This isn’t my typical blog post but I have hit a major milestone in life and I wanted to share. As cliche as it is, I cannot believe I turned 30 today. I have never been happier or more fulfilled, and I can’t wait for the next decade of life.
My original life plan was to have my first baby by 30, be married (of course), and be a proud homeowner in my rural hometown. The reality is that I am a soon-to-be divorced, single mom of a toddler with two master’s degrees and working two jobs while living in an apartment in another state. Life has a funny way of working out and being better than expected.
I am sharing 30 things I have learned in my 20s in honor of my 30th birthday. I divided it into three sections, physical, mental, and social, for an easier read.
General practitioners are great, but I highly recommend getting referrals for medical specialists because they have more experience and knowledge. Examples of medical specialists include:
Getting LASIK eye surgery at age 24 was hands down the best investment I’ve made so far. I was not too fond of the hassle of contacts and glasses, especially when traveling. Now I have 20/20 vision and one less worry.
I grew up on a ranch and had the worst allergies my entire life. My eyes would swell shut, I had to avoid the hay altogether, and I had to limit physical touch with the animals I loved. In addition, my allergies lead to other chronic health conditions like asthma and chronic sinusitis (frequent sinus infections). I started my allergy shots in November of 2022, and I have noticed a slight difference between my two cats, but it’s still too soon to report a huge change.
Yes, even in the wintertime. The UV rays from the sun damage skin, which can lead to an older appearance and possibly skin cancer. I buy face lotion with SPF in it, but I also keep sunscreen on my desk at work.
You don’t have to go to the gym for an hour and a half every day to be fit. Instead, find one or two activities that don’t feel like “work,” then do them. For example, I enjoy walking and stretching. Every weekday I try and walk for thirty minutes on my lunch break since my schedule is jam-packed.
Don’t waste your time with diets because they aren’t practical long-term and suck the joy out of your short life. Instead, find ways to add more fiber to your diet with veggies and fruit that you enjoy eating to be more consistent.
In graduate school, I learned the terrible habit of running myself into the ground. Constantly working negatively affected my mental and physical health and still impacts me. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
I am one of those people who notices the different “taste” of water. I am horrified by the waste of money I spent on plastic water bottles over the years. I bought a cute Stanley cup and a water purifier and have yet to look back.
After having a newborn who wasn’t the best sleeper, I started going to bed early and waking up earlier than I did pre-baby. At first, it was a hard adjustment, but now I can’t function any other way. Waking up before the sun has made me more productive and better prepared for the day.
I love the quote, “being well-dressed is a beautiful form of politeness.” I look as professional as possible, but I also need to be comfy because my job can be physically demanding. So make sure your pants aren’t too tight, and you can run in your shoes if needed.
This one might be controversial, but I said what I said. I regret getting my belly button, top, and bottom, pierced after experiencing pregnancy.
Work on finding healthy coping strategies instead. Plus, these chemicals can harm your mind and body. For example, I stopped drinking once I discovered it causes premature aging. Not to mention the negative impact it can have on your family and friends if you become addicted.
My grandma used to say this to me. Take your time and learn to enjoy the process. Reflect on the need to rush.
Reflect on when you have the most energy and drive. Then, whether it’s in the morning, afternoon, or evening, prioritize your tasks accordingly.
I like the perspective of the quote, “Growing older is a privilege denied to many,” because it makes you realize that getting older isn’t a bad thing. With the wrinkles comes wisdom; I get better with age like a fine wine.
I had a lot of anxiety surrounding bringing children into the world, especially with finances. I had planned on having kids later in life to pay off debt, save, and travel but I only became disciplined once I had a baby. Of course, there’s never a “right time,” but if you can and do want kids, then I say go for it.
Pay attention and be mindful of the little things in life; one day, they will become the big things.
This one goes hand in hand with #16. The sooner you can learn to control your money, the your money won’t be able to control you. Oh, and avoid debt as much as feasibly possible.
Even if it’s just for a weekend trip, get out there, learn about different cultures, and expose yourself to different ways of thinking.
Having at least one hobby makes you more interesting and helps you find ways to make your time more meaningful.
Here’s the link to my blog post on the importance of having a hobby: https://courtneybenner.com/2023/01/25/hobby/
You can make or buy one at Costco, depending on your preference. It’s better to have a car kit and not need it than to not have a car kit and need it.
It takes five minutes but makes all the difference in your mental health and keeping your living space tidy.
When was the last time you did something for the first time? Trying new things keeps life exciting and worth living. Plus, you never know if you are on the verge of finding your next favorite thing.
I wish Disney had warned me about that. Before tying the knot, ensure you know their:
This reveals a lot about your partner’s work habits and organizational skills.
It’s a challenging but necessary skill to learn. Unfortunately, some people want to take advantage of others, so it’s best to know how to deal with their maladaptive behavior.
Love should never cause harm. Here is a resource you can utilize if you suspect abuse in your relationship: https://www.thehotline.org/
There are so many creeps online. Don’t let them know where you live or your routines.
They will get a great night’s rest, and you will be a fantastic hostess.
You can’t expect someone else to do it if you aren’t doing it.
You become an average of the five people you spend the most time with so choose wisely. Make sure their values and lifestyle align with your life path.
Here’s to a bigger and better list in ten years. Let me know in the comments if there’s anything you’d add to my list. Happy Valentine’s Day!
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