On Turning 30

30 Thoughts on Turning 30

I turned thirty this week. It was not nearly as stressful as people make it out to be:  I did not experience an existential crisis of any sorts. At least not around my birthday… Perhaps, it is because I have been feeling older for a while and now my actual age has finally caught up with me. I spent some time reflecting on the things I have learned in life so far and came up with this list.

  1. The best things in life happen in a series of small increments–daily, almost imperceptible actions that slowly contribute to a greater overarching goal. The best things in life are thus almost unnoticeable on the daily level, but you will see their impact once you take time to reflect how far you have come overall in your larger goal.
  2. Suffering is as important to life as happiness is.
  3. There is a book out there for every season of your life. It’s all has been done and felt before and you can learn from the experience of others through reading.
  4. Creativity takes on many forms. Find out what yours is and engage with it regularly.
  5. Sleep cures almost everything.
  6. There are many different ways to love.
  7. Doing a household chore can me meditative, healing, and a form of self-care.
  8. Before you get to do the work that you love, you will have to do all kind of work that you might not enjoy. All of it will matter in the end. Doing any kind of work is honourable and worthwhile.
  9. All people have their own quirks. And so do you. Getting along works best when everyone is honest about their quirks and is open to the idea of navigating the individual quirks landscapes together.
  10. Love takes on many different dimensions as you grow together. People you love the most are the ones you’re capable of hurting the most. Be gentle with your love and be mindful of how you love others.
  11. Never dismiss other people and their worth. You can learn something from anyone.
  12. Similarly, any situation can be turned into an opportunity for personal growth.
  13. Making more money will not make you feel like you have enough money. The feeling of abundance has to be accomplished in a different way.
  14. If there is a god, she’s out in nature. She is in the ocean, the mountains, the seasons, the wind.
  15. You will be happier if you think of the world as abundant rather than lacking in things. You can always find another great job, you will live in more apartments and neighbourhoods that you love, you will meet more great people. It is easier to deal with change once you realize that the world is abundant.
  16. The worst thing you can do for your personal growth is to lose your sense of wonder. Remember the truths you learned, but be open to the idea that they will become undone by new discoveries.
  17. Awesome experiences are a lot of hard work. You have to participate and contribute in order to have fun. You have to do a lot of hard and even unpleasant work in order to have fun. But somehow you forget all the hard work and only remember the awesome and the fun things as the time passes.
  18. Beauty is accomplished from within. Great skin is the result of what you eat and how you live your life and not that of a fancy makeup or a moisturizer. How you spend your time emotionally will also show up on your face.
  19. Freedom is accomplished through discipline and mindful limitations.
  20. Thinking about what and why you choose, makes your experience matter more. Saying no to some things frees you to be able to say yes to others.
  21. Less is more and it will always be true.
  22. Walking is the most natural thing you can do for movement. If walking hurts, you’re doing it wrong.
  23. Individual action matters. Big things happen one day at a time.
  24. Never think that you’re hurting more than others. You have no idea what others have been through. Your personal grief is not an excuse for not participating in the world and relationships.
  25. You can be heartbroken and in love, happy and in grief at the same time. Don’t underestimate your capacity to feel profoundly happy as the result of a personal difficulty. Happiness is accomplished in fleeting moments through the tension with fear, sadness, and grief. Those fleeting moments are worth everything.
  26. Life happens in small moments. Think of those moments when you’re deciding on the content of your life. When trying to decide whether to commit to a new project, consider what small actions and experiences you will encounter daily as the result. If the small daily snapshots feel like something that’s worth your while, then take the project/the relationship on.
  27. Your job will not define you but how you do your work—any work that is given to you—will speak volumes to others about who you are.
  28. Your best creative work can be done in the Notes app on your phone during a 15-minute subway commute in the morning. You have enough time and resources to do your best work. Don’t over complicate things and just get it done.
  29. The more you care about the things you do, the more vulnerable and embarrassed you feel about putting yourself out there. If you feel embarrassed, it is not because what you’re doing is stupid; it is because you’re doing something truly important to you. Here’s to feeling embarrassed more often!
  30. Compare yourself to yourself and never to others. Aim to be better than you were when you were not your best, but never aim to be better than others.
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