Today is my 30th birthday! Happy Birthday to Me!
There are hundreds of “what I learned in my… [enter age here]” on the internet and this is just one more. Each one is different and utterly unique because we all learn different things through life. This is mine!
This was me as I entered my 20’s, following is what I learned along the way.
What I learned In my 20’s
- BFF’s Aren’t Forever
That best friend in your teens and early 20’s is the most important person in your life! You just know you will be best friends forever and you plan how your kids will grow up together and be best friends too! You laugh about how when you’re old you will terrorize the nursing home together. At first when your careers take off you make sure to still make time for each other. Then before you realize what’s happening you each get married and start having kids. Suddenly your friendship has moved down the priority list. Just a few years ago you would have never considered moving farther than a few minutes from each other but now what’s best for your family takes you far away in different directions. One day you wake up and realize that you haven’t talked in ages and you only see each other a couple times a year. You will always be best friends but it means something different now.
- Mom Was Right About Everything
She tried to warn me about so many things but I was determined to learn life’s lessons the hard way. With each new lesson learned and each tear shed I came closer to admitting that Mom was always right. I should have believed her more but hind sight is 20/20.
- Getting Drunk Isn’t Fun
It takes far too many bad drunken mistakes to learn this lesson… I am ashamed to admit how long it took me to figure out. I suppose most 20 somethings indulge this way but the stupid decisions and painful hangovers are certainly not worth a night of “fun”. I hurt people I carried about, I put myself at risk and I made a fool of myself more times than I can count. This is one lesson I am incredibly happy to have learned.
- Disney Movies Have Bad Moral Lessons
Watching my favorite Disney movies now I see them in a whole new light! Why do the main characters always disobey their parents? Why do they almost always “fall in love” before they even know the other person. They make horrible, dangerous decisions but happily ever after is still always handed to them in the end. I still love these movies but lets face it, I wouldn’t want my kids to disregard my rules and run off with a stranger because they “fell in love” after 15 minutes.
- Doing Something You Love As A Career Is Rare
I never dreamed of becoming an accountant. Even now, if I had the opportunity to get paid to travel the world learning different cultures and histories or get paid to write, I would quit my job in a heartbeat. I have a great job, I’m good at it and it pays the bills but it’s not my passion. Most people don’t get to live their dream job, they get to do what they can to get by. If you have the opportunity to do something you love go after it because you are lucky!
- Starting A Family Is Not Easy
Everyone in my family got pregnant on the first try, some on accident even. I expected to try for a month or two and BAM I’d be a Mom! Not so much… After a year of not getting pregnant we started having tests run. We couldn’t pin down what the problem was. After a few more years and three miscarriages we started seeing a specialist which means more tests and trying meds to help increase fertility. We were giving up hope and planning to invest in IVF when we finally succeeded at getting pregnant and made it through the terrifying first trimester! I really thought it would be easy they way you see it on TV and hear about from strangers. It isn’t always easy…
- Nothing Goes According To Plan
I am an obsessive planner but my anxiety spikes when things don’t go according to plan. I am still working on this one but I have made a lot of progress in learning to go with the flow. When you have your entire life planned and things take several big turns that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I have made plans and re-made plans but life is constantly evolving and what is best for us is constantly changing. Stop trying to plan life because nothing ever goes according to plan.
- Happily Ever After Is Hard Work
Every little girl dreams of their happily ever after (that may look different for each little girl but we all have one in mind). The society fed expectation is that once you find your happily ever after it’s smooth sailing from then on out. I was lucky enough to find my soulmate! But it isn’t enough to find the right person, it takes hard work every day to keep the happily part going strong. Life struggles can easily tear people apart if they don’t consciously make an effort to rise above life issues together. It’s hard work but it’s worth it!
- Money Is More Important Than I Thought
Maybe it’s the Oregon hippy upraising 😉 but I never put much importance in money. I always said I would rather be happy and live under a bridge than have money and stuff and be unhappy… BUT as I got older I realized that having a house that works for our needs and a big enough yard for our dogs and reliable cars are incredibly important. Making enough money to support our desired life style is suddenly more important than I had ever wanted it to be.
