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30 Things I Learned at 30

I’m 31 today. OH MY GOD. I remember being 21 and not looking forward to turning 30, and here we are, already a year past. And I gotta say, life at 30 is so much better than most of my 20s combined. I have never felt more whole and confident about who I am as a person, as a woman, so for you who are scared about turning 30..don’t sweat it! Just reflecting on this past year, I want to share with y’all 30 things I learned at 30.

1. Turning 30 isn’t so bad

IDK why we all dread turning 30. I think it’s usually the number that scares us. For me, personally, I had a lot of expectations for myself before I turned 30 and not being able to accomplish them made me feel disappointed. But we are our own worst critic, which brings me to my next point…

2. There is no timeline for your life

Just because people around you are getting promoted, or getting married, or your parents already had kids by the time they were your age, doesn’t mean that you should too. There’s no age limit to when you should be making a 6-figure income, or buy a house, or have kids. Everyone has their own journey. Don’t ever be forced to make a life-changing decision if it’s not right for you yet.

3. Failure was never a bad thing

We were brought up in a world where F’s were a disgrace… an embarrassment, and so I grew up afraid to fail, so I played it safe for most of my life. But since turning 30, I’ve taken more risks than ever. Failure is nothing but new information you didn’t have before, a new lesson to learn for next time. But you wouldn’t know unless you tried it. There’s no such thing as a bad failure. The only real failure is when you stop getting back up and stop trying.

4. Don’t react, respond

And still learning this to this day. I’m an Aries, and so I ALWAYS want to be right and will argue until kingdom come, but I’ve been learning to take a step back, calm my emotions down, and think about the implications of my actions before I respond.

5. It’s okay to agree to disagree

At 30, I’m a lot more accepting of the fact that everyone is different, and everyone has a unique journey and has something unique to put to the table. Everyone has different truths, experiences, upbringings. Gotta learn how to pick your battles. Life is too short and you can’t waste your time on energy on endless, and therefore, unnecessary, arguments.

6. Quality over quantity

One of the biggest things I’ve learned at 30 is keeping my inner circle small. In college, I wanted to make as many friends as possible. In my 20s, especially as I built some credibility on social media, I realized some people were friends with me with an ulterior motive. Some just wanted to be friends with me because I was “somebody” and not for who I really was. Some were just plain shitty people who thrive by taking advantage of people. Needless to say, I’ve trusted a lot of wrong people in my life and when I turned 30, I did a major purge on who my real friends are. I needed to be choosy on whom I wanted to surround myself with. Why? Because I needed to protect my energy from toxic people. I needed it for my own self-development. I wasn’t gonna be better if I kept letting the wrong people influence my life and the way I live.

7. You are your own best friend

Learning to be content alone is something that I learned the hard way.. when I became single, when I started living by myself, and when my sister (aka my best friend) got married. Putting yourself as your top priority is crucial in everything that you do. And once I found happiness and security within myself, everything changed. I started attracting the right things, the right people, because I’ve learned how to have a relationship with myself.

8. Work hard, AND smart

We’ve all heard the phrase.. work smart, not hard.. BUT WHY NOT BOTH? If you’ve found a smarter way to work, work hard anyway. Remember, hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard. It’s only the MAMBA MENTALITY.

9. DIVERSIFY!

I cannot stress this hard enough. I speak about this on my Instagram ALL THE TIME. Why? I’ve lived through relying solely on one income, and when I got laid off, I didn’t have a backup. It’s okay to hone in on a skill or an expertise that you’re passionate about, but don’t BET YOUR WHOLE LIFE ON IT. Just because you’re established on one career doesn’t always mean you’re set for life. I mean.. look at what COVID-19 is doing to people’s livelihoods all over the world! Putting your eggs in multiple baskets, or having a backup plan, is smart. Don’t just do it for yourself, but do it for the people who rely on you. How do you think big successful business owners are able to keep their businesses afloat and their employees onboard on a crisis? THEY. DI. VER. SI. FY!

10. Treat people how you want to be treated

Practicing living by the Golden Rule since I turned 30 has been rewarding in so many ways. Even though not everyone is used to being treated nicely, or don’t know how to react to it, people reciprocate to your kindness. People don’t care about how much you know unless they know how much you care. Not only does it make your life more enjoyable and positive, but you can lift someone up… you never know if they need it.

11. Live below your means

Just because you get a raise, or you earn more money, doesn’t mean you HAVE TO do the same with your lifestyle. Keeping expenses low, staying on budget gives you some extra money to invest in something else.. like a house, a business (if you have one), or help someone else. Ask yourself what you would do with the money you save cutting a $5 Starbucks drink for an entire year (that’s $1,825)?

12. Stay persistent and consistent

One of the things I had to teach myself when I turned 30 is establishing good habits and sticking to them, and never giving up on your day dream. If you want it bad enough, you’ll do whatever it takes to get it. And in the series of failures or lack of results, you’ll be tempted to quit. But if you’re staying persistent and consistent, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll see results in your efforts. Marry the work, divorce the results. And if you didn’t see results, it’s only because you gave up too early.

13. Learning how to do my makeup in 10 minutes is a great skill to have

I’ve stopped being such a perfectionist with my makeup. It used to take me an hour, but since my time is what I value the most, I learned to cut a few steps in my routine and mastered it. You shouldn’t look like a different person with makeup on anyway. You should look like YOU.

14. Treat yourself is not a good way of life

Yes, YOLO, you only live once. But if you keep “treating yourself” for every little win, it’ll start to not really mean as much, and you’re left with a bad spending habit. Self-care is important, but splurging if you don’t have the financial means is always a bad decision. Take it from someone who did a lot of that in her 20s.

