Admittedly, the last few months have been really tough ones. If we're being honest here (and we are, right?) depression and anxiety have reared their ugly heads and I've felt a bit lost.
I went from the best year of my life, to some of the worst months of my life.
Funny how that pendulum swings, isn't it? With every expansion comes an contraction, and I'm living inside of that contraction right now. I have full faith that it will swing back around again, but until then, I'm focusing on the tiny things that are just getting me through the days.
This isn't how I thought my 30th birthday would go, yet here we are.
No one ever said that life was going to be easy. Or perfect. Or that you'd go through some hard things and then they'd be over with and it'd be smooth sailing from there. There's no arrival.
There's just being human.
And so here I am, on the eve of my 30th birthday, recalling 30 of the most important things I've learned over the course of these three decades. I thought you might like to hear, too.
I also asked a few of my close friends to divulge their secrets to 30, what they'd tell themselves on their 30th birthdays if they could. They had so much wisdom to share, and I'm taking it all to heart.
And so, onward.
30 THINGS I'VE LEARNED IN MY 30 YEARS
- You're allowed to take care of yourself before others. That thing they say on airplanes about putting your own mask on first really is true.
- Honesty really is the best policy.
- You don't need major surgery to be worthy of rest. You're allowed to take the rest before surgery demands it of you.
- Anxiety cannot kill you. It always passes.
- Being true to yourself and following your aliveness is the greatest thing you can do with your life.
- Not everyone is going to like you.
- Not everyone is going to understand you, either.
- Work doesn't have to feel soul-sucking and hard. In fact, it can feel rather nourishing and empowering.
- Not everything you tell yourself is true.
- Never underestimate the power of creating your own income, on your own time, in your own way. The day I made my first dollar from my own work was one of the most empowering days of my life.
- Speaking up takes a lot of practice.
- Sometimes nothing will feel good. It will feel like there is no good choice. If you honor yourself and keep asking yourself what you need, it will pass.
- Clear communication, even if it's painful, is always necessary.
- Mary Oliver is always right.
- You might have conflicting feelings at the same time. Happiness and sadness can exist together. (This is being human.)
- Never underestimate the power of community + connection. Don't let dear friends go.
- Loneliness doesn't last forever.
- It's okay to change your mind. And it's okay to change your mind again, and again, and again.
- You're capable of a whole lot more than you think you are.
- Making a cup of tea when things feel hard, even if you never get around to drinking it, is always a good idea.
- You're allowed to be "lazy."
- Do whatever you need to to protect your mental health. (Even if it means thousands of dollars of credit card debt.)
- Always seek a second opinion.
- Isolation, both literally and in your mind, is always a clue that you need more support.
- Finding your favorite authors and reading everything they've written is a really good thing to do for your spirit.
- Going outside always makes things better.
- You're allowed to celebrate whatever you want, however much you want, whenever you want.
- "Should" is always a judgment.
- Depression and anxiety do not define you, but they are an important part of your story.
- Write. Writing always helps.
8 PIECES OF ADVICE FROM SOME OF MY WISEST FRIENDS
"Own who you are. I mean really own it. You can say something about a show or book you like without having to caveat it with 'Oh, it's my guilty pleasure.' You enjoy it. No other explanation needed. Trust your instincts, and if you don't already advocate for yourself — whether it's concerning health, job, friendships, etc. — start NOW. No one else will do it for you." - Becky Shaw
"You're so lucky to see another decade of your life begin. There's so so so much goodness still ahead that you can't even fathom right now." - Kristin Offiler
"This is the decade of throwing yourself into your most fertile ideas, your most curious dreams, and your strongest drive to succeed and make your mark. Dive all the way in; there's no destination except the joy of discovering where your passions lead you." - Jen Lemen
"Being a mother will become your superpower. Even though the world feels like it turned upside down and you don’t understand who you are any more, these days are creating the woman you will become. The feelings of deep loneliness when you are inside of change are like the cocoon giving you the means to rise. You will rise. And it is beautiful." - Hannah Marcotti
"Don't forget that you get to do it (all) in your own way and your own timing. You get to choose how you spend your energy and time." - Mara Glatzel
"30 doesn't mean you must have reached certain milestones like marriage or kids. You'll now have even more ability to craft your life exactly as you want it." - Rachel Clark
"Even though I haven't even turned 31 yet, I can certainly say I was looking forward to turning 30 for most of my 20s. As it turns out, I was right to be excited for them. Some of the most important things have happened to me in my first year of 30. There's probably a lot of ways to think about the age 30, so I'll choose just one. I think a positive mental attitude is half of the challenge of aging. I look to my dad and his mother for proof everyday that age is just a number (cliche, I know). I think 30 is a good time to reflect, perhaps set some intentions for the next decade, and thank heavens you made it out of your 20s without [too many] bad tattoos!" - Jannalyn Bailey
Thank you, wise women friends! I'm so grateful for you xo