Since I turned 30 this year, and creating lists like this seems like the thing to do, I thought I would create my own 30 Lessons in 30 years list. Here are my no sugar-coating 30 life lessons we can all benefit from no matter our age. The sooner we accept and incorporate all these in our lives the better for all of us. Life is not sweet. Life punches you every chance she gets. What matters is our attitude.
Family Comes First.
This is self-explanatory. Do not underestimate how important family is. Make time for your family.
Don’t Reveal all Your Cards.
You have a tendency to open up too fast which is not always a good thing. It’s better to share things as time progresses than to share something you may regret later. Contain your excitement. Evaluate what you should share.
Count Your Closest Friends in One Hand.
I had my share of friendship breakups, but as I grew older I found out who my true friends really are. We all feel the need to be popular and have many friends, but as the years pass you will also weed out friends. Some people are only meant to be in your life for a certain stage of your life. Don’t over extend yourself to have tons of friends. Have a few you can count on.
Sometimes Love is Not Enough.
You will read, all you need is love. No, love is not enough to sustain a relationship. Sometimes you need more than just love. You may find yourself with a guy you love unconditionally, who is the kindest most caring guy a girl could ever ask for, but sometimes the circumstances in your life will tell you love is not enough to make you happy. It is ok to let that love go. As painful as it may be, you have to let it go.
Don’t Waste Your Time With Non-Worthy People.
Don’t overextend yourself to people that are not worthy of your time. Some people don’t give a $#!+ about you. Sorry girlfriend but it’s true. Why are you still trying? Friendships fade, and if this friend is adding no value to your life why are you still giving up your precious time for them and trying to connect? Just stop. Please! STOP!
Have no expectations from people. As a human being, I expected things from other people. I expected them to have common sense, I expected them to have manners, I expected them to think and act more like me. No one is like you. Expect nothing from people to avoid disappointment. Give, motivate, be there for others, but live with no expectations that someone will treat you in the same manner.
Stop Saying Sorry.
Saying sorry is so over used. Sometimes I even found myself saying sorry without even doing anything wrong. For example, someone would bump into me on the subway, and somehow I ended up saying sorry. Why do we do that to yourself? I have eliminated that verb from my vocabulary and I only apologize if there is truly a reason for me to apologize.
Stand Up For Yourself.
If you don’t stand up for yourself, then who will? Don’t be a rug that everyone can walk all over. You have a voice. Use it! It is hard at first, but push yourself to speak your mind and defend yourself. Stop being the nice girl that wants to get along with everyone. Seriously? There is no such thing as everyone liking you.
If you Don’t Ask for Things, You’ll Never Get Them.
No one knows what you want better than you do. I always say there is no harm in asking. The worst that can happen is you get a no as an answer. Always ask. Find the inner strength and ask.
Listen to Your Inner Voice.
If something doesn’t feel right to you, it’s not. I’m very intuitive about things, I used to doubt my intuition, but in the end I was always right about the way I felt. Don’t question the way you feel. Listen to your gut. Somehow it always knows.
Stop Over Analyzing.
For the love of god. Analyze for a bit, get it out of your system, but do not go overboard. Overthinking kills.
Do Not Give People The Benefit of The Doubt.
I used to do that a lot, after a while I stopped. If you have to give people the benefit of the doubt it automatically means something is just not right.
You Don’t Need Everyone to Like You.
We all want to be liked by everyone, but this is not a realistic take on life. Take for example yourself. There are some foods you like more than others, for no particular reason. May it be the taste, the texture, some foods you love, some you do not. Period. You tried the food once and you just didn’t like it. Are you going to try to convince yourself that you love that food over and over again by eating it? No, you are just going to stay away from it. So why can’t we accept that about people in our lives? Don’t waste your time trying to impress people you don’t like, or people that don’t like you. It is what it is.
You Can’t Please Everyone.
Learn to say no more often. If you don’t want to do something, just say no. Agreeing to something you don’t necessarily want to do will only cause you stress. Be assertive and only say yes to things you truly want to commit to. Worried you’re going to hurt someone’s feelings? You will end up hurting them more when you commit to it and then back down without a legitimate reason.
Call People Out On Their Shit
Pardon my language, but no other better way to get my point across. You are always so nice and proper, well guess what? Sometimes people need to be put on the spot and you need to call them out on their shit.
You Will Always Get Judged.
