Turning 30 seems to be a milestone for a lot of us. After all, it’s the big “three-O.” I’ve learnt a lot on my way to 30. Some of the lessons are well, not so fun. But I’m happy to have experienced everything that I have, for they have made me who I am today.
As I’ve come to believe, life is about consistent evolution so you can become the best version of yourself.
Here are 15 things I learned about life on my way to turning 30:
1. The unpredictability of life makes things very real
When I was 20, my dad died. He had ALS. It made me realize how real life is.
Most of us live life and experience the world through reading the news. We read about death, loss and tragedy only, but rarely ever experience it so close to you. In a way, we’re shielded from what’s going on around us.
My dad’s death made me realize how big, real and scary life can be. That’s not to say I lead a paranoid life now though. It simply means that I live my life according to my terms to the fullest, but my mind never forgets about the big picture.
So live your life to the fullest. Don’t be scared, but don’t take it for granted either.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E.E. Cummings
2. You learn a lot about yourself in relationships
As you’re emotionally attached to someone else, you’ll discover many things about yourself. However, not all of them are things you are proud of.
For example, I remember in one of my early relationships, I had a very bad temper. I’d lose control and start shouting when my girlfriend made me upset.
It’s always good to learn about yourself, but don’t be too surprised when you act out of character. Be brutally honest with yourself and learn to be better.
3. Breakups can really hurt, but you’ll be fine
Yep. When a relationship ends, a void forms. You’ll start to feel emotionally empty as he or she is not there anymore.
It can hurt a lot, but with some time, you’ll be fine. So remember that it’s not the end of the world. The next one will come along.
4. When somebody acts really nice to you, it could be that they want something out of you
This is a harsh reality, but it’s true. When somebody appears to be really nice and helpful to you, there could be a string attached.
I remember connecting with someone online and he was helping me access my blog. He actually said, “I don’t normally do this for others, but for you I will.” Then he tried to sell me his coaching package.
Indeed, through the manipulation of words, it’s very easy to think that such people are looking out for you, but in reality, they aren’t. So don’t be fooled by them. Always be wary of the words they use, for talk is cheap.
5. Some friendships don’t last forever
I’ve personally fallen out with a handful of friends in my twenties alone. I was even close to a few of them for many years.
But, things happen. People change. You change. Circumstances change and sometimes, the best solution is to simply drift apart or break away. Thus, don’t be too surprised when you aren’t talking to some friends anymore. Just move on.
“The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days , waiting for better ones ahead.” – Marjorie Hinckley
6. Partying gets old really quick
It does, because partying is the easiest way to have fun. All you need is money and drinks. Getting drunk and hungover are really not fun at all though. Find better things to do already. Do things that challenge you!
7. School is just a phase in life
After I graduated from college, I was amazed yet overwhelmed by how life was like. My first job showed me that the working world is indeed a whole new world. And more often than not, you have to relearn everything as what you’ve learn in school can’t be applied outside at all.
Indeed, school is just a phase. I’m not here to argue about whether a college degree is valuable or not, but I do believe education is important. So get it done and over with. You have your whole life ahead of you after that.
8. “True love” is nothing more than a feeling of heightened emotions
Perhaps I’ll be coming across as cynical here, but hear me out. I believe that “love” is the maximum amount of heightened emotions you can feel for someone at that point of time only. That means to say, these emotions will be different and ever increasing when you move on to the next person.
Think about it: Do you think the “love” you feel for your high school crush when you were 16 is the same as the “love” you feel for someone when you’re much older? Hence, love can change. Love always evolves for you. This is why people say go with the flow.
9. No matter how good looking you are, you become ugly when you’re unhappy
I experienced this lesson firsthand when I dated a cover girl model. She was physically beautiful, but she had an extremely bad attitude. She couldn’t control her emotions well either.
It made me learn that no matter how good looking you are, you become ugly the minute you are angry, sad, or constantly frustrated. If you want real beauty, look inside. Real beauty exists when the person is happy.
10. Travelling expands your mind and your world
If you want to grow up overnight, travel to somewhere uncomfortable. Do it alone if you can even.
I remember when I went to the rural outskirts of Thailand, I was blown away by the lifestyle people led there. It made me learn how the important things that make me happy or unhappy in my life are entirely irrelevant to people from other parts of the world!
So travel, it will expand your mind. You’ll realize how small some of your problems really are.
11. As you get older, you realize you don’t need that many friends
All you need is your core group of closest friends. My group consists of only four to five friends. After all, I’m a grown up now. I am not aiming to be prom queen or class president. Besides, you can’t please everybody in life anyway. Stick to whoever makes you happy and that’s good enough.
12. There’re many unhappy relationships out there
Marriages even. And this reflects strongly, and badly in their behaviors. I’ve seen many couples cheat and indulge in infidelity, even the married ones.
It honestly comes as a shock as we all grow up believing that love is black and white (from our parents.) But as we grow older, we realize that there are many grey areas.
I say, stick to your own standards when it comes to love. Work on your own relationship and be moral about it. Just try to be happy then.
13. You’re bound to judge people so you might as well do it right
I know the norm is that we should not judge a book by its cover, but I believe as humans, we are pretty judgmental by nature anyway. So, do it right.
For example, if I meet someone for the first time and I see that they’re extremely rude to the cashier or waiter, that is not someone I want to be around with. It’s just not worth it. There are better and nicer people out there waiting for you anyway.
“The turning point in the process of growing up is when you discover the core of strength within you that survives all hurt.” – Max Lerner
14. If you don’t want to feel old, then hang out with like-minded people
Every time a birthday looms, I always hear from people about how they start to feel old. I am guilty of that too.
But every time I grow a year older, I feel the same. It’s solely because of the people I hang out with. I hang out with people around my age or older who’re still doing what they love or having fun.
For certain, who you hang out with largely impacts the person you’d become. So this isn’t exactly about age or feeling old. It’s about surrounding yourself with positive people.
15. Life can truly begin anytime inside of your head
When I hit 30, I couldn’t shrug off the feeling that I was already 30 and that I should be calling the shots. I literally kept thinking, “I am 30! I don’t need to listen anybody anymore. I can do what I want.”
So I got myself a tattoo. Turning 30 was the catalyst, but really, you can choose to do whatever it is you want any day. It all begins in your head and then you have to search deep and find the drive to do it. Don’t wait too long though. We still aren’t getting younger.