The dirty 30s— not just a reference for the most brutal survivalist years of the Great Depression, but also fitting for anyone who is entering, mid-way, or exiting this decade of life. Your 30s are the most hectic and growth-filled block of years. It’s this pivotal 10-year span of time that you will process what’s happened to you so far. More important, it’s inside these years that you can define what you WANT to happen to you, next. Here is where you’ll: change old patterns, discard what doesn’t work for you, plant new-idea seeds, and continue to nurture all the hard work you’ve already laid down. Roll up your sleeves, it’s time to get dirty, and time to evaluate your life.
30 Life-Audit Thoughts:
How does holding onto the negativity that bad-blood comes with, help you? It doesn’t. Have you done something that you’re not proud of? Probably. And now’s the time to let it all go. Forgive others, forgive yourself, and get better instead of bitter.
2. Stop Wondering if you’ll find that special someone.
Believe it or not, you only need YOU to be happy. Lasting love comes into your life—when you’re ready for it. It’s not magic. It really works this way. Real love requires you to be good at giving and receiving. Take a look at this— maybe you’re strong with only one, of those important love qualities? In the meantime, make you happy. Do you, and have fun doing you!
If you haven’t had much time, money or cared to; add travel on your list. Think soul-nurturing, mind-expanding travel—not boozy friends in Mexico travel. You should have had your fill of that kind of travel by now. If not, it’s kinda sad to see older drunk singles around resorts, just saying. Think about where you want to go, pay a deposit if it’s pricey, and start working on a travel plan. Deposits allow you to minimally invest while saving to fund it. Give yourself lots of time to get to your goal. Set up a savings jar in everyday sight. Consider short local trips to places you’d never usually go. Get out there. Learn something from it. Treasure what you’ve learned from it.
4. Let go of what you wish your body looked like.
This is the time where you need to embrace what it is or do something about it. Your body gets you to all the places you want to go, it’s an amazing machine just the way it is. Book that boob job, or go to the gym, or don’t. Either case, make a decision. Why, would you finally get the boob job that you’ve always wanted, in your 50s? You probably won’t want to do this by then—missed opportunities suck.
5. Seeking parental approval or approval from anyone.
If you’ve been busy busting your butt to make your own life better, and your folks still criticize your every move; then chances are it’s them. It only matters that you think that you’re a good person. Take stock of your accomplishments, and keep that tucked under your pillow every night.
6. Be more local.
The desire to explore the world in broad, is high in your 20s. You want to get away, go far, and learn far-out concepts. But in your 30s try to crank it back to what is going on in your local environments. Local issues, politics, food and local events are newly interesting at this time. You can build a great life by what’s offered right around you. Pay attention, and get involved maybe?
7. Invest in your tribe.
Look at who has been there for you, and give back to them. How can you be of service or help them? There’s always been people helping you, pay attention to who they are. We can get used to helpers and take them for granted. Sprinkle gratitude everywhere. Coins in the karma bank, right?!
8. Let go of the need to please.
While busy making it rain for others—your kids, spouse or boss; it’s time to stop saying “yes” when often, you truly wish to opt out of something that isn’t suiting your schedule or values. Don’t feel bad about it.
9. Look at your personal finance plan.
Don’t have one? By now, it’s your last stop at the train station to get on it. Don’t stress, there’s still time. Avoidance can rob you of easily growing your wealth. Compound interest is your youthful friend. Grow with it. There’s a financial advisor on every street corner these days, walk into any one of them to get started. They’ll be more able to help you, if you’re not starting to consider your financial security at 42 years old.
10. Have kids if you always wanted to.
Your sluggish sperm and ageing eggs, aren’t going to produce rockstar-gene offspring unless you factor your age into this important decision. Luckily, nowadays, families come from every angle of structure. Don’t have a partner but are financially stable and strong? Have at it. Also, you and your spouse will never find the “right” time, if that’s your plan. There’s never a “right” time to have kids. If you want this, you just have to get on it. Everyone who has tried to perfectly plan out having kids (and failed), will attest to this.