My favourite quote is by Eleanor Roosevelt. “Do what in your heart feels right, for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do and damned if you don’t.” I assure you, people will find something to say about you even when you have done nothing wrong. Don’t let their judgement affect you. Be who you are, do what you want, and don’t let anyone’s judgement ever affect your decisions. You know you. Others do not.
Know Your Value.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. Eleanor Roosevelt was a very wise woman. Don’t let other people’s negative comments get the best of you. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. You know your self-worth and no one has the right to bring you down.
Let’s take a few minutes to marinate on that. If you are not going to display self-respect, how do you expect others to respect you, especially guys? It is easy to get caught up in the moment, but respect who you are. Hold your ground and stick to your principles.
Be Your Own Validation.
Stop looking for other people’s approval. We have been raised in a society that constantly seeks to be approved by others. Validate your own self rather than looking at others to feel assured for your choices and decisions. Abandon such a notion. Trust yourself.
Take a Weekend Trip.
I decided to fit this lesson in here, because life moves so fast that you don’t even realize at what a fast rate you are also burning out. Even if it is an hour away from your town, escaping your everyday routine is a great booster to your happiness and getting back on track. You will be amazed how rejuvenated you will feel after a weekend trip.
Acknowledge Your Accomplishments.
Your accomplishments may seem small, but are they really? Though your eyes they may seem small, but place yourself on the outside and look inside. Evaluate how far you have come and then decide if your accomplishments are small or large.
Don’t Compare Your Beginning To Someone Else’s Middle.
Ah we all fall into this trap ALL THE TIME, and you would be so much happier if you just stopped doing this to yourself. Everyone has their own story, your life is not the same as the person next to you. Keeping up with the Joneses is the worst thing you could ever do to yourself. Reflect on your own path, and see other people’s accomplishments as inspiration to do better and not as a competition.
Let Go of The Past.
Turn your regrets to a reminder of who you once were and how far you have come. The past will always haunt you, sorry but is true. Your failures, your bad decisions; the past will always surface when you least expect it, but attempt to turn it into lessons. Nothing weighs you down like your past. Stop dragging it with you everywhere.
Turn a Negative Into a Positive.
Instead of focusing on the negatives, focus on the positives. Transform your life by being more positive and seeing a positive light in everything. For example, instead of getting irritated when a friend cancels on you see it as the perfect time to declutter that closet of yours you have been meaning to take care of. If a friend is running late, think of it as a great way to catch up with your mom by giving her a call. Turn everything negative into a positive, or an opportunity for something else. This has been my number one life changer. If you are going to follow one of these lessons, make this your priority.
It’s Never Too Late.
We always place a timeline to our accomplishments and goals. It is not your age that is holding you back. It is you. Always remember that it is better to regret things that you did, rather than regret the things you never gave yourself the chance to do. Obviously within boundaries. Let’s not go crazy with this one. I always regretted not doing my Masters right after my undergrad studies. At age 26, I felt as if the boat had sailed and I was too old to do my Masters. But I said to myself, why should my age define if I accomplish my dreams or not? I completed my Masters, and looking back letting my age even for a second define what I wanted to accomplish would have been the biggest mistake.
Timing is Everything.
If the timing is not right, it does not matter how hard you work for something. It is just not going to happen for you. Accept it. Move on.
Every Decision Matters.
It’s a ripple effect. We want to be spontaneous, but every decision and action we take matters. Sooner or later, every decision matters.
Everything Happens For a Reason.
It doesn’t get more cliché than this. But it is true. Everything does happen for a reason. Something may happen to you that seems unfair, hurtful, but with the pass of time you will recognize why things took the course they did. The universe is always conspiring to give what you are ultimately desiring and deserve.
Every Beginning is Fragile.
Beginnings are never perfect, but you need to start somewhere. Do not let the unfamiliar hold you back from going after what you want.
Sorry to say, but everyone puts themselves first. Does that make them a selfish person? No, they are just looking out for their best interest. So do you. Put (insert your name here) first. (Your name) comes first. So this is my motto: Eleni comes first. Eleni comes first because no one is living your life other than you. Yes, be considerate, be loving, be giving, but in the end you have to look out for yourself and give yourself the life that you desire. Go after choices that make you happy. YOU, YOU, YOU. This is your life and your only life. Respect others, but don’t forget to choose you.
So there you have it. My own little 30 Lessons in 30 years. Some of these lessons I learned early on in life, others not quite the case. Let me know what you think if you have come across some of these lessons yourself.