Today I turn 30. It’s a weird feeling, still being relatively young but no longer a 20-something-year-old. I’m married with a house and 2 kids, but still feel like a kid myself at times (though I’ve heard that never really goes away). I’ve met so many of my professional and personal goals, but continue to set more and reach higher. Not a single soul asked for this list, but it’s my birthday and I can do what I want. So I’m sharing it anyway. 

So in no particular order, here are 30 life lessons I’ve learned in 30 years. 

  1. Work smarter, not harder. If I had to choose a life motto, this would be it. 
  2. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese. I’m not a morning person so I lean on this a lot when I feel like sleeping in. 
  3. If you want to declutter your mind, declutter your house. I’ve found that even the process of cleaning can be a form of meditation, let alone the end result. 
  4. Don’t take advice from someone you wouldn’t be willing to trade places with. I did a whole post on this a few weeks back. Essentially if your friend has been divorced 3 times, they might not be the best person to get marriage advice from. If your sister is single and childless, don’t let her tell you that you’re doing motherhood wrong. You get the idea. 
  5. Read more. I’ve always wanted to be a “reader” and this year I’ve read 7 books in 3 months. Not insanely impressive, but I’m working on it. 
  6. Give credit, take blame. 
  7. Therapy is good. For everyone. 
  8. Pick your battles strategically. 
  9. Take time to define your personal values. I’d recommend doing this by your early 20’s (once you have life a little figured out) and then reassessing every few years. 
  10. Don’t be good at a job you don’t want. 
  11. Marriage is about agreeing on the big things and compromising on the small things. A lot of the couples who don’t make it have this the other way around. 
  12. Don’t fill up on bread. Random, but worth mentioning.
  13. You aren’t entitled to an opinion unless you can back it up with facts or logic. At least, in my opinion.
  14. Set goals. And then set more. 
  15. Understand that the vast majority of people you interact with on a daily basis do not care about you. This is a lesson I learned earlier this year, the hard way. 
  16. Celebrate the little wins. 
  17. Never be the smartest person in the room. 
  18. Buy less, buy better. One really good dinner is better than 6 average brunches. 
  19. Everyone is the hero of their own story, even if they’re playing the villain in yours. I feel like I keep learning this lesson again and again.
  20. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. 
  21. The strong defeat the weak, but the smart defeat the strong. 
  22. If you wouldn’t want it read aloud in a court room, don’t write it in a text or email. Or maybe just don’t say it at all. 
  23. Don’t call someone before 9AM or after 9PM. (Obviously emergencies don’t apply)
  24. Know your worth. In your office and in your home. 
  25. Traveling to new places is essential to learning. Whether it’s a new city or a new country, travel somewhere new every year. 
  26. Put your needs before other people’s wants. 
  27. Once you get the answer you want, stop talking. 
  28. There are zero benefits to drinking alcohol. Not everyone is going to agree with this, but it’s a lesson I’ve learned in the last few years which is why I stopped drinking. But I still enjoy fun mocktails often!
  29. Heroes and leaders should be held to higher standards. Don’t make excuses for them. 
  30. Say yes more. Yes to brunch with friends. Yes to playing dress up with your kids. Yes to a new challenge at work. Yes to volunteering. Life is for living. 

If you have a favorite from my list or a piece of advice that you think should have been included, let me know in the comments.