DIRTY 30 – LIFE LESSONS
When I was 18, I thought by the time I was 24 I’d be married, have my own successful business, have two kids and life would be good. 24 seemed so far away then, plenty of time I thought.
By the time I got to 24, I was busting at the seams to travel, experience life, new ideas, make lots of money and I certainly didn’t want to settle down. I was living on my own, “miss independent” and life couldn’t get any better.
Or could it?
In my 29th year, I started to question and think differently about a lot of things. It’s interesting just how much perceptions change with time and experiences.
Here’s my 10 key life lessons as I enter my 30’s.
Lesson #1 – How precious life is.
Turning 29 was the first time I ever thought about the reality of death and dying. Sorry to start off on a somber note, but it’s true!
I was actually at my sister’s place, and I happen to look over at my Mum. Now for anyone who’s met my Mum, she’s the most amazing woman you’ll ever meet. Kind, caring, understanding, patient, loving, unconditional and just always there for us.
It was the first time I thought, what would I do without her? And it totally freaked me out. I actually was dying and the thought of her dying.
And it started to really make me think about life and death, and just how important it is to be in the moment with those you love. Not to take it for granted.
And since that moment, I have started to change the way I am present when I’m with my family. And have started to communicate my appreciation for when they might do things for me. In the past, I might give a hug here and there, and not think twice about it.
But now, I make an effort to express my love and try to be present when I’m with my family and friends. And I want to make sure that if anyone’s time is up, everyone knows just how much they are loved.
Lesson # 2 – The importance of doing what you love, or to create a plan to eventually do what you love.
I have always been super ambitious. Like ridiculously. I’ve had to win at everything. Fill my cabinet with awards, be the best swimmer, runner, debater, leader etc etc.
And right up until 29, I was focused on progression and getting higher and higher. Who isn’t in the corporate world right?
And to be honest, I didn’t see myself as truly “happy” until I got to the top. Which could be years away. That’s what’s known as the “Entrepreneurs Happiness Gap”.
Here I was striving for progression, all the while missing out on the journey.
But, one day I started to think about happiness and fulfillment. Was this seriously all worth it? I think it happened when I started to think about dying!
But a very different type of success that people in the corporate world don’t really talk about. Not because they don’t want you to be happy, but because truly asking people if they are feeling fulfilled and are happy isn’t a typical conversation that happens. Why? Who knows. I’m sure once Gen Y’s take over, it will be different 😉
But I then started to read so many books and thought leaders on the subject like Daniel La Porte – The Desire Map, Connie Chapman, Robin Sharma…
Key question to ask yourself… If you could do anything and money wasn’t an issue, what would you do?
If it’s what you’re doing then amazing. But if it’s not, I recommend building a plan to make it more a part of your life.
And if I’m ever stuck making a decision, I always as myself… If you were to look back in a year or 10 years’ time, would you regret not giving it a go? Your answer becomes so obvious with this one.
Lesson #3 – How I want my marriage to be forever.
During my 20’s I was up and down with relationships. I was in a long term relationship that at one point I genuinely thought was the love of my life. The rest, were me not following my instincts and seeing the signs early on that they weren’t right for me. They were all nice guys, but the dynamic between these guys was a bit of a disaster. Didn’t bring out the best in me.
But what I did learn through all of these is to not settle for anything less than what you really want. And true love does take time, so be patient in finding it and be patient in nurturing it once you have it.
My lessons in my 20’s was to appreciate qualities in guys that make life partners, and to not rush love. If it’s right, you won’t have to force it or “make it work”.
I want my marriage to last forever, and in turning 30 am in no rush to settle unless it’s right for me. And I don’t have a list, I go purely on how I feel when I’m with someone.
Lesson # 4 – Trust your instincts.
Whether you want to confront them or not, your instincts are always right.
The amount of times I entered into a relationship (happened to me three times – all lasted between 6 to 9 months) knowing the signs were there and my instincts were saying it wasn’t right, but I still kept going. Trying to “make it work”.
Omg how exhausting! WTF was I thinking.
No more. When you get to 30 you realise life is too short to waste your time on people or situations that aren’t right for you.
So, the gut feeling you get about a person, situation or issue you’re facing. That’s it. Go with that and don’t look back.
