*Outfit details in this post
I’ve been writing this post since May when I hit the big 3-0, but couldn’t manage to hit publish until now. Some silly life lessons, and some very real ones. Without further ado, here are 30 Things I Learned Before 30.
Timelines are BS.
Anyone who makes you feel like you’re “behind” in life should be ignored. Same with anyone who tells you that you should be this or that because of your age! Follow your gut, not theirs. As long as you are being considerate of the people in your life, you do you. I, for one, am not going to stop wearing girly outfits because I’m “too old” or feel bad about being unmarried/childless or change the way I write this blog because someone else thinks I should. That’s RIDICULOUS. Your life will progress in the way it should for you. Your 30 might not look the same as my 30 and that’s a-ok, folks.
Dreams change and that doesn’t mean you failed.
I was so set on being an actor for so long. Got into one of my dream schools for Musical Theatre, worked by booty off, moved to New York, got my equity card. I was on track to make this happen for myself… except for that one day when I realized that I was overwhelmingly unhappy. I could have been stubborn and told myself to stick out in the name of the dream… but that’s not what my gut or my heart was telling me. It was telling me to move somewhere else, explore other paths, and find something creative to love again. I was so afraid of “failing” or “quitting” at the time, but the life I have now is proof that this is where I’m supposed to be. How do you think I handled The Today Show so well?! All that on camera training, baby ?
You learn a lot from moving away.
I could have gone to college in Illinios, but something was pulling me away and I’m so glad I ended up going to Syracuse. I met most of my very best friends there, studied what I was passionate about, and really learned what it’s like to be on my own. Then I moved to NYC, and the REAL lessons came into play. How do I pay my bills? How do I make a shoebox sized room livable? When do I see my family? Haha that is a hard city to live in, but I’m immensely proud of the fact that I did it and made it work on my own. You learn to be resourceful and grateful… even if it’s not where you end up!
Chicago is my favorite city.
Even when New York was fun, it was still tough. But Chicago? Chicago and I just mesh. Moving here changed my life for the better, and I’m incredibly grateful to it (yes, a city) for helping me become who I am today.
Be confident, but stay humble.
Acknowledge how far you’ve come, but don’t’ forget that there is always more to learn. The moment you get cocky/think you know everything is the moment you start missing out.
Trust the process.
It can be hard when there is so much you want to do but you can’t quite get there – or when you want to stick to some sort of timeline and the universe just keeps making it difficult! I’ve been in that position a few times and it’s extremely frustrating. (To be honest, I’m still kind of there!) That being said, I’ve learned that as long as you work hard and listen to your gut, good things will happen for you. It might not be what you expected, but it could be even better.
Never stop learning.
Yoga, cooking, photography, blogging, writing, marketing… I didn’t go to college for any of that, nor was I good at any of them when I first started. You don’t need to be inherently good at everything. You just have to put in the work and simply start where you are.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine. It is not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson
Be as kind to yourself as you are to others.
My post about Ahimsa is one of my favorites for a reason… I think we all need a reminder to treat ourselves well every once in a while.
Yoga is the key to a LOT of things.
At least for me. Sure, it might not help you reach all of your lofty fitness goals, but it’s good for pretty much everything else. Physical strength, balance, stretching, sweating, mental clarity, spiritual connections. All of the above.
EVERYTHING IN BIG MAGIC.
You can read my favorite quotes/lessons in this post. Probably the most influential book I’ve ever read.
Health is more important than looks.
It took me a long time to figure out how to have a healthy body image. I still want skinnier arms, slimmer thighs, longer legs. I still wish I could eat whatever I wanted and look amazing! But when you strip away those superficial insecurities, you realize that eating well and exercising is more about being physically and mentally healthy – instead of just perfecting your outside appearance. I’m learning to respect my body, feed it well, make it stronger, and accept it’s flaws. And let me tell ya, it feels pretty good.
Stay in your own lane.
It’s so easy to play the comparison game in ALL areas of your life. Career, personal, social media, etc. I think that’s why I love blogging so much, because I set the rules! I’m usually most proud of the work I produce here when I’m not worried about what everyone else is doing. It doesn’t matter how many times someone else posts that week, or how many Instagram followers they spiked up to, or yada yada yada. It’s all irrelevant.
Doing anything to become “famous” is so silly.
Yes, blogging to become “famous” is included in that statement. If you want to be a blogger for “insta-fame” and free stuff, you’re in the wrong game. I started it because I needed something creative in my life, and then I fell in love with creating content for my own little corner of the internet. I also love love love connecting with YOU. ‘You’ as a reader, or ‘you’ as a new brand that I can help gain awareness, or ‘you’ as another blogger that I can learn from or even become friends with! That’s one of the coolest things about blogging for me.
