A Dozen Things That Changed In My 30’s


A Dozen Things that changed in my 30s…

The morning of my 30th birthday something really important happened in my life. My give-a-dang busted. I can’t really explain how it happened but I can tell you WHY it happened. I spent the first 30 years of my life as a people-pleaser, and it was beginning to wear me out. I was sick all the time. I felt miserable. I felt compelled to say yes to everything and everyone leaving ZERO time for me to do the things I actually enjoyed. I forgot what I even enjoyed at all. I loved my life, but if I was ever going to feel like myself I had to figure out what I liked and what I didn’t.

  • I began figuring out what I liked and what I didn’t like. I like coffee, and I don’t like dinner theater. I like people, and I don’t like NASCAR. I convinced myself I liked a lot of things so I could fit in and connect with people but in an effort to do this I completely lost sight of who I was.
  • I walked away from bad friendships. My husband is my best friend. My sister became one of my best friends. I expect the people I keep the closest to me to be willing and able to have deep and honest conversation. There is no room for pretense in my closest relationships. I am vulnerable, and, as an Enneagram 8, I am not everyone’s cup of tea. I need dependable, intentional and deep friendships. I have no room for people in my life who mistreat me or those people I love.
  • I stopped eating bad food. I wish I could say I’m referring to food unhealthy food; I’m not. I decided that if I was going to indulge then it was going to be enjoyable. I don’t just have ice cream, I have my favorite – Pistachio Talenti Gelato. I don’t drink just any coffee (okay, that may be a stretch), but I don’t add just any creamer. In fact, I bring my favorite creamer with me anywhere I might be enjoying coffee. Coffee Mate, Italian Sweet Cream. I think you get the point. I just stopped taking in calories from things that aren’t delightful.
  • I stopped doing things I didn’t want to do. This meant I had to learn how to say “no” or “not right now”. I probably said no more in in the first 6 months after turning thirty than I had in the 10 years prior. It was liberating and lonely. People who expected me to say yes were surprised and when I was no longer available to watch kids, drive hours to attend events or buy things from every school fundraiser in the way I had before people were disappointed. I had to be okay with disappointing people.
  • I expanded my vocabulary. Around the time I turned 30 I discovered my children had a more expansive vocabulary than I did. I knew my husband was brilliant and rarely went a few sentences without using a word I didn’t know. He often had to stop, mid-thought, to define something for me. As an educated adult it was frustrating. I found myself needing to communicate on a different level, and I knew someday I would want to do crossword puzzles all by myself.
  • I absorbed education. Some of my education is formalized, but what I wanted was an education about a host of things I never studied in school. I wanted to learn about everything from Julia Child to space exploration. Fortunately, I married into a family in love with learning. This helped…so did Netflix. I began watching documentary after documentary and fell in love with a world of knowledge I never knew existed. Also, I can hold an entire conversation about sushi, being vegan, exploring Europe, or cigar manufacturing.
  • I learned the value of Perspicacity (told you I expanded my vocabulary). Wisdom from a process of learning through experience. This type of learning is priceless to me. This type of education is one that produces wisdom I cannot glean in any other way. It is perspicacity that equips me to walk alongside others and offer the solutions I have come to be known for.
  • I stopped lying (to myself or others) about ANYTHING. Everyone in my life knows that if they want truth, they come talk to me. I tell people the truth about who they are, their circumstances, their responsibilities and their great possibilities.
  • I stopped pretending to like things I don’t like and came clean about those things I do. My guilty pleasure is celebrity gossip. I was certain if I ever told anyone that I love Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, etc. Recently I discovered the Real Housewives of (insert city), and it is fantastic.
  • I made peace with my mom. We were already really close, and I love her a lot, but I was so angry at her for staying in a relationship with my dad when he is so hurtful toward her. He has been abusive and angry for as long as I can remember, and I did not understand what made her stay despite my strong belief in fighting for marriage.
  • I started to believe that fat is beautiful. I am not gonna lie, it is NOT easy to remember this everyday, but overall it is my mindset about my body. I am not delusional. I know I am fat, but I also know fat is not ugly, it doesn’t make me ugly; and, much thanks to my husband, I believe it is beautiful.
  • I stopped feeling guilty for taking naps. I grew up in a home where naps were celebrated and encouraged. My mom has probably taken a nap 90% of the days in her adult life. As a child I hated my mom taking naps, because when she napped I missed her. As an adult I have so much respect for the hard work moms do and I look back without faulting her at all. So now I take naps whenever I can and have learned that guilt doesn’t help in getting any rest!
  • I began to value people over task. Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE checking things off my to-do list, but spending time with people has become more important. Tasks can wait, and the lessons found in Tyranny of the Urgent have taken hold. I can recognize what is important and what is urgent. There will always be things to do, but there won’t always be time with those in my life. I have learned to wash laundry at 2 in the morning so I could watch “just one more” episode with my family.

If I show up, I want to be there. If I offer to help, it’s because I want to help. I say what I mean and mean what I say. I don’t make people guess what I am thinking. This has eliminated so much confusion and complication from my relationships. I love who I am today, and I love that the more time I spend in my 30’s the more lessons I learn about myself, the world around me, love, and grace.

My world is filled with people I adore and experiences I enjoy, and for this reason life is sweet and it is only getting sweeter.