15. (real) Men don’t care about your imperfections, so learn to embrace them now.

Like I said, we are our own worst critic, and we have this idea of what our bodies should look like because of what we see on social media. Can I be real with you? The people you see as “goals” on social media are models, and some got plastic surgery (or heavily Photoshop/Facetune their photos). Our bodies change as we grow older, and that’s okay. Embrace every nook and cranny! It’s a roadmap of your life. Should you change your body, do it for you, not for a man or for validation. If a man really loves you, he could care less about those imperfections. He’ll love you for you.

16. Believe in the power of the spoken word.

Speak as if you believe it. Live as if it were. Manifest your dreams.

17. Stop going down the rabbit hole of assumption

OMG. If I had a dollar for every time I did this to myself, I’d be rich. LOL.

18. Stay authentic to yourself

In social media, it’s so disappointing to see so many people who have to put up a front of who they are to “save face” or to keep their integrity. When I turned 30, I realized that I build on my integrity by being true and authentic. I used to be scared to show people certain things about my life.. like me getting laid off, or me struggling with my relationship with my mom, or me going through an abusive relationship. But I’ve only learned that being open about your challenges not only paints a picture of how you’ve overcome the struggle and how it’s molded your character, but it also sends hope to someone else going through something similar. It’s more powerful than you think. God can’t heal who we pretend to be.

19. Being vulnerable is not a weakness

If you’re feeling vulnerable, talk about it with someone. Crying or vocalizing your emotions is not a weakness, but a strength because you’re strong enough to seek for help and guidance. What we don’t reveal, we can’t heal.

20. Not everything is serious

In everything you do, make it fun and enjoyable! Yes, things gotta get done and we have to take our work seriously, but it can start feeling like a chore if you don’t look for the fun of it. I’m a full-time engineer and I love my job because solving problems is like a game to me. I’m a freelance content creator and entrepreneur outside of my job, and working at nights and weekends never feels like a chore bc I surround myself with people that I trust will help me achieve my goals.

21. Take care of yourself before you have to

Self-care. Need I say more? Start reading labels in everything you’re ingesting. If you haven’t invested in a good skincare routine, do it now. Learn all about acids, retinol and serums. Hydrate your body and your skin. Use SPF. Exercise. Take vitamins and supplements. Take care of your gut health! Meditate. Feed your brain with positivity and self-development content.

22. Stop being passive aggressive

In my 20s, I mastered the art of being passive aggressive and being petty. When I turned 30, I realized this hurt me more than helped me. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind, it will only solve your problems faster.

23. Your true friends will celebrate your success and support you in your failures.

People who are there for you both at your high AND your low are your true friends (not one or the other). Their basis for their friendship with you isn’t based on your accolades or your failures, but who you are as a person. Above all else, true friends will tell you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear. Why? Because they want you to grow and be better.

24. Time is your biggest asset. Stop wasting it.

Everyone has 24 hours in a day, and time is the one thing that we can’t get back, so do yourself a favor and invest your time into something productive than wasteful. Learn something new. Read a book. Start a side gig or a business. Stop getting lost in your social media feed. Stop bingeing on shows. If it’s not helping you grow or elevating your life, eliminate or minimize it.

25. Knowledge isn’t power. Applied knowledge is.

There are so many know-it-alls and smart people in the world. Growing up, I actually used to envy those people… The people who don’t have to study, the people who can understand a concept at the first glance. I felt like I had to work double time just to keep up. But not all people who know everything apply what they know. They just like to tell you that they know all about it. Applying what you know gives you experience, and the more trial and errors you do, the more you’re learning and the more wisdom you gain.

26. Self-awareness.

All my life, I’ve dealt with a lot of hiding a lot of who I really am and what I was going through—afraid of being judged, afraid of being mocked and ridiculed, afraid of hearing the truth. At some point, I was just oblivious to who I was. I’ve heard and read this over and over again in various forms: we have to acknowledge all of our wounds and weaknesses to start healing. And since I started to do just that, speak up and ask for help, it was the most liberating feeling. Being completely transparent with myself felt like weight being lifted off my shoulders. And who cares if we fall short or if we don’t measure up? Nobody is perfect! We are not called to perfection. We are called to progression. One book that helped me to be more self-aware is “Empower Yourself” by John Martin.

27. Don’t ever lower your expectations for what you deserve.

28. Your weakness is your superpower

Like I said earlier, use your weakness and your struggles as your testimony.

29. Instead of praying for a blessing, pray to be a blessing

I heard this from a wise fellow last April at a leadership conference and from that moment, I carry it with me and live it like a mantra. Before this moment, I’ve always prayed to God to bless my life and I would always forget why I needed God to bless me. I learned that I needed God to bless me so I can be an overflowing river so I can bless other people. I needed to steward what I’m receiving from God to add value to other people.

30. Self-improvement doesn’t just mean adding good habits, but also means removing bad ones.

This goes along with my point about investing time instead of wasting it. Growing doesn’t just mean adding reading self-development books, or listening to motivational podcasts or what have you. It’s also about removing the toxic. I mean, if you have cancer, it doesn’t matter how many good cells you have in your body, the cancer will still spread, right? Same idea! Garbage in, garbage out.

I hope y’all found this helpful and fun to read! And I hope this has put you somewhat at ease if you’re scared about turning 30. Chillax, you’ll be fine. In fact, you’ll be better than me bc now you know better.

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