Today is my 30th birthday. I am normally not a birthday person, but this year it is a milestone, and a number like 30 does not go unnoticed.
I’d like to offer some advice that I love and every day have a new opportunity to implement in my life. We are all works in progress.
Please leave your own advice as a comment. I’d love to get more
1. Believe in something larger than yourself. If you ever forget, stand in front of an ocean, lay down under a tall tree, or stare up at the sky. Nature definitely reminds me of a larger universe.
2. Be grateful. Gratitude changes your attitude about life. By focusing on the good things in your life, no matter how small, that goodness increases. Gratitude reminds us that our cup really is overflowing.
3. Be creative. We are made from a Creator and have that creative electricity flowing thorugh us. Don’t block it, give it to the world.
4. Zora Neale Hurston wrote, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” Whichever moment you are in, live that moment. Don’t always rush to the answer because it’s often in grappling with a question that we truly discover who we are.
5. Adopt a pet. Give hope to the ones that have been forgotten and abandoned; it’s a pleasant surprise who really helps whom.
6. A day without laughter is a day not lived. Young children laugh 300+ times a day, adults less than 20. Balance your stress with laughter. Read comics, watch funny TV shows, read authors like David Sedaris.
7. Failure is a part of life. Everybody falls on this path. Be the kind of person who can get back up. Even better, get up and help someone else get back up as well.
8. Speaking of failure, a lesson I learned from Oprah, who learned it from Dr. Maya Angelou, whenever I am at a low point, I ask God, “What’s the lesson here? What do you want me to learn?”
9. Move. Move your body. Dance. Exercise. Travel. Live somewhere you never thought you would.
10. Develop rituals and traditions. We are a part of the natural world and need to maintain that rhythm by punctuating it through physical acts. Start with yearly traditions (holidays are and easy one), continue with monthly, and even daily ones (eating dinner with family).
11. Compromise is a part of life. right, honey?
12. Be an independent woman, but depend on love. Yes I’m married, but I have my own savings account, my personal pursuits, and my own retirement account.
13. Pursue joy. It can be something as small as painting your kitchen green or wearing beautiful pearl earrings or planting snapdragons. For me, lots of small joys everyday are better than 1 big joy only once a month.
14. From Finding Nemo.
15. Understand your relationship to fear. Fear’s a natural part of life, but manifests in different ways for people. For some it is more powerful. Some are born with the gift of honing it. Fear is a master of illusions. As soon as you know its tricks, you will better be able to move through it.
16. Life is full of irony. Some favorites from my own life include running a half marathon at the heaviest weight in my life, being a high school English teacher and an awful speller, and marrying a math whiz even though I still have to do addition with my fingers.
17. Breathe. Try meditation or whenever you feel overwhelmed, just do 10 breathing excersizes (breathe in for a count of 5, hold for 2, breathe out for 5). The act not only slows you down and centers you, but it also brings more oxygen into your body (which gives a little oxygen high).
18. Cook like an artist, use color whenever possible. Bring in lots of color from vegetables and fruits. Color makes for a really pretty meal (something to notice and be thankful for), and it also gets more vitamins and minerals in your body.
19. Get a plant. Even if you have a black thumb or are a wannabe green thumb (like me). I love Christmas Cactus for a beginner plant. They are forgiving if you forget to water them and brilliant when they flower. If the plant dies, just get another one and try again. All the best gardeners have had plants die on them.
20. Know who you are and find kindred spirits. I’m an introvert and love to read. It took me close to 25 years to not be embarrassed by the fact that an ideal Friday night for me is cozied up at home with a good book or movie.
21. Connect to the flow. Some call it God, chi, energy, creativity. Whatever your nomenclature, connect to it. The best ways I’ve found to connect and go with the flow of life are writing, walking, prayer, and poetry (especially Mary Oliver’s poems).
22. Simplify, simplify, simplify. William Morris wrote “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” We often hold onto the past in our objects. Keep the most important things but clear out the rest. According to feng shui, this clearing process helps the energy of life move more freely in yours.
23. Cry when you need to. It is a great release. It is also a form of being in the flow of life. Damming up emotions, stops life from flowing.
24. Go to bed at the same time as your partner. It can only lead to more intimacy. You will either make love more or talk more.
25. “The best students get the hardest tests.” This is a quote from Iyanla Vanzant who was on Oprah’s life class special. (Have you noticed a trend with the lessons from Oprah?) God gives hard tests for us to learn from.
26. Your instinct knows. Part of quieting down and connecting to the flow is to be able to hear that whispering voice that is your instinct. Trust it and reconnect with it through prayer, writing, or walking whenever in doubt.
27. You can do anything for 15 minutes. This is a great way to combat procrastination. Set a timer and tell yourself that you’re just doing it for 15 minutes.
28. Hospitality is a form of worship. This is a Jewish proverb from the Talmud. The people and the memories you create with them are what make a house a home.
29. Call your mom or go visit her in person.
30. Don’t worry if you’re 30 and still not sure exactly which direction you want your life to go. I like to remember that Jesus was 30 when he started his ministry. There is plenty of time to discover your purposes in life.
What else do you think is important for a 30 year old?