You’ve hit the big Three-Oh, and perhaps then some. You probably have your priorities straight; your career, finances, home, and relationships are (for the most part) sorted out and regular. You may even be happy with your life as it is – but that doesn’t mean you have life totally figured out.
The 30s come to everyone – whether you want them to or not – and usually some degree of stability and contentment comes with them. However, adaptation to your newfound secure lifestyle may dissolve memories of experiences long past. Those diverse experiences allowed you to better understand the people and world around you, and thus they remain abundantly important even as you transition into a calmer lifestyle. To make sure you remain as mindful as possible as you survive your 30s (and beyond), here are the top nine life lessons most often forgotten by 30-somethings.
1. The Feeling of Being Lost
“I know well what I am fleeing from but not what I am in search of.” – Michel de Montaigne
For the first 10 years or so, being an adult is utterly terrifying. People never stop asking you who you are and what you want to be, but no matter how hard you try, you can never generate a satisfying answer. Without direction, you can feel lost and alone. Yet, as scary as that sensation is, you also feel slightly exhilarated because you are completely open to new opportunities.
2. The Variety of Dreams
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney
You may have found success and stability in any number of ways, but your path certainly isn’t the only one that leads to a happy life. Dreams are as unique as the people who hold them, and you shouldn’t chastise anyone – especially anyone younger than you – for harboring a dream that differs from your reality.
3. The Importance of Play
“A little nonsense, now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.” – Roald Dahl
You probably tell yourself that you don’t have time to play (i.e. to engage in purposeless, pleasurable fun) but the truth is you have replaced valuable active play with more passive activities, like watching television. Research shows that play is as important for adults as for kids, so you should start making play a bigger part of your life.
4. The Pleasure of New Experiences
“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” – Paulo Coelho
To young people, it seems that every experience is something new and exciting. Yet, once you reach your 30s, new experiences are harder to find – which makes them less enjoyable to pursue. Still, even the smallest new experience can bring pleasure that is well worth the cost; even signing up for one of the best rewards credit cards may lead you to a thrilling experience.
5. The Reasons to Party
“I want to rock and roll all night and party every day.” – KISS
When you hit 30, your body seems immediately less amenable to partying hard. The cheap drinks don’t taste as good, the loud music leaves your ears buzzing all night, and the hangovers linger on for days. Unfortunately, 30-somethings have forgotten the catharsis and celebration that only parties provide – even if they aren’t all-out ragers.
6. The Dangers of Bullying
“Not everyone has been a bully or the victim of bullies, but everyone has seen bullying, and seeing it, has responded to it by joining in or objecting, by laughing or keeping silent, by feeling disgusted or feeling interested.” – Octavia Butler
It seems that kids get lectured every semester on the importance of treating their peers with positivity and respect, but after high school, adults receive no such reminders. Bullying happens just as often in the adult world, but most 30-somethings choose to see bullying as something else, including humor. However, putting someone else down is just as hurtful after 30 as it is under 10, and you should strive to make everyone you meet feel valued.
7. The Brilliance of Innocence
“Innocence is one of the most exciting things in the world.” – Eartha Kitt
After years of failures and successes, you probably have established a standard operating procedure at home as well as at work. Your experience has ingrained in you a certain way of doing things. However, young people who have no such experience, when confronted with the same problems, have the opportunity to find new, creative solutions that may just be better than your tried-and-tired methods. Innocence is not always a bad quality.
8. The Burn of Curiosity
“Curiosity is the lust of the mind.” – Thomas Hobbes
Long out of academia, most 30-somethings only demonstrate mild inquisitiveness in the world around them. You might watch a documentary now and again, but rarely do adults outside of college feel intense desire to know more. Yet, curiosity is a powerful, transformative emotion, and developing a thirst for knowledge (and slaking it) will make you a better person.
9. The Joy of Simple Touches
“I wanna hold your hand.” – The Beatles
When you were a teenager, any physical interaction with your crush felt breathtakingly taboo. Young people delight in the smallest, simplest touches: holding hands, hugging, kissing. Unfortunately, older people often forget how these touches can bring joy. You should strive to incorporate more positive touches in your days.
10. The Relief of Getting Help
“You will find that help will always be given to those who ask for it.” – JK Rowling
Even in your 30s, there are times when you will feel uncertain, but as true adults, many people forget that seeking help is an option – or else they refuse to accept help out of pride or fear. Yet, receiving aid when you truly need it is one of the most satisfying sensations: You solve your problem, learn more about the world, and, perhaps, make a valuable friend.
Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com