Learn to trust your instincts and you’ll always be moving in the right direction, even if you can’t see it at the time. It’s weird what comes out later down the track.
Lesson #5 – That no matter how many psychics you go and see, the ultimate decision maker is you.
I love a good tarot reading or psychic.
But a quick lesson here is to treat them like a councilor giving you their opinion on your life, of which you can take it or leave it.
DON’T live by it.
Life is yours to be lived, trust me they don’t know everything and you might make a choice that was completely right for you at the time. Don’t feel bad about making decisions!
It will give you what I call Life Paralysis if you take it on board too much. And you might miss an amazing relationship or opportunity just because you took everything they said literally, rather than going with what felt right for you.
Did you read lesson #4?
Lesson #6 – Failure is the best way to learn. Period.
I hated to fail. I didn’t like the word.
But now, I couldn’t care less.
I think as you get older, and actually want to be a better person or business woman, you learn that failure is the quickest way to actually learn. And someone can’t teach you the lessons you’ll get from falling flat on your face.
Before my current job, I ran my own business for about 6 months. It failed. But I didn’t see it like that. From failing, I know that if I was ever to do it again, that there were certain things I would need to change in order to ensure it was successful the second time around. Everyone is different, and honestly no one or nothing could have prepared me for what happened.
But that’s ok. As long as you get back up, and learn from it, don’t do it again next time, then you’ll be fine and will be stronger.
Lesson #7 – Save your money, honey.
Oh gosh. If I could turn back time here. Look, I don’t regret anything and when I look back most years I’ve actually been overseas twice each year, but if I could give you one piece of advice it would be what that hot Barefoot Investor says, to save at least 20% of you income from TODAY. Put it away, for anything. Just let it build up and be waiting for you when you really need it.
Between me and all of my friends, we are so financially independent which has meant lots of lattes, travel, beautiful dinners, clothes and ridiculously fun nights out.
But it’s also meant, we’re not set up to buy something to properly start to build our portfolio of investments for the long term. It just hasn’t been a priority.
But it’s weird. When you get to 30, trust me it strangely does become a priority. You want your own nest egg, place to decorate and make your own. And although your travel list is amazing, it doesn’t give you the savings you need to buy your little nest egg.
So save your money, honey.
Lesson #8 – Don’t care what people think.
Now this is an interesting one. Took me a long time to get here.
I think you should absolutely care what you close friends, family and trusted advisers think as they have your best interests at heart. As long as they don’t put you down in the process, or make you feel inadequate (if they do cut them lose).
But everyone else. Let their opinions go. Say, “Thanks for your opinion or vibe towards me, but that doesn’t really serve me right now.”
And the most important person you should listen to is yourself.
Are you happy? Are you ok? Are you moving towards what’s important for you? Then keep going. The right people will always follow.
Lesson #9 – Love yourself.
The most important lesson of all.
For the first time in my life, I literally looked at myself in the mirror and I asked myself:
“Do you love yourself?”
I had to think about it, but it was a “no”. I didn’t. Fuck… not good.
Ok, so once I had about 60 seconds of feeling sorry for myself (which is rare for me), I sat down and I wrote out what it would take to love myself.
And what came out was this:
- I wanted to stop eating crap and start investing in my health and body;
- That I wanted to invest more time in doing things I loved;
- That I wanted to finally get serious about saving for an apartment because to me that meant being financially stable, and;
- I promised myself that I would write something good about myself or what I did each day.
So I’ve started to write little things down now, anything to make me start to think positively about myself rather than beat myself up over silly things.
Give it a go… stand in front of a mirror and ask yourself, “Do I love you?” See what comes out. You might like yourself, but not love yourself. Or you might hate yourself and not be happy with where you are at.
It’s ok. What I’ve learnt is the quicker you confront whatever is going on for you, the closer you will be to inner happiness.
And you only have one life, so make it count and with love.
This is me at 30…
Lesson #10 – Share what you love.
This is exactly why I love writing my blog. Because I’ve learned that having a voice and sharing what I love is the most powerful thing you can do.
And hopefully from this post, you can relate, learn, and grow too.
So today, I’m 30 and I’m learning to fully love myself, be in the moment and live life with no regrets.