Today is my 31st birthday.
I didn’t really freak out when I turned 30. For some reason, turning 31 (and officially being “in” my 30s) seems to be hitting a bit harder. It could be that I’m a month away from being a father once again. It could be something else.
All that said, I’ve had a bit of time to think and reflect on how my life has progressed since turning 30. It may only be a number, but my 31st year has taught me a lot about myself. Here are a few things I’ve learned since hitting that number:
1. I had no true concept of what my adult life would be like, and that’s okay.
I never had the concept in my mind of what my adult life would look like, and somehow, I think I’m better for it. There’s something about zero expectations that makes life a bit easier to navigate.
2. Nothing is more complicated than explaining a “grown up” concept to a 4-year-old.
My daughter is old enough to ask many questions about topics that I would classify as “above her pay grade.” Yet, you have to provide some sort of answer and frame it in such a way that it can be at least partially understood.
3. Being a parent is the ultimate improv class.
Every day requires a new kind of “making it up as we go on the spot.”
4. Things will hurt whether you use them or not. You might as well use them.
I’ve now reached the age where I can hurt myself by daring to wake up and get out of bed. If that’s the case, I figure I might as well hurt for a good reason, not a lame one. That’s why, courtesy of a gift card from my folks, I picked up and am starting to use a FitBit.
5. Being good at something does not obligate you to continue to do said something.
A friend of mine recently walked away from a long, successful career in marketing to become a chef. A chef. Just goes to show you that you can walk away from something you’re good at.
6. You don’t have to have your life figured out at age 30—but you do need to own what you’re doing.
I doubt anyone grows up wanting to be an email marketer (regardless of my four-year-old pretending to “go to work” to “do emails”). That said, you need to be responsible and own what you’re doing in that moment. You can’t just wallow in the potentially disappointing fact that you don’t “have it all figured out.” You need to accept your lot, set goals, move forward, and accept that life makes you change.
7. Perhaps the most important thing you can teach anyone is how to make a decision for themselves.
There’s too much information and “information” out there. And teaching people HOW to think (not WHAT to think) is critical to growth, perspective, and decision-making.
It’s also the hardest thing to do. Because people are inherently lazy and afraid to make decisions. We’re all guilty of it, and we all need to continue to teach ourselves to do it.
8. If you’re not learning, you’re not living.
I have it easy with a four-year-old teaching me new things every day. But, honestly, if you’re not learning, what are you doing?
What are some things you’ve learned in the last year? Share them below.