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I thought about making this post more of a 30 things I learned before 30. Really, its a nice mixture of thoughts of mine and things I’ve learned. Its’ not meant to necessarily be advice and I definitely don’t think I have it all figured out. It’s just a nice way to reflect and share 30 random thoughts or lessons on my 30th birthday. If you can take something positive away from this, great. If not, then at least maybe you learned a little bit more about me! If you don’t care about either of those, then I’m sorry!! Go eat some cake and drink some champagne in honor of my birthday.
First things first, let’s talk about this little dress. Isn’t it the perfect party dress?! It made me feel like my inner Carrie Bradshaw was coming out and I just wanted to twirl around or strut down the street. I think it’s so fun! I dressed it up with heels, some statement earrings, and a clutch. If you’re in need of a little statement dress or party dress, this is THE one to get.
1. Age really is just a number.
I’ve known 20 years olds that act like my parents and my friend’s parents who act like my friends. Age is just a number. It is what you make it. Sure, naturally things happen as you get older, but I don’t get “sad” about turning another year older. That phrase right there is the also what I think needs to change. I prefer to say that I’ve earned another year. That perspective is amazing and really reframes my mind set. I love to think about all the things I hope to accomplish in the next year and reflect on all I have in the last one. While some people may look at things and feel sad that they aren’t where they thought they would be by a certain age, I’ve learned that you can make plans, but I don’t like putting time limits on things. I prefer to see how things are in the short term, because I’ve definitely learned that things change and plans change.
2. The hard times push you forward.
Everyone has their hard times and while I think they are all based on perspective, I’ve learned that some of my biggest trials really have help to shape me for the best. I am a stronger person for the challenges I’ve faced and I can’t think of a time when truly, in the long run, things don’t end up okay and I don’t end up better for what I learn through the experience. Whether you learn who is really there for you, or what you’re truly capable of, or what kind of qualities you want to develop in yourself, you’ll learn something and you’ll make it through.
3. You can’t fill others’ cups if yours is empty.
You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself first. Whether this is your health, your mental well being, or your own needs. You have to make time for yourself so that you can help and be there for others.
4. People will disappoint you.
People will let you down. They will hurt you, make you feel unimportant, shock you with what they say, not be there for you when you think they should. Sometimes, you might just not be a priority for them. Others, it really may have nothing to do with you. They may just be more selfish. They may have more on their plate at the time. Whatever the reason, it will happen. How you handle it is up to you! I like to take it as lessons for the future. At times, after enough times or after a big enough instance, it’s been what I’ve needed to move on from that relationship. Others, its been a growing point for either myself or the relationship.
5. You make time for what is important to you.
I’m a firm believer that if it’s important to you, you’ll make time for it. If not, you’ll make excuses. Even if something isn’t done at 100% or isn’t right on time, if it means something, you’ll get it done. My oh my has planning a destination wedding brought a whole new perspective to this one. Almost to the point of it being shocking. Regardless, it’s a lesson learned and it even reminds myself that it’s essential to prioritize.
6. Priorities change.
I meaaan, c’mon. When I look back at my priorities from college to know it’s insane. While everyone’s priorities change at different times whether it’s due to life situations, what you’ve learned, or just who you are, they eventually change in some capacity. It’s okay. Keep whats most important in sight and go from there for the little things that come up in between.
7. You can do it all, just not all at once.
This is super hard for this Type A girl, When I look at how I function, I notice that prioritizing and completing tasks a little at a time is the best bet for me. Putting a little effort into a bunch of things doesn’t work as well for me when I can just prioritize my effort and time into higher priority things, cross them off my to do list (if possible) and get it done. Some times I have to sacrifice a workout to spend time with friends. Sometimes a blog post goes up late so I can get more sleep. It all gets done, just not at the same time.
8. You can change. You can also apologize for what you said/did before you changed.
I’ll be the first to say that I’m blunt. It may not always be well received, but it almost always comes from a place of honesty, something that I appreciate. There may have been times when I wasn’t the nicest I could have been to others or I may have gotten caught up in some of the drama here and there. I could not care less about so many of those things now. I changed. Not everyone does. Some women (and even men) will live in “high school” gossip land forever. The constant talking behind someone’s back. The constant he-said-she-said. I’ve learned that everyone grows out of this at different times and some never do. I’ve witness middle-aged women engaging in this behavior. I’ve learned that it’s just not for me. I may not have the perfect opportunity to apologize to anyone along the way that I acted in a less than favorable manner towards, but should I have that opportunity, I’d like to. Just like I don’t expect an apology for every time I was on the receiving end of this behavior (or will continue to be, I’m sure) I think this leads me to my next point.
9. Learn to accept an apology you never got.
We don’t always know when we hurt others. Even if you are open with someone about something they did or said being hurtful, you don’t always get an apology. The person may not see things from your perspective. They might not even admit what they did that hurt you. Therefore, I’ve learned It’s best sometimes just to move on without receiving the apology. Sometimes it may give you perspective on the relationship for the future if nothing else, But, learning to accept the apology you didn’t get will leave you at peace much more than if you sit around hoping or waiting for it.
