Guten Tag, y’all!
Sorry this post is so late. I’ve been recovering from the most awesome birthday weekend ever: I got my hair done (more on that next week!), The Man made me a surprise chocolate cake, and the Babycakes serenaded me and gave me flowers. So forgive my tardiness.
Anywho, y’all know I turned 30 yesterday, and I must say that it feels way better than 21 ever did. I was gonna write a recap of my 30 Before 30 failures and achievements, but after reading Olivia Wilde’s article on turning 30 (hat tip to Leslie!), I decided to write this instead. Thirty lessons I’ve learned after being on the planet for thirty years. Here we go!
1. When shoes are cheap, they hurt your feet. And I don’t mean inexpensive or bargain priced, I mean poorly made.
2. The right clothes (clothes that fit well, match your lifestyle and personality, and are in good condition) can make you feel like superwoman.
3. The wrong clothes, on the other hand, can make you feel incompetent/weak/like an imposter.
4. High quality is better than low quality; expensive does not always equal good, and inexpensive is not always inferior.
5. Whatever you wear, wear it because you like it, not because someone told you that you should.
6. The BEST description of love I have ever seen is in the Christian Bible: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
7. If you are experiencing something other than that in your relationship, it is NOT love.
8. It’s ok if you and your lover are not attached at the hip. Y’all are two separate people.
9. Having a child will make you feel invincible and 100 percent vulnerable at the same time.
10. When it comes to love, it’s ok (even necessary!) to take calculated risks.
11. My metaphor for friendship is two pitchers of water that pour into each other. If only one person is doing the pouring, she will end up empty and the other will end up full of herself. If you both pour into each other equally, you’ll be balanced and happy.
12. Forgetfulness and disorganization are forms of thoughtlessness. I am guilty of both, far too often.
13. The best friends are the ones who know your story–and in spite/because of it, they love you.
14. “No new friends” makes for a great song but is an impractical philosophy. F that. Never stop making new friends.
15. When a friendship has run its course, it can be even more painful than a romantic breakup. Still–the love will always be there, and you should be grateful for what you had even as you mourn what you lost.
16. Happiness is a choice. Plain and simple, though maybe joy is a better word. My Sunday school once described the difference between happiness and joy thusly: Happiness is fleeting. Chocolate cake can make you happy; new shoes can make you happy. Joy, on the other hand, is a constant feeling of gratitude for and celebration of life. The world is what it is. React with despair, or react with joy.
17. Once, I was broke, depressed, in a new city, unsure of where I would live (aka quasi-homeless) and sitting in a park crying on a hot, Alabama August day. A homeless man walked over and offered me a cold soda that he’d just gotten from some volunteers. Then he told me to leave before it got dark, because this particular park was danger. All that to say: you can be broke, alone, lost and still find a reason to be grateful and happy.
18. Happiness is contagious. So is misery, so be mindful of the company you keep.
19. Selfishness and joy can’t really coexist.
20. Having a playlist of happy music on standby is good for the soul.
21. Plans will get you way farther than wishes will. “I plan to save $300 so I can spend a weekend in Panama City with my friends” is greater than “I wish I was at the beach.”
22. Don’t be scurred, but don’t be stupid. Watching Taken shouldn’t deter you from flying to Paris. Likewise, unless you’re a foreign correspondent, you shouldn’t be trying to kick it in a war zone.
23. The way America views black people is not the same way the rest of the world views us. Travel, and see what it’s like to see yourself through other eyes.
24. Learning a foreign language will make your travels and your life richer.
25. Don’t feel bad if you can’t afford to go to the other side of the planet. Taking a 30 minute trip to the next town over? That totally counts. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.
26. Not having a goal is like getting into behind the wheel of a car with no destination in mind. You waste a lot of time and energy, and you’ll likely end up right back where you started.
27. One of my favorite books is Time’s People of the Century. It profiles one hundred people who shaped the 20th century. I noticed a common trend: the people who were led by their egos generally came to a bad end or ended up on the wrong side of history. Vice versa for those led by a desire to serve.
28. Becoming a parent will completely change your priorities, in the best way imaginable.
29. Don’t be discouraged if other people don’t understand or support your choices. It’s your life, and you only get one.
30. Don’t speak about it, be about it.
YOUR turn! I don’t care if you’re 15 or 52–I know you’ve got some wisdom to share.
What’s the biggest life lesson you’ve learned so far?