30 Things I wish I’d known before I was 30 years old. With a love letter to my younger self including advice to my younger readers.
That’s what this post is about and hopefully, you will find it helpful, or at least interesting.
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When we are in our early 20s, we are so young and carefree. So full of life and enjoying our new found freedom of being adults. I remember feeling like I finally had my whole life ahead of me! I wasn’t thinking about growing old or one day actually dying!
Now, however, as I’m nearing 60 years old, and I mean getting way too close for comfort! I’m 58 and tend to spend too much time reflecting back over my youthful years.
So let’s take a look at a few things I’ve learned in the past 28 years, that I with I’d known before I was 30.
Things I Wish I’d Known Before I was 30
I’m going to attempt to list 30 things I wish I’d known before I was 30 years old. I’m sure there are many more than 30, but these are the main things I feel really could have affected my life now if I’d learned the lessons earlier.
Two main factors that I wish I had known earlier in life are balance and moderation. You need to learn balance in life. You need a good balance of work and fun. Family and friends. Also, a balance between doing for others and self-care.
Moderation is another big factor! Learn to have moderation in everything you do! Even too much of a good thing can become bad for you. Too much good southern cooking boosted me up to way over 200 pounds and becoming diabetic. Learn moderation before you live to regret it!
Perhaps I feel so strongly about balance because I’m a Libra, being born under the sign of the scales. 🙂 I don’t know how much belief I really put into horoscopes. But they are fun to read sometimes.
1. Don’t Take Your Parents for Granted
I dearly loved and respected my parents. However, I wish I’d known a little earlier in life that your parents really are your biggest fans. Everything my parents did for me, even punishments, were out of love. They did everything in order to teach and guide me to become a better person and productive adult. They made so many sacrifices that I never understood until I became a parent myself. They made even more sacrifices as grandparents that I didn’t truly appreciate until they were no longer here with us. Treasure your parents every minute that you have them with you.
2. Education is Important
Education is important, actually it is vital to a successful and productive life as an adult. Finish high school, and try to make the best grades possible. This will be helpful when you do decide to further your education after high school. You may not want to immediately go to college but at some point you may realize that a college degree really is helpful to your career.
3. Show Respect to Others
Being respectful of others can go a long way in life. This should start at a very young age. You may not realize it but showing respect to your teachers in school can even be helpful when you apply for college or even your first job. Your teachers will be the people that college recruiters and even some employers will look to for references. More so when I was young than now probably, so be respectful on social media too! Believe me they will research you online also.
4. Treasure your Friendships
You will have many friends over the years, but the real true friends will always be by your side even at your worst and lowest times.
You will have friends from childhood, from work, and from church or the gym. Some will come and go, but the true friends never stay gone. Even if they move away in distance they stay in contact with you. They stay connected with you through all life’s ups and downs, especially the downs.
You need these true friends. It’s near impossible to do life without these friends. They just get you, and always understand you. They will encourage you and motivate you. Treasure them and always be there for them too! Read about my true friends here and here. Also, you can read about my group of childhood friends in my post about our Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
5. Hold onto Your Virginity a Little Longer
This probably sounds so old-fashioned! But statistics show that girls lose their virginity on the normal before age 16. Boys before age 15. Honestly, what do you really know about sex or even love at that age?
It’s hormones talking, and hormones are crazy at that age! Believe me! Been there done that! That first teen-age crush and first kiss honestly does feel like “real” love, AT. THE. TIME. But that’s just it! It feels real at the time because it’s the first time you’ve ever felt it!
So don’t be so quick to jump into sex. Kiss another one or two before you decide to go further. Besides, ladies making the guy wait a little while can really have it’s benefits. If you are worth it to him then he won’t mind waiting.
6. Believe in Love At First Sight
It honestly can happen! Trust your heart and your gut on this one. I wouldn’t say trust this if you are 16 and it’s your first boyfriend. But otherwise, I believe it can happen. In fact it did happen to me. I met him one night when he asked me to dance. As we entered the dance floor and started to dance, my soul suddenly felt as if it had come home from a long cold night in the snow. We were married a month later.
7. Even with True Love You Must Work at A Relationship/Marriage
True love happens, rarely more than once in a lifetime. When it comes along, grab it with both hands and hold on tight! True love even happens at first sight like I previously stated. I believe that with all my heart from personal experience.
However, even true love requires work for the relationship/marriage to sustain the test of time. You can’t throw a tantrum or throw in the towel at the first sign of disappointment, frustration, anger, or things not going perfectly as you thought they should go. Do not ever let anyone else, even your parents, tell you who you should love or build your life with. Love doesn’t work that way. I learned this a little too late and still suffer for it.