10. You only get one body. Take care of it.
It took me about 25 years to learn that you get out of your body what you put into it. Whether this is workouts, food, whatever. I started making slow, healthier choices around the age of 25 (far too late, but also, better late than never) and have continued to try to make little changes here and there since. I’ve learned the little changes have big results over time. Every time I want to skip a workout, or cut one short, I remind myself that I’m only cheating myself. It’s cliché, but true. I truly believe food is either our safest and most powerful form of medicine or our slowest poison. While I’m all for exercise and healthy eating, I also think it’s important to live a little and indulge.
11. Balance is key.
I’ve done nine Whole 30s (one of which ended yesterday). I know all about restriction and saying no to something when you’re craving it. I also know I couldn’t live this way 365. For example, I realllllly want to stop eating sugar. However, my birthday is today and I might want a macaroon or a cupcake from my favorite bakery to celebrate. Without these indulgences here and there, mentally I think I’d lose it. Typically, I like to keep it as healthy as possible during the week and then indulge one, two, or even three times on the weekend. If I’m out of town on vacation (like my upcoming three weeks in Italy and Greece) I’m going to indulge alll day every day. I’m going to enjoy myself! When I get back, I’ll balance it out again. Not only for your body, but for your mentality, I believe balance is key when it comes to healthy eating, exercise, and really all things in life. Party one night, sleep the next. Spend time with friends, spend time alone. Shop, save. It really applies to all things!
12. FOMO isn’t as big of a deal if you’re happy with yourself.
We all get a little FOMO (fear of missing out) here and there. I get FOMO over food, big events, or trips. I don’t get FOMO on a random fun Friday night friends had out while I was at home on the couch. I’ve had tons of fun Fridays out. I’ll have plenty more. When I choose to stay home and spend time with my family or by myself, I don’t have FOMO, because I am happy spending time by myself. I look forward to it and enjoy it! I mean full on sitting at home not asking what everyone is doing that night. This used to not be the case and I always wanted to be out and about so I didn’t miss anything. I used to hate being sick when I was younger because I didn’t want to miss something at school. Not just academics, but more so the social aspect of it. Getting older and more mature has made me happier to spend time alone, and less concerned about what everyone else is doing. I get sad sometimes missing big events in my the lives of my friends when we live far apart or other things, but I don’t fear missing out on the day to day because I’m content with what I’ve chosen to do instead.
13. Travel feeds the soul. Experiences > Things.
I am a travel junkie. I want to go (almost) everywhere. I have never learned more about myself and obviously, others than when I travel. I truly believe its the only thing we can buy that makes us richer. It almost puts you in your place and makes you realize what a small spot in this world you occupy. It forces you to learn more about you AND whoever you travel with.
14. Eating is one of the best ways to experience a new place.
I love to eat my way through cities and from my experience, eating my way through a city or a country is one of the best ways to experience it. I love to try new foods, eat authentic dishes, see how things are prepared, and experience the scene of restaurants. You can discover so much about a culture. For example, when you go to Italy, meals are drawn out and longer. They aren’t rushed. This is the epitome of Italian culture and I love experiencing it! You get such a great social understanding when you eat out in a city and I love that. From a hole in the wall locals bar to street food, to the nicest restaurant in the city, you learn so much from each experience.
15. Learning new things should never stop.
Everything from random facts to new recipes to new skills makes you grow. I love to learn. I always say if I win the lottery I’ll be a forever student and will travel the world in my time off from school. Most recently, I’ve been learning more about photography which is something I am not only so passionate about, but something that you can use throughout life. From taking photos when I travel, to documenting new recipes, to helping me remember family members, photography challenges me again and again. From there, I’m learning new ways to edit, new equipment, and more. There are so many fun ways to learn more, but I love the challenge it continues to provide me. It not only keeps your mind active, but it helps you from getting too comfortable in any aspect of life.
16. You have to put yourself out there.
Writing a blog sure teaches you to get over what people say or think about you! There are so many amazing businesses, ideas, or relationships that started with someone putting themselves out there. I’m sure someone wasn’t supportive in the beginning. I’m sure the person was scared or nervous depending on the situation. I’m sure they failed. They may have tried again, they may not have. I’ve learned that you don’t know until you try and it takes guts to try. There have been times putting myself out there and showing up at an event I knew no one at led to a new best friend (and an entire new group of friends). There were times before that I left wondering what the heck I was doing and feeling so alone. If you continue to try, I believe you’ll eventually get some positivity out of you effort and that good things come to those who wait, who try, and who work hard.
17. Some people just won’t like you.
It’s easier just to accept not that not everyone will like you and be okay with that. Most of the time, it has nothing to do with you and you’ll be much happier not worrying about it.
18. You can choose what to do with your insecurities.
Everyone has them. I’ve found it’s best to use them for motivation. I felt insecure about my arms, I work them out more. If I feel insecure about something else, I use it as an opportunity to grow. You’ll come across people who use their insecurities to bring others down or that project them on to other people. Ignore them and use yours to better yourself.
