Hello friends, family, furry fuzzes, fuzzy furries, and frosty philanthropists,
It’s that time yet again! Ah, the sweet relief of fall. It’s also a time when a new chapter in my life is about to being… the next decade! WHAAAAT!?
I’ve come to grips with it: I’m old, and my friends are old. Try talking to a 17 or 18 year old about life before 1998 and their eyes glaze over. Don’t even bother trying to explain to someone born in 2008 that there actually was a civilized world before Google, Angry Birds, or Instagram. They simply won’t believe you, especially when their gripe of the day is that the WiFi is too slow… *face palm*
I’ve read a lot of articles on things to do before you turn 30. Most of them totally suck, let’s be honest. I did find two (below) that actually focused on things that matter more than superficial ones, so those are worth a share, but mostly I decided to make my own list.
And without delay, how to crush being 30:
- Learn to admit when you’re wrong/don’t know – perhaps the single greatest lesson to take into your 30s is admitting when you’re wrong (trust me: you’ll be wrong). In the professional world, you will garner some major kudos for admitting you botched something or need time to find an answer. Don’t underestimate the power of this attribute. Also, take the high road for heaven’s sake, people.
- Do something you aren’t great at and stick with it – It’s easy to do activities that you’re great at. It’s like going fast down a hill on a bike… Of course you can cruise at 40 mph but do you have the tenacity to turn right back around grind out the thee miles you just went screaming down? There is much to be learned from persevering through something that you don’t naturally have a talent for.
- Work on your empathy – I wish I could say that I’m a good empathizer. I’m not. However, the ability to listen to and relate to other’s problems will set you up for success from a relationship and career standpoint. Ever had a conversation with someone and they said you’re such a great listener? Keep that up. All you have to do is use your ears twice as much as your mouth, and listen with a genuine ear.
- Develop routines – You are now so far out of college that you should have some super legitimate routines established. Band practice, swimming mornings, run club, chess competitions – you should have your habits and your scheduling abilities sharpened to a point where you keep life organized and flowing smoothly. Don’t forget to be spontaneous too, though.
- Ditch the soda – Don’t put this crap in your body. It will thank you… heck, I’ll even thank you. Your dentist will definitely thank you.
- Make reading a habit – Not enough people spend quality time with their nose in a good book. Fiction or non-fiction, it doesn’t matter, but exercise that gray matter!
- Start getting up two hours before having to be at work – Successful people (ones with solid routines who exercise) rise with enough time before work to eat breakfast, work out, read, yoga, or just prep for the day. The fewer decisions you have to make in the morning, the more energy you conserve for decision making later in the day.
- Exercise – I don’t know how society ever got away with thinking that not exercising is OK. I find zero reason for people not to get 30 minutes a day of some kind of activity. Go swim, walk the dog, bowl, play tennis, hike, garden, lift weights – seriously, just pick something that gets you off the couch!
- Accomplish a great physical feat – Maybe you ran a half marathon, participated in a week long hike in Peru, went bungee jumping, or took surfing lessons. Do something craaaaaazy! And then get the pictures of you doing something crazy.
- Stop eating out so much – Common sense will tell you that it’s easier to eat out than to cook at home. But practicality will win on that one! Plan out your week’s worth of meals, learn to cook new things (try using a cooking torch on something), and enjoy healthier food. Plus it sets up good time with friends or family when you socialize a meal. You can use all that saved cash to go on your next international trip! And don’t even think about watching the TV while doing eat… and speaking of tube…
- Watch less TV – If you haven’t figure out by now that the world is an exciting and fascinating place, go figure it out! Stop wasting five hours binge watching Netflix and go explore the unknown. Shows and/or movies have their time and place, and that time and place should be limited.
- Live in another country – Be brave and go live somewhere else, especially if they don’t speak your language! It’s a wonderful way to figure out who you are, make lifelong friends, and experience a whole new culture or four.
- Study another language – While you’re living somewhere else you might as well pick up their language. I do regret not being bilingual, but I have picked up tiny bits of French, Spanish, Italian, Thai, and Greek along the way. If you speak 2 or 3 or 7 languages, you can live wherever the heck you want (see the previous bullet).
- Travel the world – Travel, travel, travel, and travel some more! Yes, you may have a job and mortgage and responsibilities but use those vacation days! Your home country is comfortable (aka boring) so go find something adventurous. I only have two continents left (including Antarctica) so we will see which happens first.
- Find “the one” (pet) – Everyone needs a creature to care for, incorporate into your life, be friends with, and have a companion to talk to. Who better than a fluffy dog? Or maybe some furry fancy rats :D I have great memories with my pets, and they really are part of your family.
- Change jobs – Take a risk and career hop at least once or twice or three times. It’s a great way to build new skills, meet people, and get outside of your comfort zone.
- Travel alone – Since you just changed jobs, give yourself an extra two weeks before you have to be at your new cubicle and go to the far reaches of civilization. Perhaps a dip at the Great Barrier Reef! You’ll meet people along the way, and can find the types that you like to talk to (genuine, low key, bring-a-book-to-the-beach kind of people for me).
- Get stitches/break some bones/some other kind of trouble – I’ve got some great stories involving stitches, a broken nose, and a raccoon. It builds character! Everyone needs some battle scars at some point.
- Fail at a lot of things – Failing often and getting back up is the foundation for eventually winning. Find some of the most interesting people in your life and they will tell you hundreds of stories of them failing, and yet each of those stories somehow points to their success.
- Go to the symphony – Come on people, at least pretend you’re cultured! Dress up (yes, a tux guys) and take your lady out for a sophisticated evening of beautiful instrumental melodies stroking your ear drums.
- Save your money – if you haven’t started this by 30, then you may be up a creek. Ideally you started this at 18, but if you didn’t – get crackin’! Don’t know what a 401k is? Better get it together.
- Cultivate your sense of humor – If you can’t laugh at yourself then everyone else will. Sure, you’re embarrassed but laugh it off and move along. It will make a great story.
- Know who you are and how to find your happy place – You should know what stresses you out, what makes you content, how you decompress, what you like to do with your free time, and what brings you true joy in life.
- Embrace your weaknesses – If anyone knows you well, it’s yourself, so you should (by now) know your weaknesses and how to cope with them. Plus, you should be very comfortable finding ways to turn them into strengths.
- Engage with the world around you – Don’t be a lump on the log. Be an engaged citizen. A traveler. A purveyor of fine wine. An adventure. Whatever “it” is – go out and do it!
- Find the wise ones – by this stage in your life, you should realize that age has absolutely nothing to do with friendship. Find the people who are much older (read: wiser) than you, talk to them about the issues you’re encountering. Guaranteed they’ll have some good insights. Plus, you’ll be able to encourage and help them with a different perspective as well. You never know when you’ll need to be a mentor *cough* Sunday school teaching with 4 to 8 year olds! AHHH!!
- Learn something new every single day – My parents really emphasized this in our home growing up. A day without learning is a day wasted. Go out of your way to learn one (or many) things every single day for the rest of your entire life.
- Admit that you don’t know much about the world – The more I learn the less I know. How very true… be bold in your decisions, trust your significant other, and press on through the unknown.
This next chapter will be full of exciting new things, some daunting, some already very familiar, and I’m excited for what it brings. Should still be plenty of races left in this next decade ;-)
So now, as always, Isaiah 40:31 seems to end my 20’s on a very appropriate note:
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Happy Monday, peeps. Go enjoy the wonderful creation. See you on the other side…