20's (even at 29!)! Sure I'd love to be married with kids, but that's obviously not what God wants for me right now. As I reflect on my 20's though, I think about the many "girls' trips", traveling, last minute shopping trips, etc. that I did in my 20's. Some of these things may not have occurred if I'd had a family. I have no regrets.
6. Be a listener. While it's sometimes great to be there to give advice, sometimes the best thing you can do is listen.
7. Smile at strangers and be nice to people even if you're in a bad mood. Ironically, it can make you feel better as well as the strangers! My dad is a very overly friendly person. He smiles constantly and speaks to everyone he meets. I grew up rolling my eyes at this. When you're 12 years old, you're annoyed at the fact that it takes an hour to get to your table at a restaurant because your dad has to talk to everybody IN SIGHT! As an adult now, I realize that I've actually inherited this character trait! My sisters make so much fun of me, but all I can say to them is, "Um...have you never met our father?" I get this honestly. And to be honest, it makes me feel better to be friendly to others. Go out of your way to be nice sometime; You never know when you're making somebody's day.
8. Try something new. In my 2o's I began running, and now it's one of my most favorite things to do! I hope to trying something else new in my 30s!
9. Set goals. As I mentioned in #8, I enjoy running. At age 27, I decided to go out of my comfort zone and train for a half marathon, and in April of 2009, I successfully completed my first half marathon! One of the best things I've ever done. If there's something you've wanted to do in your life, do it now.
10. Apologize when necessary. One of the hardest things I've ever had to do is apologize for something I've done wrong. It's also one of the best things I've ever had to do. I've learned in "my old age," ;) that apologizing just makes everybody feel better.
11. Avoid using credit cards. Just use them for emergencies if possible!
12. Listen to your mom. Chances are, she knows what she's talking about. And if your mom doesn't seem to have it together, just call my mom. She absolutely knows what she's talking about.
13. Find a job you love. I've been in the working world for nearly 8 years, and I'm very grateful that I have a job that I enjoy. Unfortunately, that's not the case with so many people I know. The truth is, you sometimes spend more time at work than at home, so you should absolutely find something you enjoy.
14. Be yourself and don't worry what others think. I love George Strait, sometimes wear mis-matched clothes, and recently had a green "bedazzled" cast. Do you think I care what's possibly said about me? Umm.. no. It's what makes me...ME!
15. Don't expect your life to be like a romantic comedy. Sure, I'd love for Matthew McConaughey to chase me down on his motorcycle and tell me that he loves me and can't live another day without me, but unfortunately, that's probably not going to happen. Bummer.
16. Get a pet. Single? Live by yourself? GET.A.PET. Period. Even if you're married with children, you still need a pet. Sure, Max is a little--well---neurotic, but he's my buddy and without him, I would be so very lonely!
17. There are a lot of jerks out there. Avoid them. Fortunately, there are a lot of really great guys too. I hope to start avoiding the jerks and eventually finding one of those really good ones. You should find one too.
18. Don't compare yourself to others!!! If you're a female, you probably do this regularly. There's always going to be somebody skinnier, prettier, happier, taller, funnier, richer, etc. That doesn't always make them better. I'm working on this one!
19. Make friends at work! As I mentioned in #13, you may possibly spend more time at work than at home, so you need to make the best of it! As a 2nd grade teacher, there are times when I think I can't make it another day! Thankfully, my teacher friends are there to pick me up and encourage me!
20. Find a random hobby. This is something I didn't do in my 20's, but it's on my to-do list for my 30's! This summer, I plan to read more, learn to cook better, and possibly even learn to sew or knit!
21. Keep your house clean. You'll sleep better at night knowing there aren't dirty dishes in your sink.
22. Don't allow your job to control your life. Like a mentioned earlier, find a job you love, but don't let it become your life. I believe that it's important to find the balance between work life and personal life.
23. Get your priorities in line, and make sure God is at the very top of this list. Period.
24. Exercise regularly. I wasn't an extremely active person until I hit my 20's Exercising several days a week makes you feel better and look better. Find something you love doing--walking your dog, jogging, biking, swimming, etc-and decide to do these things regularly.
25. Go to church. I'm pretty sure this one is self explanatory.
26. If your grandparents are still living, spend a lot of time with them. 2 of my grandparents passed away during my 20's. I was very close to both of them and was fortunate to see them often. Of course now that they're gone, I think about how I wish I had spent even more time with them. I now have one living grandparent who lives in Meridian, and I hope I'm able to make more memories with her in my 30's.
"Grandparents, like heroes, are as necessary to a child's growth as vitamins"-Joyce Allston
27. When it comes to dating and marriage, don't settle for less than you deserve. While I am unmarried, I dated several guys in my 20's. Some of them were great guys, but I'm so very happy that none of them ended in marriage, especially at the time. I learned a lot about myself during those relationships, and I have become more aware of what I desire and deserve in a life-long mate. Thank God I didn't get married just to be married.
28. Don't allow stress to dominate your life. Period.
29. Travel. No, I'm not a world traveler, and I don't plan long, extravagant vacations. I do, however, plan yearly trips to the beach and regular trips to visit my friends (Tennessee, Alabama, Texas, etc.). I'm so glad to have these times with my dear friends!
30. DON'T GO TO TANNING BEDS!! I was never a really regular tanning bed goer, but I did go some during my 20's. I blame all of my skin irregularites on tanning beds. I'm now a regular sunscreen-wearer and for a little skin color I use Jergens Natural Glow (There are way worse things in life than having fair skin!).
31. Count your blessings. There are a lot of things in my life that I haven't figured out yet (after all, I'm only 30!:) ), but I do realize that I've got a pretty good life. I'm grateful for all that God has provided for me and shown me in my 30 years of life!
What are some things you've learned in the past 10 years of your life?
Do any of you "old people" have any advice for a new 30 year old? :)