I recently turned 30, and it was bittersweet – I don’t miss my twenties; I can look back and say although heightened self-awareness brought more anxiety, I am a better person than I was a decade ago. As I welcomed a new era, I saw myself for who I was and the wisdom I gained and it felt significant, character strengthening.
The wisdom I felt at thirty was hard earned through terrible situations during that decade that I’d never want to relive. I also wouldn’t want to relieve how little I valued myself, the nonsense I chose to prioritise, and who I thought was worthy of my love and time. That being said, I’d happily go back and enjoy the skin elasticity I had, the fullness under my eyes, the plumpness of my cheeks, the fullness of my lips. I can simultaneously feel my spirit strengthening while my physical self begins to fade.
Here are some realisations I came to as I celebrated my Dirty Thirty (in Vegas, no less – but that’s a post for another time!).
My ego no longer serves me
So many arguments in my twenties escalated into explosive fights because I had to have the last word. I had to get my point across, and I wouldn’t stop until I had made the other person to understand my point of view. I would rant on until the veins popped in my forehead and the back of my head tingled and my eyes burned with wet heat. On reflection, the point I was trying to get across wasn’t even important – I can see now that the only thing that was important to me was my need to be right, my need to be validated.
Why did I need the validation of others? I achieved nothing – nobody actually ended up agreeing with me, they’d only back down so that I’d finally shut up. Why was I so concerned about being vindicated by somebody else? It was only fighting to appease my ego.
The more acknowledge the influence my ego has on my actions and decisions, the calmer I become. I pick and choose my battles more wisely, knowing what truly deserves my energy. I no longer worry about other people thinking I am right unless it hurts me or someone else. Ridding yourself of your ego will set you free. That doesn’t mean letting go of your pride, your dignity, or your beliefs. Exercising self-belief in calm, quiet confidence helped me attain a much saner mind than my acting on my ego ever did.
True Love Is Found In Friendships
Me and my friends had rough rides in our twenties. I am sure you can relate. You go through the worst break ups, unemployment, you may start to see your parents get older and fall sick. You experience life on minimum wage. You crave independence but you can’t afford it. You have house shares with people who you hate living with. You don’t know who you are yet. I am sure I wouldn’t have survived the ups and downs if it wasn’t the friends who stuck by me throughout it all. The relationships come and go, but my friends stayed – through having children to getting engaged, me and my girlfriends have been through it all together. We need each other, we love each other, and appreciation for one another is at its highest. The bond we have for each other is at its strongest now. If nothing else has been, I know this is true love.
I Must Look After Myself Properly
I didn’t look after myself during my teens, or twenties. I indulged in obscene amounts of sugar, tobacco, fried foods, and I didn’t work out. I let myself get immensely stressed out with no consideration to my heart and the strain I was putting it under. I allowed my physical body to take the stress when I should have been trying to find ways to alleviate it. It’s simple things – deep breathing, exercise, sitting down and closing your eyes, counting to ten. Not smoking or binging on any substances. I know all that now, and I also know that my time of recklessness has to be over. I’ve had my ‘fun’, if you could call it that. I’ve in all likelihood lived over one third of my life as I write this today. It is time to take self-preservation really seriously. In many ways I think I look better than I did in my early twenties, maybe due to being more health conscious of recent, or maybe because I am more confident. But I can see the darkness around my eyes increasing, the pain in my feet, gravity betraying cheeks that were once quite lifted. It’s just a matter of fact that we are flesh, bone and organs, tissue, a living organism no different to a plant or a bee. One day the lights will go out and you will begin to rot like an apple attracting worms. My own mortality is something that plagues me every day.
Falling In Love Feels The Same Every Time
Now bare with me – this is a good thing, because it is the realization you can survive anything, or anyone. I remember being 16, looking at my boyfriend and thinking, ‘wow’. His skin was glowing, his lashes long, he was just so beautiful to me. I thought he was a work of art. Years later I realised I just felt that way because I loved him. People are beautiful when you love them, no matter what they look like. I felt this again with another boyfriend, years later, and when we broke up, I was able to see it with more clarity. My first love was so dramatic, I thought we were Romeo and Juliet, to do or die. But you’ll start to see that love is possible, over and over again. I’m not sure I believe in The One anymore. I think yes, you can find The One – but that doesn’t mean that is the only one for you. There really are plenty of other fish in the sea, and you will find love again, and it will feel as good as the love you had with your ex you loved so much – in fact, it may feel even better. You have more love to give than you know – sometimes it feels like it’s killing you, but really, it’s all that is keeping you alive. You’ll always have the love to give, just make sure you give it to someone worthy of it.
I’ll Be Alone In Death
Again, not a bad thing, just a fact I am coming to terms with. I won’t long this point out, but it’s liberating to be at peace with yourself, not just when you are feeling good. You’ll need to be comfortable alone with yourself when you are at your worst too. It’s nice to rely on others but learning the lesson of solely relying on yourself is necessary to be strong enough for all that life is still yet to throw at you. Please, I implore you to enjoy your own company more. So go to dinner alone! Go to the movies alone! Take that solo trip abroad! Because your last trip will be taken alone, whether you like it or not.
I Am The Master Of My Emotions
Nobody can dictate my feelings anymore… Well, I’m working on it. Of course, people can still hurt my feelings, but I have learnt how to better control my reaction to others actions. I used to be the ‘crazy bitch’, the one who just “can’t hold it in” – and in part I still have that in me – but to whose benefit? I no longer give people the satisfaction of letting them know I am upset by having an emotional outburst. I prefer to invest my energy elsewhere – my friends will give me a pep talk, I’ll hit the gym, or watch my favourite show. But nobody is getting the satisfaction of hearing me hysterical anymore. Everytime I let myself be vulnerable to that extent, I’ve felt like I lost control of this situation. Whilst expressing vulnerabilities is healthy, I’ve got a lot better at doing it in a way where I can leave the conversation still feeling good about myself.
Life Is Too Short To Not Do What I Want
Trust me, time is one thing that you can never purchase, so don’t let anybody tell you how to spend it – it is simply not their right. Don’t let yourself feel guilty for saying no to plans. Trust me, the people you say “no” to will respect and understand your decision – even if not at the moment, but eventually. Your time is precious, limited, and one hundred percent in your control. Own it without guilt.
I could have made this list much, much longer – I missed out how when you hit 30 you have a much better, forgiving relationship with your parents, you see yourself in a truer-to-form light, acknowledging your flaws and actively working to improve yourself. You start to feel the pressures you thought you’d never let yourself feel at 20 – like getting married, having a child. But life won’t look the way you thought it would when you were 20 – you likely thought you had it all figured out then. At 30, you realise it’s only now that you’re starting to understand how life works – and knowing you know nothing? That’s wisdom.
What did you learn at 30? Let me know in the comments!
Lessons: 1. My Ego No Longer Serves Me 2. True Love Is Found In Friendships 3. I Must Look After Myself Properly 4. Falling In Love Feels The Same Every Time 5. I’ll Be Alone In Death 6. I Am The Master Of My Emotions 7. Life Is Too Short To Not Do What I Want