Blogging can actually be a very lucrative business.
I know I put down blogging for fame above, but blogging to make a living? That’s totally different. It takes a crazy amount of work, hustle and commitment – but to create your dream job from scratch?! That’s pretty awesome. There is a LOT that goes into making this happen (and believe me, I’m still learning), but it can be done. Learning how to negotiate with brands, pitch to brands, utilize SEO to get page views up, leverage social media, review analytics, etc etc etc. I’m not the biggest blogger in the world, but I’ve turned this little dream into something I can really live off of soon!
Only follow people on social media who make you feel good about yourself.
I say this to people a lot. If you log on and feel bad about all of the engagement announcements or bikini photos or political rants or whatever – just unfollow them. Maybe don’t totally unfriend them on Facebook and cause a stir, but that “unfollow” button on the feed is quite handy! I’m not saying this to be mean or tell you to be unsupportive. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. I’m telling you this because if you only see posts that make you happy or more empowered, that can affect so many other aspects of your life and the way you interact with people.
Get positive energy, give positive energy.
Give positive energy, get positive energy. It’s all connected. And positivity is powerful stuff.
“When you change your focus from limitations to boundless possibilities, from doubt and fear to love and confidence, you open your world in entirely new ways. You stop worrying about fixing what’s wrong with you and start living from all that’s right within you.” – Baron Baptsiste
Friendships go through ups and downs.
My good friend once said that friendships “ebb and flow” and she’s so right. There will be seasons of your life when you are 100% on the same page, and seasons of your life when you have a hard time relating to each other. Both of those things are okay. If it’s a “forever friend,” you’ll always come back to each other.
You aren’t going to be best friends with everyone.
This has been extremely liberating for me in my adult life. You don’t need to invite everyone you meet further into your life. And that’s okay, especially if you can still find a way to be nice when you do see them. I personally think there is always an opportunity to choose kindness – and no, that does NOT make you fake or weak.
People come in and out of your life for a reason.
Cliché but true. This has been proven time and time again.
You can’t make someone love you the way you want them to.
When I went to France with my cousins, we drank wine at our Airbnb and literally shared life lessons one night. I dropped this little bit on knowledge and they were NOT expecting it ? But it’s very true! It hit me when I went through a big breakup at 25, because I never wanted to manipulate that boyfriend into considering marriage. And after that I never wanted to manipulate anyone else into ‘loving’ me, nor did I want to pretend I felt things for someone that I didn’t. Some people aren’t right for each other, some relationships are perfect immediately, and other relationships take time to figure out. All I know is that I want to end up with someone who wants to be with me more than anything in the world, and vice versa.
“Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the people you can, at all the times you can, as long as ever you can.”
Don’t be so quick to judge people.
You rarely know their whole story. They could be going through far more than you realize. Compassion, Compassion, Compassion.
Everyone makes mistakes.
Let me say that again: everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. Some mistakes are worse than others, but no one is perfect.
I love my family.
I’ve always loved them, but I definitely appreciate them more as I get older. It’s funny how much my relationships with my parents and siblings have shifted for the better as we’ve all grown older. *And yes when I say I love my family that includes all 3 pups we’ve had over the years! If I could extend this list to 31 lessons I’d include: Dogs really are the BEST ?
Always feeling the need to prove myself is exhausting.
Sometimes this makes me extremely motivated and productive, but sometimes it’s entirely counterproductive. I’ve realized that a lot of my need to “hustle” is rooted in insecurity… and I need to let go of that. Working hard to get what you want is one thing, but trying to prove that you’re worthy or smart or good enough all the time is another. Let’s all try to let that go. You are enough.
I’ll never stop eating pizza and pasta.
I mean… is there anything better?! Not only are they the most delicious things in the world, but I have so many family memories around simmering pasta sauces and pizza nights. I’ll always try to keep my eating habits in check, but cutting these out entirely will never happen. Now I just have to get myself to Italy this decade…
I finally took the Myers Briggs Personality Test a few months ago, and it was so spot on. From “seeks creative freedom” to being “highly emotional.” (Guilty!) I always thought being far more emotional than my family was a bad thing. But getting older (and learning how to control my feelings a bit), has made me see that there’s nothing wrong with being emotionally available as long as I have a handle on it. It just means that I make big decisions with my heart, and I feel strongly about compassion and creativity and self expression… Quite honestly, I really like most of those qualities now.
“The idea of bittersweet is changing the way I live, unraveling and reweaving the way I understand life. Bittersweet is the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul. Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through, what helps us earns the lines on our faces and the calluses on our hands. Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity. Bittersweet is courageous, gusty, earthy. So this is the work I’m doing now, and the work I invite you into: when life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.” – Shauna Niequist