I turned 30 this summer and I feel great about it (and no, I’m not just vacuously saying that as I surreptitiously research Botox).  My aunt told me that she cried on her thirtieth birthday because she felt old, and others in my life seem to mimic her sentiments about aging.  Their mentalities genuinely puzzle me.  Everyone glorifies youth, seemingly forgetting all the trivialities that plague us during our adolescence and young adulthood: insecurities, missteps, uncertainty about the future (BLECH!  Good riddance to all of you futile pests!).  As for me, I frequently irritated myself in my “younger years” for reasons that the below e-card speaks to:

check out that dapper gent!

At 30, I am more forgiving of my mistakes and less oblivious when it comes to learning from them.  I find it much easier to prioritize and fill my life with only that which I love.  I finally realize how pointless stress is since I’ve never irrevocably butchered anything I’ve put my mind to.  Each year brings me more clarity, and therefore, I will never dread the future (even if it involves wrinkles, arthritic joints, and perpetual Bingo games).  Ultimately, I feel thankful to have another year with which to do whatever I’d like.

To celebrate 30 and all of the years that led up to it, I’ve compiled a list inspired by the famed “30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30” article-turned-book.  I appreciate the author’s motive behind writing this article, but I disagree with certain facets she included.  First of all, I don’t like how many material items were referenced, as I believe that wisdom and consumerism are opposing forces.  In terms of life lessons she mentions, I agree that they are valuable.  However, no amount of someone else stating what you should know by a certain age is going to expedite your epiphanies.  As a self-proclaimed lollygagger, I understand that everyone possesses a different internal clock that can’t be changed or pressured.  I feel that as long as you aspire to be a good person and reach your fullest potential, you will eventually assimilate the lessons that the author touched upon.  The age you do so is irrelevant.

So I’m not going to tell you what you should have or should know, because I don’t really know most of you and that would be a bit audacious of me, don’t you think?  Instead, to honor my thirtieth birthday, I’m going to enumerate 30 things that I know for sure.  I do know me, and I have come to know these 30 things as my own personal truths.  While they may not apply to you, I hope you’ll at least enjoy reading them.  To keep this post manageable, I am going to split it in half, addressing 15 things now and the remainder in my next post.

My 30 Truths (which you probably realized eons ago):  Part 1

  1. Humor should never be sacrificed.  If we ever lose everything, the ability to laugh at ourselves and our circumstances is our best armor against despondency.
  2. “Skill” is not synonymous with “passion.”  What you excel at doesn’t always align with the profession in which you’d feel most fulfilled.  Throughout our schooling, we are bombarded with personality assessments meant to guide our career track.  This is limiting.  If I pursued only that which I am good at, I’d be painting nails in between dominating hotdog eating contests.  Instead, I believe in choosing your profession as critically as you might a mate (especially since careers have longer lifespans than most relationships).  I think people should pursue that which sends their hearts aflutter, even if they thoroughly suck at it.  With so many years ahead of us, why not choose a profession we can grow into?
  3. Jealousy and envy are not inevitable.  I luckily don’t experience these emotions often, but when I do, I take them as a sign that I am not doing what I want to be doing and I make changes accordingly.
  4. Moderation is only necessary if you are an addict.  Some of my best memories involve binge eating dozens of cupcakes with my best friends while listening to this Brazilian song on repeat.  I’m the queen of overdoing it (“it” = everything).  The last time I practiced moderation was with my favorite South American cookie.  I allowed myself one package per week until the cookies were DISCONTINUED!  Had I bought a lifetime supply like I wanted to, I wouldn’t be as miserable and deprived as I currently am;).
  5. Good stories come from saying yes to things to which you want to say no.  One time I had a bad feeling about attending a party, but I went despite my premonition.  It ended up being a 72-hour death ceremony that concluded in my sleeping on a flea-ridden sheepskin.  Nevermind, that experience didn’t even make for a good story, but I think you catch my drift.
  6. In a perfect world, counseling would be mandatory.  Maybe you had a wonderful childhood, or maybe you have a wonderful “now.”  I hope that both of these are true.  No matter your past or your present, though, we all have a quirk or two that’s holding us back from being the best we can be.  I wish everyone would ignore the stigma that’s attached to seeing a therapist, and invest some time and money into a few sessions.  I view this as a better option than relying on our friends and family members to confront us about personal changes that might benefit us.
  7. Play on, playa (Nas is so wise!).  I fool around more than the average adult, which seems to miff some people.  I just can’t fathom why playing is viewed as juvenile when adults need the release more than kids do.  Playtime to me doesn’t mean happy hours and dinner parties.  It means running through sprinklers and prank calling people.  And then afterwards, choreographing dances to Spice Girls songs.
  8. Time is the answer to all of our questions and qualms, but we can definitely speed up the process by practicing introspection and proactivity.  We are not innately bad at anything, we just need to devote more time to the task at hand.
  9. Gluttony and sloth may be deadly sins, but they also happen to be my preferred pastimes.  Admitting this doesn’t make me lazy; it makes me honest and self-aware.  In completely unrelated news, I’m fat.  (Just joshin’ with you).
  10. Procrastination is only detrimental when it doesn’t spawn creativity.  ‘Nuff Said.
  11. Complaining and criticizing are cornerstones of our culture, but we don’t need to adopt them as our own guiding principles.  Instead of acquiescing to the negativity, we can speak our minds, be silent and let our minds wander to better places, or walk away from the conversation.  It’s hard, but not impossible.
  12. While it may not feel like this in a world that rewards extroverts, it’s okay to be an introvert.  Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t mean that you are inarticulate, a recluse, or socially awkward.
  13. Avoid being attached to any one home, and learn to carry your home with you instead.  If you are sentimental and can carry your home in your heart, I commend you.  If not, you should purchase the exact sleeping bag I have.  It’s so cozy and feels a lot like home no matter where I am.  So what If I’m 30 and still have a blankie?
  14. It is estimated that most people are driven by money, sex, and/or power.  I only hang out with these people if they are honest about what drives them.  Personally, I am driven by simpler things, like laughter and curiosity.  And also, cheese, donuts, and sometimes meatballs.  I think life is happier this way.
  15. It is true that actions speak louder than words in that they imply more commitment, but words are equally as important because they resonate and can never be retracted.  For this reason, I aim to be impeccable with my word.