I’m hitting a milestone birthday this year, I’m turning 30. It’s kind of a big deal.
I’m looking behind me, at all the places I’ve been in my 20’s. I’m looking ahead to, at all the great things I want to do in my 3o’s too, but that’s another post for another day.
I never thought I’d be where I am today, but I guess that shouldn’t surprise me. I turned out to be a lot cooler than I thought I was going to be.
You know I’ve never been shy about my past. It wasn’t a happy place. When I was twenty, I had a two year old daughter that I couldn’t control. I wasn’t a writer yet, I didn’t have a job, and I had nothing like a support system. In fact, I was surrounded by people who told me all the time that I was bad and wrong. I had ‘sinned’, and my family had no intention of letting me forget it. I was in an abusive relationship, and I thought that was all the more I deserved. I was a republican who had read all of Ann Coulter’s books, and thought that women should stay home and care for our children. (But I still didn’t vote for Bush.)
Flash forward to today. I have two smart, funny monsters that become more and more like the great women I know they’ll be one day. I have a day job that I like, and I’m proud of what I do. I’m surrounded by people who love me, exactly as I am. I am married to a wonderful man who makes me laugh every day. I am a steadfast Democrat Feminist. I am, and forever will be, a writer.
Needless to say, a transformation like that took time. I learned a lot, and realized that the way I saw the world was limited to the way I’d been raised. When I saw more of the world, I grew and I changed. And I learned.
Here then, is a list of 30 things I’ve learned in my (almost) 30 years. Some of them are personal to me, but I hope you might find something here to help you.
- I am not an inconvenience. You are not an inconvenience, and anyone who tells you otherwise is someone you don’t need in your life. Even if it’s your family.
- Taking steps to organize my life has helped my anxiety a ton. It’s still there, but a lot more manageable.
- I like very sweet red wine, and good spiced rum. Most other alcohol tastes nasty to me. It’s worth it to find this out early.
- You might come to realize that, even if your family is terrible, you might find that there is something good inside you that you can trace back there. I can lay claim to just that good, and give up the bad. I get my work ethic from my mother, my love of things nerdy from my grandma and my desire to make people feel good about themselves from my aunt.
- There are a lot of things you shouldn’t buy cheap. Make up, shoes, jeans, booze, hair products, art supplies, chocolate, bras and electronics just to name a few.
- There are also things you shouldn’t invest a ton in. Underwear, shirts, raw cooking ingredients and anything you’re going to get tired of soon anyway.
- You should try new food any time you can. Have you ever heard of lassi? It’s an Indian drink that’s made of yogurt and rose water and it’s amazing. How would I ever have found that out if I hadn’t gone to a random little Indian place while we were in Pittsburgh?
- I used to be a big horror fan. I’m not anymore. It’s not that I’ve lost my stomach for gore, though that’s part of it. The stories just seem juvenile anymore.
- I had a great English teacher once that told me that when you’ve read and watched enough stories, you’ll be able to guess the ending of any book or movie. He said he hadn’t seen a movie ending that had shocked him in years. Man, was he ever right.
- Ten years ago, I didn’t know what an introvert was, or that I was one. Or that it was okay to be one. But I am and it is.
- You should always carry cash.
- Drinking a good cup of coffee or tea can make your whole day better, even when that doesn’t make any sense.
- I don’t remember where I heard this, but it’s served me well. Talk to grownups like children and children like grown ups. Probably not your spouse, but just about anyone else.
- Not everyone is on my learning curve. I learn fast, especially with technology. There are lots of people that learn faster than me, and lots of people that learn as fast of me. Some people don’t learn as fast as me, but that doesn’t make them any less smart than me. Despite my newfound love for my own intelligence, I shouldn’t treat others like they’re dumb just because they don’t get things as quickly as I do.
- Done is better than perfect, in almost any situation.
- You have to at least like what you do for a living. You don’t have to love it, though you should try for that if you can get it. But you shouldn’t hate it. Most of us spend half our waking time at work. You shouldn’t hate it, and if you do hate it, you should find a different job.
- Even if you work every day at it, writing a whole book and doing it right is going to take a long freaking time. Get used to it.
- What we deserve in life and what we get is sometimes going to be different. Sometimes you’re just not going to get what you deserve. Sometimes assholes are also not going to get what they deserve either. That’s going to suck a whole bunch, but it’s still a fact. You’re going to be happier if you accept it.
- Some people are meant to be homemakers. Some people are great parents, but meant to be breadwinners. Your gender has nothing to do with this.
- Meditation helps, even when you think it isn’t doing shit.
- You’re not supposed to wash your hair every day. It’s bad for it.
- You, all by yourself, are probably a pretty cool person.
- The system doesn’t always work, and just because someone in a position of authority is going to be wrong, or lie to me.
- It’s worth it to take time to draw, paint or create art, even if I have no intention of doing it professionally.
- Stand up is the perfect form of entertainment.
- I should really have some money put aside for emergencies. Like when I thought our dog’s neutering was going to be covered by the adoption agency, and it turns out they only intend to reimburse me.
- It’s usually worth it to learn something I thought would be too hard. For instance, I used to know very little about computers.
- I’m going to not be able to drink as much as you could last year. Every single year.
- It really is worth it to just dress how I want to dress. Because anyone who’s judging me by how I dress isn’t someone I want to hang out with anyway.
- And finally, I am smarter than I was raised to believe. That one took awhile, but it finally sunk in. You, you there reading, you probably are too.