I’ve been meaning to write this post well before I turned 30 (5 months ago). But life has its way to keep throwing lemons at me… so I was too busy making lemonade. Approaching 30, I’ve learned so much. Below are 7 of my most important life lessons from those 30 years. Hopefully this list will help those are are turning 30 soon!
1. Success is perspective. I’ve always been such an ambitious person. When I was younger, success to me is all about the title and the money you make. I wanted my friends/family to be proud of what I do (more on point 2). The 6 figures, the car, the high-scale parties you attend. That to me means nothing now. You can have all the “success” in the world but without family or friends that’s not a goal I want in life. I have turned down a higher title position because it would require me work around the clock. My weekends and weeknights are too valuable for that. To be honest, I rather use that time to catch up on my sleep. Success can’t be measured by the title you have or where you work. I don’t need a fancy title to lead a team. To me, success is how you decide to live your life and whom you want to spend the time with. A really good read is called “Leaders without a title“. It was gift from my previous mentor. Oh how she was so right.
2. Make a change and don’t be afraid. You know the gut feeling you have when you’re just unhappy,unsatisfied and unfulfilled? It could be your job, your friends, or the place you live. But you are just too comfortable where you are. How do you leave something that you’ve known your entire life? How do you make that change? There’s really no easy answer to that. It’s hard. It’s so damn hard. You go through stages in your mind thinking it’s your fault and how you could have done things differently so that you’re not in the rut where you feel unhappy, unsatisfied and unfulfilled. You have to realize that we are all human – we are programmed to grow and learn throughout different stages of life. You may out grow your friends, your job or that place you’ve called home your entire life. We strive for different things in different stages of life. So don’t hold yourself back when you have that gut feeling you are no longer happy. Don’t be afraid and make that jump, either if it means saying goodbye to the long time friend, or the first job you got right out of school, or moving out of the place you’ve called home. You will be glad you did. Sure, it may hurt, and you may lose sleep for few days, or weeks. But you will adapt and you will glad you did yourself a favour. I remember leaving to Australia for school – yes this means it will put me into debt and leave your family and head to a foreign country you’ve never been… by yourself! This I have to give credit to my long time friend/coworker back then who pushed me to go. I remember him saying – “you’re young, you’re not married, you’re single…. why not???” I hate how he was so right.
3. Health is more important. Without health, nothing else matters. Remember those days where you just eat fries for lunch for the entire week in highschool? 2 packs of salt with extra gravy, and cheese toppings. Yup I did that. Oh those sweet sweet memories. How you never ever need to go the gym? And somehow you managed to keep all the weight off, because clubbing was part of your exercise routine. Well – those days are long gone. Sometimes I hear all my bones crack at the same time when I get up from my bed. The aging is real. So why not take care of your health? I started exercising 5 times a week 3 years ago – to this day.. I still do! (Give or take some lazy days) but I made it into my life routine. I didn’t exercise for the sake of losing weight. I did it because it made me feel good. 3 years ago, I was 15 pounds heavier. My weight hasn’t changed much since last year. I’m happy with my weight and I have never felt better in my skin.
4. Finding your passion is important. This is a toughie. Till this day, I can’t pin point what is my passion. I know I love blogging and taking pictures (I’m sure those who have me on FB realize I like to flood their newsfeed) but that’s not my career path. I can only tell you how much I love my job and what I do. Not sure that’s my passion since I have so many! But that’s OK. I know what I’m good at and I continue to do what I love. Insert cheesy line: When you love what you do, you won’t feel like working a day of your life!
5. Relationships matter. Not every relationship matters all that much, but there are a few that really, really matter. There are a few relationships we should focus on (for most of us there are a handful of relationships that truly matter, probably no more than 10). I found my core relationships when I’m in my mid 20s. These are the people I can’t live without. They are my strength and they truly make me a better and happier person. They bring out the best in me. Growing up as an only child has its disadvantages and advantages. The downside is that I love being around ppl, but they aren’t necessary the right people I should be around. And this leads to point 6.
6. You don’t need everyone to like you. We all want to be loved, it’s a mammalian instinct, but you can’t value every relationship the same, and thus you can’t expect everyone to love you the same. Life doesn’t work that way. Julien Smith articulates this sentiment very well in his essay The Complete Guide to Not Giving a Fuck: “when people don’t like you, nothing actually happens. The world does not end. You don’t feel them breathing down your neck. In fact, the more you ignore them and just go about your business, the better off you are.” how truth is in this book. This point took me a long time to get used to. I am such a people pleaser and it takes me a long time to say no. I often put other people feelings before mine and often this leads to misperception of me. Only those who really know me will really understand my intentions. As I grow older the more “I don’t give a fu*k what you think about me” crosses my mind.
7. Grief comes in different stages. This is the hardest topic. Till this day, I can’t really talk about it without tears streaming down my face. Cemeteries. Some find peace… I on the other hand – I can’t stand it. It triggers every emotion I have. Every time I visit a cemetery I can’t help but cry for the next 3o minutes. I see individuals standing next to their loved one’s grave, my heart hurts for them. I feel their pain. I understand the pain. I want to give them a hug, because I understand just how much it hurts. It hurts. Understand that there’s no “right” way to grief. Everyone grief differently. Understand that time does heal, but it might take a month, years, or never. Grief evolves as we continue on with our life. There are many many moments where I ball out in tears with the slightest trigger. Surround yourself with people who understands and support you. You need them. Lastly, know that you are not alone. My dear friend got me this book. Grieving Recovery – a really good read.
It is not easy growing up and growing old. It comes with a new territory many of us are not familiar with. I can’t stress enough how important it is to surround people around you.
Thanks so much for reading.