30 things I’ve learned by 30

Y’all, I’ve been sitting on this post for a year. It was supposed to go live on my 30th birthday. I had an idea for a huge birthday photoshoot for photos to go with the post. That didn’t happen. It still hasn’t happened. But, no more waiting. So, without further ado……

Oh 29, it’s been a good year. A great year, really. 29 has been the year that I’ve found myself; deep down, to the core, found myself; my strength, my spirit, my goals, my belief in the person I am. Maybe it came too late, but I think, like most things in my life, it came when I needed it to.

I’m inspired by my friend Amanda who wrote 40 thoughts as I turn 40, so here I give to you (or, really, give to myself) 30 things I’ve learned by 30, AKA why the hell couldn’t I have known that 10 years ago?!!

In no particular order, let’s start with one that I’ve long struggled with quieting my inner demons on…

1. People think you’re beautiful (in a way that makes them doubt there’s much else there). So what. It does not define you, and it sure as hell isn’t the bulk of your worth! Don’t ever doubt that that’s NOT where you begin and end.

2. Spread kindness. All the time, through acts big or small. Throw that shit around like confetti!

3. There is such a thing as “dating down”. Don’t do it. And no, I’m not speaking strictly to appearance and finances; I’m talking in terms of: goals, beliefs, drive, wants from life…

4. Wear the bright lipstick. Wear the flower crown. Overdress for the occasion. Dye your hair purple. Ask the guy out. Dance in public. Just do it. If it makes you happy, just do it.

6. Don’t live by other people’s expectations of you.

7. Eat dessert. Sometimes first. Or as the entire meal.

8. Manners matter. So…

9. Be a lady. Until you’re given a reason not to be!

11. It’s okay if you need to cry: happy cry, mad cry, flat out shattered-and-broken cry; it’s okay.

12. Stand up for yourself. Racism, sexism, stereotypes; DON’T laugh it off.

Which brings me to…

13. You teach people how to treat you. Make sure you give them a good example, right from the start.

14.  Your giant fore(five)head, assymetrical face, too-big smile (and on, and on), get over it. Embrace it. Let’s move on, shall we.

16. Don’t isolate yourself, accept help. Push out of your shell. You don’t have to do it all alone.

17. Don’t be interested in proving others wrong, solely focus on proving yourself right.

18. Do the squats. That booty ain’t gonna maintain itself!

19. Always have champagne on hand, there’s always something to celebrate. Like getting the laundry washed, dryed and folded all in the same day!

21. Why choose between pretty or smart, kind or assertive, ballerina or boxer.  Be it all. Do it all. And raise your daughter to know that she doesn’t have to choose, either.

22. Buy yourself flowers. They’re just as beautiful, coming from you.

23. He’s not worth it. Or him. Or him. Don’t make someone try to fit into what you want. When it fits, it fits. It’ll come.

24. Take the leap sooner. Soo much sooner! BELIEVE. IN. YOURSELF.

26. Art, culture, history, travel…take it all in, devour it, never stop learning. Keep your passions alive!

27. Find your soul sisters, your girl squad, your getaway-car drivers, and keep them close. Life is oh-so-much better when they’re around.

28. Don’t give up on what you want. Everything is achievable.

29. Your parents will always be there for you. Appreciate that fact. From my high school graduation speech, “Mom, Dad, ‘thank you’ just isn’t enough, ‘I love you’ doesn’t describe it.”

Cut yourself some slack. Being a single mom, solely responsible for 4 little lives 24/7, is tough! Leave the dishes, let the laundry pile up, feed the minis pb&j for dinner, then relax, regroup, recharge, and get back in there, girl!

I’m going to end with this…
“I don’t want to have you to fill the empty parts of me; I want to be full on my own. I want to be so complete, I could light a whole city. And then I want to have you, cause the two of us combined, could set it on fire.” – Rupi Kaur

Years ago, I found this quote, and it spoke straight to me. My early 20’s were nothing but trying to find someone to be the light for me.  My late 20’s, and now into my 30’s, were when I discovered, I’m my own damn light!

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