- Metabolism Slows Down At 25
This one may be a big fat duh but I unrealistically thought the days of eating whatever I wanted and never exercising would last forever. Surprise! It doesn’t… On my 25th birthday someone threw a switch and I started gaining weight like never before. It was a pretty big adjustment to start thinking about what I eat and making time to exercise but it’s a good life adjustment.
- What Was Once Challenging Is Now Impossible
Physically speaking I’m aging too quickly. I used to be flexible and energetic and now it’s a struggle to get off the couch… I’m not entirely sure what the lesson here is but i’m sure there is one.
- You Can’t Please Everyone
This is one that most young people have to learn but for me it was a life changing lesson. I spent far too many years trying to be what everyone else wanted me to be. All it ever led to was low self esteem and a few identity crises. I finally learned who I was and to let that be the person I share with others. This was the hardest lesson for me to learn; I like to make people happy. Sometimes at the expense of myself. It is more important to be you then to care what anyone else wants from you.
- Going To Bed At A Reasonable Hour Is Amazing
There aren’t enough hours in the day to meet all the responsibilities of adulthood. I miss the days of going to bed when I’m tired. Now it’s a matter of is the laundry done? Or are the dishes washed? Is the baby hungry? I just want to sleep…
- A Nap Is A Rare Dream Come True
Along the same lines, I learned during my pregnancy when I was unbelievably exhausted that a nap is a god send! Kid don’t know how good they have it. They fight naps with every fiber of their being while I fight to stay awake. Enjoy the opportunity for a nap when it comes along.
- Teenagers Look Younger As I Get Older And Are Incredibly Annoying
Babies are driving cars and toddlers are smoking cigarettes. I hate to believe that I was that annoying when I was a teenager but I’m sure I was.
- All Pictures Of The Past Bring Up “What Was I Thinking” Thoughts
The hair, the clothes, the makeup, I just can’t believe I thought I looked good like that. I’m sure 10 years from now I will look back at my current look and think the same thing. Looking back at some of my bad decisions give me new perspective when making style choices now.
- Time Flies
I didn’t really get this one until I had my daughter. Time goes faster not as we get older but as we get better life experiences we want to slow down and cherish. As my baby grows and learns I realize just how fast time really goes… I want it to slow down so I can enjoy they way she is right now but at the same time I am excited to take part in her next adventure. I learned a lot of lessons in my 20’s but she is learning life lessons every day!
- Comfort Over Fashion
My Mom once told me that some day I would value comfort over fashion. At the time I was 21 and wearing short skirts and stiletto heals everyday. I spent hours on my appearance and never could have imagined a day when I wouldn’t care about that. That day sneaks up on you… I don’t even know when it happened but suddenly my closet was fully of flats and tasteful slacks. I can’t imagine wearing those old clothes and would probably break an ankle in those old heals. I barely have 20 minutes to get ready in the morning now and I would never want to sacrifice any of my other morning time for doing makeup and hair.
- Alone Time Is Vital
I used to be afraid of being alone, now I crave a little me time. I wish I could have known sooner the bliss of an afternoon alone reading a good book. The heaven of a couple hours in a hot bath and a cleansing face mask. Even just uninterruptedly watching a girly show without hearing complaints. I love my family and wouldn’t give up a minute of the time I spend with them but I appreciate alone time more than I ever could have imagined.
- It’s Ok To Be Selfish
I have never been one to think of myself first, or second, or at all… But I have recently learned that the advice of putting your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others is now joke. You can’t be a good spouse or parent or employee if you don’t take care of yourself. This is a hard one to accept, especially for women but we have to take care of ourselves too!
- There Are Different Depths Of Love
Again I didn’t truly learn this until my daughter was born. I love my parents and my siblings and that love is real but there is a deeper love. I love my dogs like they are a part of me. I don’t want to even consider the day they won’t be here anymore. I love my husband unlike I have ever loved another man. He is my soulmate in every way. The love I feel for my daughter is unlike anything I could have ever imagined. She is my whole world and has opened my eyes to the true depths of love.
These are the biggest lessons I learned in my 20’s. I know I have a lot more to learn and I am excited to see what my 30’s bring!
Bring on the 30’s!