11. Setting expectation where it doesn’t belong.
Know that expectation is the root of all disappointment. Do you place expectation on things like dating, your 3 year old’s behaviour, or hope that your spouse will change? You may be setting yourself up to deal with a painful puddle of goo, if something doesn’t work out the way you expected. While it’s important to place some expectations on a desired outcome; knowing that you won’t fall apart if your plan doesn’t go as planned, will make you feel like a confident super hero. Bring it on life, and your many anomalies!
12. Some people will never make sense to you.
This is A-okay! Instead of getting frustrated by this, embrace the weird of everyone you meet. Respect what makes them tick, even if it’s not your flavour. When you change this, you enjoy so much more of what you were blinded by difference, to appreciate. You don’t have to love everything about someone to love them. Appreciation of others, is not an all or nothing game.
13. Protect your time fiercely.
Time bandits! They’re everywhere—lurking about-trying to guilt you into spending time on them, when you don’t want to, or can’t. Your kids’ teacher who gives you the stink-eye because you didn’t choose to participate in the tenth classroom volunteer opportunity of the year? Let it go. You know that you do what you can, when you can. Too often, you are committing time that you don’t have to give. Stop doing that.
14. Invest your money in experiences rather than things.
This approach is far more rewarding and personally fulfilling than what purchasing another sports car, can ever give you. Find a balance between stuff and adventures if money is tight. If money isn’t tight, then aces! Buy the car AND go on that trip—you’re 30, fierce, and you own your life!
15. Stop apologizing.
Sure, if you did something wrong, or you’re truly sorry for something you did—pipe up. Too often, we say “sorry” for things, we didn’t do wrong, or don’t feel sorry for. Own that. You’re nobody’s doormat.
16. Know that you weren’t born to just pay bills and die.
If your family is young, and you’re just getting somewhere with your career, you may feel incredible pressure to throw down and provide. You’ll lose yourself and your connection to your family, if you don’t pay attention to special times that happen while you are in your hectic, prime earning years. This is a family’s greatest threat, and a one way ticket to dysfunctional divorce land. Have fun, lighten up; more than once in a while. Drop your serious face, and engage with what matters.
17. Cultivate real confidence.
Your 20s are often a fake-it-‘til-you-make-it time. You became so good at portraying confidence to get that job or to get the girl. But, did any of this fake-confidence get you somewhere? You’ve lived long enough now, that you need to look at what you are truly proud of yourself for accomplishing, and draw real confidence from that. True confidence shines out of your eyeballs like an incredibly inviting beacon.
18. Stop comparing yourself to anyone.
Oh, indeed, it’s tempting to peek over at what our friends are doing—or anyone else that we admire, and measure ourselves. Stop this. It’s completely useless, it breeds jealousy, and can make you feel inferior. You know that things aren’t always as they appear with your friends, or ANYONE on Instagram. So, why go there? You know better. Keep on doing you!
19. Know that what other people think of you…is none of your business.
It’s hard to let this go; especially if someone doesn’t like you and you don’t know why. Understandable. But, you can’t change anyone’s mind, and it’s a fools game to try to do so. *Hint, you’re the fool if you engage in this. You know that you’re a good person, and so do the people who love you!
20. Consider your friend quality.
Your dad was probably right when it came to criticizing that “no-good-friend-of-yours,” Jimmy, who’s always in trouble. Fast forward to 30, Jimmy is probably still the same troublemaker, but now he’s an old troublemaker. You can still be friends with Jimmy and love his adorable misunderstood life; but maybe you need to add some distance between you and Jim Bean, for your own good, and maybe for his, too. Maybe he does what he does because he thinks you like it? If you love Jimmy, have your best interest, and his, at heart.
21. Quit hiking the trail of “almost relationships”.
Our generation comes after parents that had high divorce stats. Naturally, we’re scared. We’ve seen and lived first-hand the pain of coming from a broken family. But if you really love someone, and they love you back, and you’ve got a few years together; don’t be afraid to dive into commitment water. Stringing good people along because you’re never ready to commit, is not healthy or fair. Don’t waste their time by selfishly keeping them “sort of” with you. Commit or let them go. Don’t be a coward with matters of the heart.