8. Be True To Yourself
Just be you! Don’t pretend to be someone that you aren’t. You can’t make everyone happy, so please yourself. Not everyone will like you, but you must be able to like yourself. You have to like who you see in the mirror and go to sleep with a clear conscious at night. But while being yourself, there are times that you also need to know when to hide your crazy. 🙂 Time and a place for everything. Maybe it’s a Southern thing. But manners do count sometimes.
9. Enjoy the Moments
Let me be clear that there is a big difference in Living for the Moment and Enjoying the Moments. When living for the moment, you tend to not think about the future or how your present actions may affect you even the next day. However, by enjoying the moments you simply take time to “stop and smell the roses”. Don’t be all work and no play. Spend valuable time with family and friends. Enjoy your life and special moments.
10. Take Lots of Photographs
Take hundreds and hundreds of photographs!! But don’t forget to be IN some of those pictures as well as being the photographer! Pictures are worth a thousand words. Not just digital photos either! Print out those pictures, label them with names and dates. Your kids and grandkids will love going through them years from now! I promise!
11. I Wish I’d Known How Seriously to Take Commitments
This one is similar to #7, but not only in marriage. Commitment is very serious and once you make a commitment you need to do everything possible to stay committed. Be it with a partner, spouse, friend, sibling, or parents your commitment is important to the other person involved. You owe it to them to stand by your promise. It may take work, but it is always worth it.
12. Your Choices Affect Those Closest to You
O.K. So you’re grown. You can make your own decisions now. Big deal! Except that it can be a really big deal. Your choices can affect those closest to you in ways you may not even think about. I’m not saying to make choices that are best for everyone else. Of course, you have to do what is best for yourself. But don’t make spur of the moment decisions on big life changes. Think things through, it can mean long-lasting effects on your life and those you love. Especially once you have children, do not assume that as long you are happy they will be happy. Consider your children’s feelings in the situation also.
13. God is Real, Loving and Forgiving
God is real and He is alive today! He is a loving God and through God’s grace I’m a forgiven sinner. I am not perfect, I will continue to sin and God will continue to forgive me.
I was raised in a Christian home. I suppose I always believed in God, but there was times I was angry at God and I even questioned God. I was 50 years old before I honestly accepted Christ into my heart and gave my life to God. At that point I started growing closer to God, and earnestly trying to live the way God would like for me to live my life.
I wish I’d known this honestly in my heart long before I was 30. God loves each of us and He has a plan for our lives.
14. Take Better Care of Your Body/Health
Reality is that you only get one body and you don’t know how long you’re going to live. So take good care of yourself from early on! What more is there to say about this one?
My favorite saying is “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”
15. Save Money
Living paycheck to paycheck may have seemed ok when I was 20. In fact, I remember being excited that I actually made it to the next payday with $2 in my pocket. However, that is not practical and not the way to live a fulfilling or productive life. The best advice ever is to save money from each paycheck, even if it is just a dollar, save something!
16. Material Things Aren’t Important
That designer purse don’t mean squat if you don’t even have a penny left to put in it! Nobody cares how many things you have, how big your house is or what kind of car you drive. They care about what kind of person you are. Things will not pay bills or buy true friendships.
17. Alcohol Lies
Simple as that; Alcohol lies to you! Alcohol does not get rid of the pain, it does not make you cool or sexy. Alcohol may make you forget the pain for a little while, but then it comes back soon as the alcohol wears off. Alcohol makes you think you look cool or sexy, but it’s a lie. Alcohol makes you lose your inhibitions and all your common sense. In short, alcohol lies and makes you act ignorant!
18. Life is Short
Believe me Life is Short! Even now at 58 years old, I feel life has been short. I’m fast approaching the age that my mother was when she died. Just before her 60th birthday, we lost her to colon cancer. She was so young at the time. I lost a very dear friend when he was 50 and a niece when she was 21. So yes, life is short!
George Strait says it best! I’m not here for a long time, but I’m here for a good time! Enjoy life. Leave no regrets. I saw the pain doctor yesterday and he was giving me injections to help with my arthritis pain. He mentioned how bad my arthritis was, and I responded with how I should have taken better care of myself. For the first time, the doctor said: But have you enjoyed your life?” And I responded with an enthusiastic YES!! He laughed and said then that’s good.
