I’m celebrating a birthday that is bringing a whole new decade along with it. The big 3-0! I started to jot down a few things that I’ve learned and thought that maybe someone could benefit from my wisdom (or lack there of). There are many things I wish I would’ve known when I was younger, but I’m thankful for everything that has lead me to know what I do now.
1. Life as a kid was easy. Come on, don’t you remember thinking it was the end of the world when you couldn’t go to a friend’s house or go skating on Friday night because you got a D on an assignment? Or what about that bag of gummy sharks at the candy store you wanted, but couldn’t afford because you blew your allowance on some other gummy candy earlier in the week. These were our biggest problems. Need I say more?
2. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Yeah, yeah. Textbook, I know. (Pun intended) Give a person time before you decide what you think they are. You wouldn’t want that same book to be judging you by your cover. Give people a chance. I have found that prejudging a person before truly knowing them can lead to a complete misrepresentation of who that person really is.
3. It always gets better. Though I’ve been through some pretty rough times in my 30 years, I have learned that anger, pain, frustration, and struggles always get better. It just takes time. You may never forget the things that happened, but with time the direct effect lessens. Every day is a new day to begin again.
4. Money doesn’t grow on trees. Believe me, if there was a money tree, I would have found it. Budgeting and making sure to live within your means is one of the most important parts of life.
5. Change your atmosphere. Don’t let your atmosphere change you. Don’t become someone else because of who or what you’re around. Be a light to where you go and shine bright.
6. Floss. Yes, I went there. I am preaching to myself, even as I enter my thirties. No one likes gingivitis breath. Floss daily, just do it. (And I’ll try to remember too)
7. Live in the moment. Though I know this, it’s still one of the hardest things to live out. I’m a think-aheader so being present can be hard. If you can learn to live within the now, you can truly make the most of your memories. You’ll also gain a new perspective when you pay attention to what’s in front of you right now.
8. Love wins. I have been known to act in revenge and hate when met with the same. But the ultimate win is when you show love to someone who doesn’t deserve it.
9. Don’t diet. With what I’ve experienced in these 30 years, I am firm in the fact that diets will never work long term. Adapt your eating habits to a plan for eating that includes everything you like and keep it all in moderation. Life is too short to deprive yourself of the good stuff.
10. Say no. People pleasing can be destructive. Say no when you don’t want to say yes so that when you say yes, it means more. No does not mean never, it simply means not right now.
11. Be in pictures. Don’t go through life stepping out of pictures because of x,y,z. Take pictures, document your adventures, and make memories. Don’t look back and wish you had taken more pictures with so & so. Do it now!
12. Your childhood shapes you. Like it or not, how you are raised and what your family was like will shape what your future family will become. Whether by good example and striving to take on those characteristics or by bad and the want to do it the opposite. It shapes the person you become. Remember this as you raise children of your own.
13. Forgive. Give grace. I’m not just talking about praying over your dinner. Others will disappoint you. You will disappoint yourself. Learn to give grace in order to release yourself of the baggage that unforgiveness can pile on. Grace is one gift that Jesus gave us that we can also give others.
14. Surround yourself with those that love you. Life isn’t easy. It will bring many trials and it was never meant to be lived alone. It’s always good to have friends who will be there for you at a moment’s notice. It’s good to be the same for someone else, too.
15. Music heals. Sometimes saying words or hearing someone’s advice just won’t do. There is power in music. In my teenage years, music helped me cope with situations when I couldn’t express my thoughts. To this day, worship music has become one of the best ways for me to decompress.
16. Save, save, save. Save a little, if not a lot, at all times. You may feel a little sting at first, but you will thank yourself later. A little financial discipline will go a long way. It’s the easiest way to plan for an emergency, or perhaps a cruise. 😉
17. Shop around. Don’t buy the first one you see. Make sure that same thing isn’t cheaper elsewhere. Stores bank on convenience, yet it’s not always convenient to spend 25% more to save time. This is especially true on big ticket items.
18. Don’t believe everything that you hear (or see). Truth will always be proven in one way or another. Discern what you believe before you jump into something.
19. Mistakes are lessons in disguise. Hindsight is 20/20 eh? In the middle and after a mistake it can be hard to see, but down the road we learn from them. Just like a child who touches a hot pan feels the consequences of his action, he learns to not touch a hot pan again. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes that make you smarter and teach you a lesson.
20. Be joyful. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Always be joyful”. While the always part isn’t easy, try to find the joy in things, people, and places. Laugh at stupid and silly things. Don’t always take things seriously and find joy in the mundane.
21. Don’t make hasty decisions. In the wake of emotion or impulse, it’s easy to go with first thought. Take the time to weigh the options and formulate pros and cons for your decision. This makes regret less likely and boosts confidence in yourself.
22. Cheaper isn’t always better. While I am a diehard frugal freak, I have most definitely learned that buying things because they are cheaper doesn’t mean they are better. You don’t want to purchase a cheaper version only to have it break or simply not work and then have to buy another. Then you may have just as well bought the more expensive version in the first place.
23. Follow your gut. Hearts can be mislead by fleshy emotion. Most often, I go with my gut feeling. I have learned that this is often the Holy Spirit giving you a nudge even when it may seem hard or inconvenient.
24. Pray without ceasing. At any given moment, there is a reason to pray. From thanksgiving, to praise, to petitions. God wants us to come to Him for every need and praying keeps us in that relationship with Him.
25. God first. It’s hard to imagine putting anything before our family, our friends, our husband, our wife, our children, or even ourselves. Living our life for God and by His Word means that all those other things will fall into place just right. Putting God first means your time, your money, your faith, your friends, etc. Seek Him first and everything else will fall into place.
26. Slow down. Life is fast-paced and it only gets faster the older you get. Find the time to slow down and rest when you get a chance. You do not always have to be doing something.
27. A parent’s music from their childhood will always be weird to their kids. When I was young, my parents would play their oldies and think they were the most awesome tunes ever to hit the airwaves.I would think, “uuuummmm, THIS was cool?” I thought my Nsync and Nirvana would never be this way to my kids, but they don’t understand it. I think this theory will carry on for generations to come.
28. Be an encouragement. The bible says that sweet words are like honey. Speaking encouragement over people can change their entire day. This also goes for yourself. Find the good in everyone and tell them about it. P.S.- tell your parents that their music is awesome.
29. The best way to get social is to get off social media. While Facebook can be fun (and addicting), it’s real relationships in real life that make a true difference. Balance is key. Don’t let the life in front of you be overlooked by the one in your hand or at your fingertips.
30. THIRTY IS STILL YOUNG. This last year leading to thirty has been full of the realization that I can still consider this a young age. There is more life left in this body of mine. More years to enjoy God’s creation and love. And more years to fulfill my purpose. I will embrace it and try to live by the very things that I have learned within them.
Cheers to many more years to come!