I turned 30 a few weeks back. Some say that makes me an adult, but I often feel that’s a destination that works itself ever further away with every passing year. Wonder keeps one young, and this life fills me over and over. However, despite not yet knowing the feeling of the word adult, I have decided to commemorate my birthday on this blog with 30 of my thoughts at 30. I feel a little shy about this as it’s not only a birthday cliche but could also appear somewhat arrogant. I’m more young and foolish than old and wise, and I struggle to follow my own advice, but I enjoy reading thoughts from everyone, so here I’ll add mine to the mix. Thank you, as always, for reading.
1. Be the change you want to see in the world. That’s my favourite advice ever spoken.
2. Allow your opinions of your loved ones the space to grow. Just because someone was selfish/loud/arrogant when you were 16 doesn’t mean they’re the same now. People can and do change.
3. If you see a friend lose someone they love, don’t wait for them to be over it. As I said in a recent post, grief doesn’t go away, it merely changes shape.
4. When you find yourself being self-critical and mean to yourself, think about how you’d treat a child in the same position. We all need mothering.
5. There isn’t just one way to be healthy. Please don’t be evangelical about your way over others.
6. Relationships often hold a mirror to ourselves. We will not always like what we see. Try not to lash out, but be humble, admit your faults and find the strength to change.
7. Never underestimate the power of the placebo effect.
8. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if bikes were prioritised over cars?
9. We are all addicted to something. Don’t judge people by their vice.
10. Too much bickering is perpetuated through the “he said, she said, no, you said, but I said” debate. Memories are fallible. Sometimes one did say what they’re sure they didn’t, and sometimes we misremember what has been said to us. You, I, we, are not always right. Let it go.
11. Asking someone why they’re vegetarian at the dinner table is nearly always going to be awkward.
12. One of the worst things I ever heard a man say was this: “Women should all come with baggage labels”. It’s experience that makes you stronger, wiser and more compassionate. Naïve idealism is often more difficult.
13. Don’t just dance like no-one is watching, live like no-one is watching too. To live in fear of people’s judgments is a prison of your own making.
14. Compassion is often the answer.
15. The people who are most difficult to us are often our greatest teachers. There’s no need to be masochistic about it but don’t be too quick to judge / blame.
16. Travelling is not always synonymous with vacation / holiday time. It can be an education and a way of life.
17. There is no such thing as security.
18. Be careful what you say to children. You’re helping to shape their mind.
19. Choice is dazzling. Don’t let it cripple you. You can make the best of any option.
20. You cannot extract yourself from the world. You are part of it. To look after yourself, you must look after it and everything within it.
21. Give yourself time to play.
22. Be authentic. Don’t present yourself as different to what you are. Through pretense you’re adding to the collective and impossible pursuit of an ideal that doesn’t exist. We need to be vulnerable.
23. Exercise really does make you feel better.
24. There is nothing airy-fairy about mindfulness. It gives us the power to change.
25. Go outside. Look at the details. Let it blow your mind.
26. You cannot hide from your problems. If something is niggling at you, deal with it. Go to the doctor, change your job, communicate with your partner. You’ll thank yourself for it.
27. Things are nearly always worse in your mind.
28. Everything you read is made up of layers, from the publication to the journalist to the funders, to the situation and your own perspective. Be inquisitive.
29. Life is unpredictable. Don’t save your happiness for the future.
30. There is no ivory tower destination of success. Don’t be intimidated by those you look up to. We are all human and we are all finding our way.
And a bonus one: Gratitude is a great antidote to suffering. There’s always something to be thankful for.