19. The Party Doesn’t Last Forever
Robert Earl Keen sings that “the road goes on forever and the party never ends”. Well, I’m here to tell you that the party does eventually end, or at least it changes. Get those wild, late night parties out of your system between 20-25 because they don’t do you much good after that. You will later find that those kind of parties really aren’t as much fun as you thought. They actually leave you feeling kind of empty.
20. Apologies Don’t Fix Everything
Be mindful of what you say and do to others because sometimes an apology just isn’t enough to fix the damage you may have caused.
21. Practice and Develop Your Creative Talents
When I was in second grade I started taking piano lessons. I practiced every single day until I was in 10th grade, then I practiced a couple of times a week. By the time I graduated high school I’d play the piano maybe a couple of times a month. I haven’t touched a piano now in over 15 years. I doubt I could play an entire song. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
There are other things I learned along the way, such as sign language, but when I was no longer around my deaf friend daily I didn’t use it enough to stay fluent with using it.
Still other creative things I wish I’d learned throughout life I could still learn. But skills aren’t as easily retained later in life. Hands and fingers aren’t as nimble. Although I still may try somethings. Who knows….
22. Learn and Use Good Grammar
You really don’t want to be 30, 40 or even 50 and sound like an idiot when you talk. Better yet, you don’t want to look like someone that can’t even write correctly. So pay attention in school, some of what they teach you will come in handy later in life.
23. Don’t Make a Habit of Using Cuss Words
If you never start cussing then it won’t become a habit. They are just words and once you have kids you will really wish you didn’t say those words because kids will repeat them. I do drop a good F-bomb now and then, and at times it does make me feel better. I have to admit it, but generally speaking you’re better off never to start making a habit of it.
24. Don’t Ever Start Smoking
Just don’t! It’s so much easier to never start than it is to try and stop! It’s a nasty habit that only destroys your health. So, just don’t ever start!
25. Always Tell The Truth
Your word is your bond. Nobody can trust a liar. The more you lie, the more there is for you to try and keep straight. You will forget who you told what. The lies will come to light, then none of your friends, co-workers, or anyone you lied to will ever trust you. What good does it do for you to lie in the first place? Just tell the truth!
26. Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Out
This is part of being true to yourself. Don’t be afraid to admit the truth, speak out about what you know and how you feel. Especially in relationships you must speak up for yourself. Nobody can read your mind.
27. Stand Up For What You Know Is Right
Always stand up and do what you know is the right thing to do. Even if no one else stands with you. You have to do what you know to be the just and right thing. In the long run, you will be glad that you did.
28. Don’t Always Take The Easy Way
Just because it seems or looks easy, does not mean that it is the best way or the correct way. So even if it is harder, do it right.
29. Be Kind to Everyone
Nothing more needs to be said about this one.
30. Always Choose Your Child First
Once you have a child, you must put that child’s mental and physical well being first, even before your own. When you make the decision to give birth to that child, you are making a commitment to them to love, protect, nurture, and provide for them at least until they are 18. So you must do your very best at all times to keep that promise to them. At all costs!
I always thought I was doing this for my three children. However, in hindsight, I can readily admit that my choice to marry my second husband was not a good decision. It was not a healthy relationship and it affected my children in negative ways. My biggest regret in life.
Love Letter To My Younger Self
You are only 24 and about to meet your true soul mate. You will fall in love on sight, as he will with you too. You will marry within a month and it will be the happiest time of your life. He will provide a terrific life for you that allows you to stay at home to raise your 3 kids. Don’t feel lonely when he has to work away from home. Don’t be a spoiled brat and feel disappointed in him. Don’t turn to whiskey and a cigarette just because you are lonely. And when that friend asks you to go to the club that night while the kids were with your mom, don’t go! That one fateful night changed everything! However, you did well getting your nurse’s license. I’m proud of you for that. That was one of the best things you ever did. You’ve had a hell of a ride! You have great friends that will be by your side for over 50 years. You were blessed with wonderful parents and a hero for a big brother. Don’t change you’re attitude or personality, they will serve you well. Trust in God. He will always be there for you and will carry you through the hard times. You will have a wonderful life. You will enjoy life and have fun. Your children will grow into successful happy adults. The words of advice from your older self are to stay true to yourself and your commitments. Fight for your first marriage. Fight hard! Don’t let it end in divorce. Don’t marry that second husband. That will be your one life’s regret. Continue to dance every chance you get, but only dance with your one true partner and your party will go on forever.
your 58-year-old self.
What are somethings you wish you had known before you were 30? Did you find this post helpful? Leave me a comment! I love hearing from my readers!
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I hope you dance
Until next time,