On Lessons I’ve Learned Since The Big Three Oh

I didn’t pay much attention to the fact that I turned 30 last December. I was too busy chasing deadlines and trying not to be a shitty mom to notice that I was no longer in my 20s. Since life has slowed down a lot in the last few weeks, I’ve had the breathing space to do a lot of introspective stuff. To acknowledge the lessons I’ve learned, the mistakes I’ve made and give myself the space to accept the fact that I’m actually adulting now, and I’m doing ok.

Here are a few of the things I’ve pondered and realised:

  1. It’s incredible how much life can change in a few short months. Even if you don’t have it all figured out, it’s okay to take it day by day for a while. Whatever it takes to make it through to bedtime. Just keep swimming.
  2. Accept that you can’t please everyone, all of the time. Pick a few people that matter, and concentrate your time on those people. You’ll find you might even have some time left over for yourself.
  3. Nothing can prepare you for marriage. Not dating, not living together, not having kids together. Learn on the job, and learn fast.
  4. Getting married is not a promise, it’s a decision. A decision that you make every morning when you wake up. A decision to be married, to stay married and to be there for the other person.
  5. A marriage isn’t a 50/50 partnership. It’s one person being strong for the other person. It’s being there for the other person to lean on. It’s accepting responsibility for the fact that you made a commitment for better or worse. It’s taking the other person’s help and acknowledging that you need it, too.
  6. Being a better spouse isn’t that difficult. It’s as simple as asking yourself every day “what can I do that can make life a little easier for my other half today?” and then doing it. The small things have a way of adding up.
  7. Don’t take it personally, unless it’s got your name written on it. Not everything is criticism, not all criticism is bad. Just because the shoe fits, doesn’t mean you have to wear it. If you’ve tried your best and given it everything you possibly could, you have nothing to worry about.
  8. It’s okay to open the doors to your past and have a peek. It’s okay to get nostalgic. Don’t step back through those doors. You are where you are because of the fact that you closed those doors and walked away. Don’t forget that.
  9. Forgiveness is easier than holding a grudge. It doesn’t mean that there wasn’t wrong done, it just means that you don’t have to hold on to that hurt any longer.
  10. Patience is the one thing you can never have enough of.  Next to sleep, of course. Work at having more of both.
  11. Being nice is its own reward. Doing nice things for people and then getting pissed off when they don’t acknowledge  or show appreciation negates the good deed. Do things without the expectation of a thank you.
  12. Never forget your own manners.  Please and thank you will always get you further than you expect. Being polite doesn’t hurt. Being an asshole does.
  13. It’s okay to ask for help. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure, it just means that you need back-up. When it comes to other people, offer to help. Mean it. Follow through. Pitch up. Be there. Get involved.
  14. Don’t overthink things. Just let them go. If they don’t want to be there, don’t force it.
  15. Accept compliments. Smile. Return compliments. Compliment strangers. Just be nicer.
  16. If the day was tough, don’t be tougher on yourself. Tomorrow is another day. Try harder tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after that.
  17. Put your foot down when you need to. Stand up for yourself. Communicate when someone else has crossed your line.
  18. You’re not a mind-reader, don’t expect anyone else to be. Express yourself. Tell people how you feel. Don’t assume that they know.
  19. Humble pie isn’t poisonous. Admitting when you’re wrong isn’t the end of the world.  Not being enough isn’t the end of the world, either.
  20. Be selective. Even when making a decision means choosing not to choose, do it for the right reasons.
  21. Give it a chance before you decide it doesn’t work. Try everything. Try some more. Make sure you can say that you’ve tried absolutely everything to make it work.
  22. Know when to keep your mouth shut. Sometimes that will be your only victory, but that’s okay too.
  23. Love them anyway. Even though your children can be obnoxious, moody, rotten and ungrateful little shits, love them. Love them more, love them harder. Same for spouses.
  24. Accept that someone else needed it more than you did. Just because you wouldn’t have handled it the way someone else does, have the grace to forgive.
  25. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Only once, though. Twice is foolish.
  26. Make peace with the fact that you’re different to other people. Work with what you have. You’re more capable than you give yourself credit for.
  27. Your reality is not the same as anyone else. While they might not know how you feel, expecting understanding and a sliver of empathy isn’t unreasonable. Try to return the favour.
  28. Take advice the way it’s intended. For your benefit. To help you make a decision. Realise that it comes from a good place and that there is a difference between criticism and advice.
  29. Be careful who you open up to. Be careful with someone who trusts you enough to open up to you. Don’t make them regret it.
  30. Try harder not to dwell on your regrets. Guilt has a funny way of snowballing. Holding it inside isn’t a strength, it’s a weakness.

Most importantly. Acknowledge what you have. Realise how much you have.



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5 Responses to On Lessons I’ve Learned Since The Big Three Oh

  1. Goose says:

    Awesome lessons, every single one hit home. You’re doing a damn fine job of adulting.

  2. Shebee says:

    Ah man, I loved this post. And look at how adulty you are. And thanks for being such a nice guy – you’re my favorite. Xxx

  3. MeeA says:

    Funny how, every now and then, you catch yourself being all grown up, ne? Most days, I still feel like I’m about to be hauled into the principal’s office for smoking… ;-P

  4. Ankia says:

    I don’t know you IRL, only on social media, but that way I’d like to think I know you quite well. It’s amazing to compare the person who wrote this post to the young, sometimes very angry & confused girl I started following on Twitter when The Kid was still tiny. Well done on being a fantastic adult and putting together this post that has advice that absolutely everyone can use. You rock! 🙂 x

  5. Nihaad says:

    I just saw this post now but it was what I needed to hear, so thank you xo

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