Congratulations. I mean it.

I recently turned thirty years old. I’m not emotional or stressed about being in my thirties. If anything, I’m relieved. I never really fit in with the 20-something stereotype and I think I’ll relate to my thirties more.

Though I’m not having a midlife crisis, I have been doing a little reflecting. And I thought I’d post my thoughts here because, well, I’ve basically grown up on the Internet so why not?

This year I finally dumped Facebook. I was sick of seeing “memories” from when I was nineteen and had public conversations on “walls” and I was sick of seeing what all my acquaintances think about every single hot-button issue. I’m more interested in fostering real friendships than obsessing over imaginary ones.

Now, at age thirty, if I could go back in time and tell my fifteen year-old self one thing it would be this: be happy for your friends.

Be happy for your friends that get bigger scholarships than you. Be happy for your friends who get better marks than you. Be happy for your friends who get worse marks than you. No seriously, those marks mean nothing. Just say “congratulations”.

Be happy for your friends who have their shit together. Be happy for — and be patient with — your friends who never have their shit together. Maybe they’re doing just fine.

Be happy for your friends who have great jobs and great families and great friends and great partners. Be happy for your friends who just seem to have great fucking lives. Say “congratulations”.

Be happy for people who get jobs in their hometowns and people who pick up and move to Australia.

Be happy for people who don’t want kids, even if you’re obsessed with yours. Be happy for people who have kids, even if you think babies are gross. Say “congratulations”.

I wasted too much time in my teens and early twenties comparing myself to others. I spent my late twenties making up for it by trying to become the best goddamn person I could. I stopped thinking about what other people were doing (or not doing) and started thinking — really thinking — about what made me happy. And then I did it. And when you’re happy, you can be happy for everyone else. In my thirties, I hope I can stop trying to be better and just be better.

So say “congratulations”. No. Matter. What. And mean it.

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