19. Ultimately, your own validation is most important.
You can’t sit around waiting from someone to congratulate you, tell you you’re pretty, compliment you on your hard work in the gym, or to thank you for something that you go out of your way at work.
20. It’s okay to change your mind.
Whether this is with something as little as what you want to eat or something as big as your career. No matter how much time you think you have or don’t have, it’s important to do what makes you happy. If this means completely changing your mind, then I say go for it. I always wanted to do more with my passion for photography and fashion, so I started a blog. Would it have been better to start it when I was an early-twenty-something? Maybe. But, I didn’t. If you change your mind about something bigger that affects other people, that might lead to an uncomfortable conversation or a struggle to get them to understand.
21. Do you.
You have to do what makes you happy. Not only so you can take care of others as noted above, but so you’re happy. Buy what you want. Travel where you want. Choose the career path you want. Even if others aren’t supportive or don’t understand, your happiness is ultimately what you’re in charge of and what matters. I’m not saying completely disregard others, but be sure that you’re focusing on what you need and want, too.
22. Invest in yourself.
It’s amazing what a facial or a mani/pedi can do for you. Investing in my skin specifically has not only led to me feeling better and more confident in the day to day, but has made me feel all around better. Taking time to invest in your skin or to pamper yourself a little here and there is important. Take some time for you. Take a trip with your girlfriends. Go to a nice dinner. Whatever it is, you’re worth it!
23. It’s the little things.
While it’s important to invest in yourself, this doesn’t have to be something that sets you back. Something as simple as a new candle, fresh flowers, a marathon of your favorite show, or your favorite dessert can do the trick. Same goes with other people. A sweet note left for your significant other in the morning before you leave for work, their favorite drink at the end of a long day, or cleaning your house so they don’t have to. For your friends, a sweet text to let them know you’re thinking of them or a little thoughtful gift to let them know you care can go a long way. The little things are what matters and what keep us going in the day to day.
24. Take it one day at a time.
Crossing off today’s to do list and moving what doesn’t get done today to tomorrow or the next day sometimes helps our mindset. Taking things one day at a time helps us focus on the present and live a less stressful life.
25. Be grateful.
I mean you really have two choices: you can focus on what you have or focus on what you don’t. Having a positive mindset is a choice, and some days a hard one, but being grateful makes you see all that you have. Working in a day job like mine really makes me stop and put things into perspective regularly, which I am so thankful for. Writing down five things a day that you’re thankful for can help shift your mindset or just making a more conscious effort to turn things positively. I play a game with some of the kids I do counseling with where we either put a positive spin on any statement or try to find the bright side of something. It can be a challenge with some things and on some days, but it’s a choice that I believe will ultimately leave you with a more grateful heart.
26. It’s okay to move on.
Whether it’s from toxic relationships or friendships, from times in your life, from jobs, from habits… whatever it is, if it no longer serves you and no longer challenges you or is positive, move on. Some people seem to always have drama or bring you down or whatever, if you notice this, it’s okay to get some distance. It doesn’t mean you need some knock out drag down fight to end the relationship, just take your space and move on naturally as needed.
27. It’s okay to say “no” and be picky with your time.
It’s limited for everyone, so choose what you give it to. There are times I say no to going out because it’s a larger group thing and I don’t want to spend time with everyone in the group, so I wait until another time. I’d rather invest my time with those I really care about. Just as I mentioned above with ‘FOMO’ and learning to love yourself, you should love what you’re doing with your time. Free time is so precious and you should spend yours doing things that make you feel good and that help you grow.
28. Loving others is the most rewarding thing.
From my almost husband to our dog, there is nothing more rewarding than making them happy. Rescuing a dog is one of the best things we’ve done. The amount of joy she brings into our day to day lives is insane. I never want a time in my life without an animal (or two) again. From friends to family and all the little things in between, finding things you love and investing time into them is so important.
29. Quality over quantity.
Perhaps the biggest lesson learned in the world of friendship or relationships. It speaks for itself and it’s oh so true. As I said above, investing time in those you love most is so important. Because our time is so limited, its much easier to spread your time between a few amazing friends than between tons of decent ones. There are some people who are just there for you no matter what or no matter how much time has passed and that is a truly special relationship.
30. Be fine with being wrong.
It happens to us all. We are all wrong at times. Whether it’s over something stupid that we Google and find out or whether we completely go down a wrong path in life. We all make mistakes. Forgive yourself. Admit and accept it. I’m fully prepared to make many more mistakes in my life and that’s just a part of it.
I’m sure I’ll look back at this 30 for 30 in a few months or years and laugh because my mind set on some things will be different, but that’s just part of getting older, maturing, and learning. I truly feel like every year has gotten better, which makes me look forward to them. I can’t wait to see what the next month, year, and decade hold.
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For now, I’m off to eat cake and drink champagne because it’s been 30 days without it and.. it’s my birthday and I can do what I want! XO