Wake Up to Your 30's

Lessons that Change the Way You Live Life

For most, and especially today, the 20s experience is riveting, an adventure so jam-packed that by the time 29 hits you’ve managed to have done it all — job hopping, serial dating, traveling the globe — solo, unleashing your creativity, testing your ideals and most of all pursuing your calling.

For the modern female, 20s are when you learn to speak from the pit of your stomach and make connections with your intuition. You grab hold of everything the universe hands you while seeking for more and asking what’s next.

This week I turn 35 and in my attempts to break down the 20-something feminine experience nearly 15 years ago, I found that on the outset it glistens with wholesome experiences like finishing college and then on the cusp of it having the fairytale wedding, giving birth, living the dream. And between all of this, there’s balancing career goals, one that fits to the likings of this secure, well established, picture-perfect lifestyle.

That 20-something experience is the conscious attempt to act out the grandiose manuscript that was single-handedly authored by none other than a female 20 year olds psyche. A controlled experiment which theoretically should deliver a sense of attainment and happiness.

Clearly, in my workings to establish the 30-something experience I now I understand that 20s can be two very different journeys. When I turned 30 someone said to me that it would be change my life in ways I would never imagine. So are the 30s really life-changing?

In studying these last few years I’ve learned many priceless lessons about the vibrant changes that can take place in the inner space of the 30-something feminine.

Lesson #1 — Listen and trust in your voice

In Elizabeth Lesser’s book Broken Open she references William James, an author that divides humans into once-born or twice born people. The once-born person is cautious and will resist opportunities like loss, pain, grief, misery, depression or change as catalysts for transformation to a new more vibrant self. And the twice born person will follow her/his bliss. In my 30s, the universe cautiously made me aware that it’s time deviate from that script despite what the audience thinks and take charge of my sacred contract from the tiny voice within. So how will you listen and trust in your voice?

30s are when you will have spent time in the darkest places of your consciousness to learn more about the truth. You will work hard to turn off the relentless noises in your mind and the driving force of the ego to find the song of your soul only to discover that becoming present and more attuned to oneself is the ubiquitous path to finding the answers you’re looking for.

You will dig deep to find that perhaps you’ve allowed your “control” issues to build fear of change, uncertainty and regret. All of which may have paralyzed your spontaneity and blocked the creative energy required to help you turn off your relentless mind and turn on your gut.

You will look fear in the eye so that it diminishes your inability to find your own courage. The courage to feel the simple, yet powerful life-changing messages such as he/she isn’t the right one, this relationship is over or stop listening your family, start listening to yourself. Start meditating, take yoga, go rock climbing, join a network, it’s time for that date.

These and many more messages will allow you to be more connected and united with the language and love of your own heart. And if you havn’t found your calling, then this is the time to soul search, adventure and declare quietly the evolution of your next big thing, such as quitting a high-paying career to start something new, leaving the corporate world to serve at a non-profit, studying religion after spending the last 10 years in business, or flying half-way across world for a charitable cause.

Lesson #2 — Mistakes are acceptable (big or small) and change is your friend.

Something my 20s did not permit but 30s allowed for me to do with grace is accept failures as divine interventions. So how do you make mistakes and course correct?

Be candid about your mistakes. Discover your faults and use them as pillars of strength. After quiet time spent alone, in the ruined aftermath of your difficult times, you will have recognized the origin of your pain and surrender to the healing process. Often decisions such as starting a business to then see it fail, to stay angry, not forgive, lie, cheat and most of all be dishonest with oneself can lead to the feeling of regret. No experience, time, energy, devotion is wasted and you will genuinely become aware of this. Whether it’s a personal crisis, professional dilemma, a difficult loss or heartbreak, don’t resist the radical changes necessary to emerge as a stronger, humble and awakened person. One who can admit when change is inevitable despite what the rest of the world thinks.

Lesson #3 — Living authentically means being true and good to yourself first.

The 30s has allowed me to finally escape my secular and organized ways of the past and use the wisdom gained from the outcome of those orderly experiences as an inner compass on how to be the captain of my own ship. That includes being mindful of where I spend time, how much sleep I get or how little, what I put in that one precious body of mine, who to love, who to let go of and most of all, how to love myself first. So how does one stop people pleasing and follow ones’ bliss?

If you’ve found how to silence your domineering mind, made peace with the plans that refused to work, accepted your mistakes as catalysts for growth and surrendered to the prospect of uncertainty then you will journeyed to a place of bliss. You will have faced the unfortunate truth that happiness is actually a fleeting moment, and joy, which can be felt once you do the hard work written above, is the antidote for meaningful living.

And in your 30s, the seeds of friendships you planted in your 20s with some of your dearest loved ones and friends will have begun to bear fruit. It will be in you to carefully nourish this magical garden with gratitude, compassion, forgiveness and support.

Each day will be a glass half full and a glass half empty where the skeptic and judgmental side of you is put to rest and the optimist emerges. Between juggling a career, harnessing a passion, family obligations, falling in or out of love, getting divorced, being a supermom and all those other things we call “life,” your prowess in lessons learned will serve as a daily meditative practice on how to manage your path. And “fun” will compete with the need to make room for “me time” in order to practice a more balanced living.

I knew going into the decade of 30s would be the time I found my fight; it would be the end to a decade- long strive for perfection and the beginning of owning up to imperfection. I’m just a few days shy of 35 and have finally found my “normal,” one that isn’t so calculated and illusive but more vibrant with love and purpose. I owe it to the first half of 30s for the most epic wakeup call yet.