30 things I learned in 30 years

This list is a love letter.

It’s a gesture of kindness to myself: a snapshot of how far I’ve come. A celebration of learnings big and small. An expression of gratitude for the obvious and obscure alike.

It would be easy for me to say I wish someone gave me this kind of advice when I was in college. But the truth is this: you don’t learn it until you live it.

It took me 30 years to learn this stuff. Thirty years to start shaping my life around this stuff. I am grateful for every mistake, every mentor, every loss, every lesson.

  1. ) Investing in yourself isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. You’re no good to others if you don’t take care of yourself.

2.) Family is more important than you ever gave it credit for.

3.) Ditto friends.

4.) Relationships — especially the most meaningful ones — require care and feeding to survive. Take the time and make the effort.

5.) …but not all relationships are created equal.

6.) What anyone else thinks of you is not your business.

7.) Not everyone is going to like you. That’s okay.

8.) You don’t have to like everyone else, either.

9.) But still, be nice to everyone.

10.) “Be nice to everyone” doesn’t mean you have to spend time and energy cultivating relationships with everyone.

11.) Not everyone is worth your time.

12.) Be selective about who you let in your circle. Most people are worth a chance. Not everyone is worthy of trust.

13.) Learn to say no.

14.) Do shit that scares you. It’s the only way you’ll grow.

15.) There’s nothing wrong with being in pajamas by 6 p.m.

16.) Hate is a complete energy suck. It keeps you from creating, doing, and reaching your full potential.

17.) Donating time to your community or a cause that means something to you should be one of the most valuable experiences of your life. If your heart isn’t in it or it doesn’t align with your values, don’t do it.

18.) Everyone you meet has something to teach you.

19.) Boundaries will save your life…

20.) …but routine can dull it unbearably.

21.) Cooking for (and feeding) the people you love is one of the most rewarding things ever.

22.) Have something for yourself other than work. Make time to explore your hobbies and interests.

23.) Value experiences over things.

24.) Life can and will change in a second. Accept it. How you choose to respond makes all the difference.

25.) Work hard — it pays off. You aren’t owed success.

26.) When you meet your soulmate, you’ll know.

27.) Being an adult means life gets harder — but someone very wise said, “life doesn’t get harder, you get better.”

28.) The truth isn’t always absolute.

29.) Learn how to listen. It will make you a better person.

30.) There’s no right way to “be.”

What lessons have you learned in your time here?