22. Wondering if you’re “settling”.
Fearing that you may have “settled” for something, is often disguised as aftermath of regular decision making. It’s normal to fear that you may have made a wrong decision. You’re going to make a lot of them, if you’re a human being. By 30, you need to know that you’re never stuck, and that you’re not a tree. Think deeply about making a change, then make the change. What a wonderful concept to know and super-hero skill to have.
23. Stop talking about your dreams, and start making them a reality.
If a dream is important to you, then it’s important—end of story. Everyone who hesitates to act on their dreams, year after year, is usually wondering if what they’d love to do, is valuable, or worth the risk. Fear of your ideas not being accepted, or fear of failure are trip-ups, that you don’t need. Get over these fears. You can do anything that you want in life, just like your momma said. This rings true now, just as it did when you were a kid. Don’t be afraid to get married, start your business, or live adventurously. First step is scariest, after that—it’s not so scary.
24. Being embarrassed by what you don’t have.
It can make you feel below the grade when you don’t have the life or the things that your circle of friends has. Chances are they’re not making you feel bad about this-you are. Also know that many people willingly give up what seems like everything they had, to pursue real happiness. None of these folks complain about the loss, they celebrate the gain. This could be you.
25. Learn to let go of things not meant for you.
Have you ever been so sure that you were on the right path, and all of a sudden you’re now popped-out into WTF just happened land? Maybe it was with a lover or a career opportunity. When this happens, evaluate the hows and whys of what honestly went wrong—of whatever it was that you thought would complete you. Many times, you’ll conclude that this something was not meant for you to begin with. This is a top critical thinking skill used to process what it really means to move on.
Ugh, this one is universally hard! In an age of instant gratification—and our addiction to it, it’s hard to just wait something out. You feel like your kids are going to be toddlers forever sometimes, and that you’ll never get the job that you’re really grinding hard for. Time is a cruel mistress, but she always pulls through if you keep up the work at your end. Kids grow up eventually, hard work pays off and ships always come into the harbour. Keep going, you’ll get there too.
27. Clean up your garbage can body.
We know that you’re proud of your amazing metabolism; and that you can eat, drink, party and smoke as much as you like. But, making a few small changes in your 30s can set you up for long-term health to enjoy well into your grey years. Healthy lifestyle changes needn’t be daunting, start by committing to one small change that leads into another. Think more about the future damage you may be causing to your body. This goes for people who like too much filler and Botox too *wink*.
28. Gives yourself closure on everything that lingers.
Coming from such a messed up dating culture filled with ghosting and bread-crumbing, you need to know that you just won’t be able to hear the apology you’ve been waiting for, sometimes. Some people are dicks, and they’re never sorry—or they are sorry, but will be too cowardly to verbalize it to you. Don’t wait around. Make peace with what you can understand about them, and let the rest go. Do a little ritual of burning a treasured item or whatever you need to do, to give yourself closure.
29. Be more interesting & share.
Know some stuff, about stuff? Awesome! Time to share your thoughts; if it helped you, it may help someone else. If you’ve learned something that is not proprietary, such as a yogic concept from your last trip to Nepal; then consider sharing your mind-altering nugget of knowledge. We’re all connected, and we can add so much value to our existence by sharing our thoughts, observations and lessons learned with others freely. Ever been accused of being basic? This is the counter measure to fix that. Less me, more we.
30. Seriously, it’s time to pick a few things and stick with them.
This is a tough one for older millennials. “Wha? I can’t just mess around forever?!” Yikes, these over-30-millennials with zero direction are annoying to everyone. Big group eye-roll, everybody. How are tomorrow’s babies going to be born if you guys don’t participate? How are those cool new business start-ups going to happen? Look inward—what do you REALLY like to do with your time? Do those things, and move out of your parents basement suite. Boom, now you have some passion which leads to direction. We’re over here, cheering you on!
This might seem like a tall order to fill, but you’ve learned so much by just making it to 30. It’s definetly, time to tweak your fabulosity, embrace your flawsome, and re-introduce yourself—to yourself. Stop kicking your own tires with indecision. Better get on it, if it’s in fact true what they say—that real life begins in your 40s?! Ay yi yai, sweet mother.of.mercy!