10 Brutal (But Necessary) Lessons I Learned By 30
1. You’re not supposed to have your life figured out in your twenties. Not really. While you can have an idea of who you want to settle down with or what you would like your life to include, by no means is it even possible to have the life you want in its entirety during your twenties. You don’t have enough money or life experience yet and more often than not, you’re still seeking approval from those around you (even if you don’t realize it). That goes away in your thirties. When you’re 30, you’ll finally have the tools to come into your own and craft the lifestyle you’ve been craving.
2. You are not the sum of your productivity. The more you load onto your plate, even if it’s done with the best intentions, is only going to lead to burnout and cause you to become disconnected from the things you genuinely enjoy. When this happens, it just creates a nasty cycle of feeling overwhelmed and anxious by all the things you want to do but not having the mental clarity and energy to actually do them.
3. If you have to guess where you stand with someone, you don’t stand anywhere with them. The right people will make time for you; the wrong people won’t even consider it. Relationships of any kind are built on mutual effort AND mutual desire.
4. You don’t need an education to discover you’re good at something. You also don’t need it to advance your career, specifically if it’s artistic or creative in nature. People are more impressed with your ability to follow your passions and be motivated than they are what grade you got in high school or college.
5. If you have to think about it, the answer is no. My mother always used to tell me this and people scoff at it because, of course, there are many situations when you do have to weigh the pros and cons of certain actions. That being said, though, the big decisions that affect your life: being honest with yourself about whether or not a particular lifestyle or relationship is for you, if you genuinely see your life with children, or knowing what hobby you enjoy doing should all have a natural response. If you have to think about whether or not you say yes to a proposal or an opportunity, then the answer is no.
6. I learned that the right relationship won’t be right because it’s easy but because the decision to make it work will be easy. Relationships are hard work. It’s not always easy to understand where someone else is coming from, especially as you’re getting to know them and learning about their childhood traumas. But when it’s a relationship worth fighting for, making the decision to put the effort in is easy.
7. Sometimes the hard thing and the right thing are the same. Sometimes when it comes to life, you’re going to be speaking up for things the world doesn’t agree with. Or likewise, maybe you disagree with what’s culturally accepted in society. If you know something is right deep down in your gut, then you owe it to yourself to follow that intuition. Too many people follow the crowd; don’t be one of them if you don’t think you should be.
8. I’ve learned that not every relationship you encounter will continue to serve you. Not only are you not obligated – but you should never feel obligated – to keep someone in your life who devalues you simply because you’re lonely or hoping they will change. But I understand what it’s like to crave companionship that deeply. It makes you feel like you’re crazy and it forces you to slide those rose-colored glasses on your face because it’s easier than facing what you know is true: you are not important to the person you want to be important to. Even though it’s a difficult truth to face – and accept – your life will bloom once you do. We are ALL deserving of happiness and respect. Any relationship that is one-sided isn’t worth trying to salvage.
9. You will never be able to change the outcome of a situation by worrying about it. Don’t worry until you have something to genuinely worry about. That’s easier said than done because we worry about things that we don’t want to change – like death. Take things a day at a time, one minute at a time, one moment at a time. If you’re enjoying your cup of coffee in the morning, practice mindfulness so you can actually enjoy it. Because while something bad may happen as soon as you finish drinking it, it doesn’t mean that the experience of drinking it wasn’t enjoyable. The same principle applies to your life.
10. You have the right to change your mind…about anything. About what matters to you, about who is important to you, about what you like or where you stand on a topic. Change is inevitable and the only person you’re harming by not allowing yourself to change your stance on what your life looks like…is you. Evolution is necessary, even if it’s frightening.
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