30 Things I Learned Before 30

  1. Courage is a necessity, not a luxury. If you don’t have it, you can’t get through even ordinary life. If you have it, the world is at your fingertips. “Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality.” – C.S. Lewis
  2. Empathy – choosing to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and really feel what they’re feeling – is THE key to loving others well. If you lean into this path, you will find that a superpower of knowing exactly what to say and do is magically growing within you.
  3. Many of us have more privilege than we can begin to imagine. The least we can do is to listen to the stories and experiences of others who are not like us and learn how many obstacles exist out there that we were never put in a position to see.
  4. People do what they do for REASONS. We only show our ignorance or lack of experience of those reasons when we dismiss people for doing things we wouldn’t do.
  5. Don’t judge rebellious people just because you either never had the urge, were too scared or cautious to act on it, or acted on it and then reformed. None of those reasons are really virtuous.
  6. Corrugated cardboard is not very useful as a fire starter.
  7. You would be surprised by just how much physical exertion you’re really capable of. Your current body and current level of interest in exercise can change a lot more than you might realize. Leave the door open for that change to come.
  8. Do not leave your house without double checking to see if you have your keys. Ever.
  9. Coffee can be as effectively stirred with a knife, fork, or chopstick as with a spoon. You can put off doing those dishes a little while longer.
  10. But that’s a bad habit to get into, because then you never have any other clean dishes when you want them.
  11. Those who had bad acne as teens will grow out of it. Those who did not, will develop adult acne. There must be balance in the universe.
  12. When people offer to get the bill or do some other favor for you, they’re not just being polite. It really makes them happy to do it.
  13. Every woman and man needs to be both strong and soft, at once, unapologetically, and never stop. The world would be a much better place if more people chose this.
  14. Read every word of the contract.
  15. Saving money during periods of good salary or low expenses is crazy useful. If something doesn’t matter much to you, get the cheaper version or go without. Then you can splurge on what makes life fuller.
  16. Even loners are happier being around people that they really like and feel comfortable around. The trick is finding those people.
  17. Hostels, walking, public transportation – golden bargains, don’t be afraid of them. They make you feel alive, too.
  18. Don’t let a language barrier stop you from traveling; most places you’re thinking of visiting will have someone around who speaks a little basic English.
  19. Keep up your childhood interests and find new ones. You need hobbies that make you excited and fuel your imagination. ENJOY your life!
  20. That wish will turn to regret unless you act on it. That one nagging ambition is never going to go away. Research it, take baby steps, make some sort of loose game plan, but don’t ever be stupid enough to think that you can kill it. It will be back. It loves you and your potential and it just wants you to love it back. What if you could have what you want?
  21. Beauty makes us happy.
  22. The more accepting you are of your negative feelings, and the more willing you are to risk experience them intensely, the more accepting you will be of positive feelings, and the more willing you will be to let yourself experience those intensely too.
  23. Learn the warning signs and characteristics of all forms of abuse. In a relationship, control is often the first red flag. Respect kids’ boundaries and make sure everyone does the same.
  24. Push yourself to take some chances and make some memories.
  25. There is no love like the enthusiastic, open love given by little kids.
  26. If you haven’t re-examined your beliefs, experienced doubt, shed some negative traditions and attitudes, and embraced new ones, your beliefs are NOT your own no matter what you think, they’re someone else’s passed down that you’re just carrying on their behalf. “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”
  27. Travel will teach you as much about your own country as any other. But that’s not why it’s awesome. It’s awesome because it’s a big beautiful world out there, and I hope you get the chance to run free and explore it.
  28. Time’s ticking down on life. You literally cannot afford to to spend any more of it waiting and wishing for anything to drop in your lap without you asking, repeatedly. Time to shed some inhibitions. Be crazy, be insanely yourself, and ask for what you want. None of it’s illegal.
  29. Pain fades when you honor it and allow yourself to work through it. Our brains and hearts want to heal. Pass on the healing by honoring the pain of others.
  30. It’s okay to be someone that your younger self wouldn’t have recognized. You owe it to yourself to move beyond your old assumptions about who you are. We were made to fully live!

Ever since I took the leap of moving away from the US in 2018 and then decided to keep traveling, I took comfort in knowing that, while I may have played it safe for most of my 20s, at least I was heading toward 30 with the throttle on life wide open. It makes me so excited to think that, from now on, I get to spend the rest of my time on earth being this much alive.

As I walk through the door into this new decade, my heart has never felt younger. I’m aging in reverse. The old restrictions and comfort zones have been replaced by a lightness of heart.

I have come of age, and it’s exhilarating.


Published by gracexaris

Explorer, thinker, writer, teacher, woman.

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