I used to imagine that I would be an “old” man when I turned 30. Now that I’ve crossed the 3-0 line, I think the opposite. I have a refreshed vigor for life and look forward to what will be coming in the next decade. Naturally, some things changed when I turned 30. I remember waking up at 5 am on my birthday and taking a walk around the block. I wanted to set a good tone for my new chapter in life.
In this post, I’d like to share a little more about the changes and realizations that come when turning 30. Here they are:
1. Never give up on your passions and dreams, without neglecting people you love.
I dreamed that I would have a million dollars in the bank and be married with three kids right now. None of that is true at the moment. My life path has led me to more clarity about who I am and what I want to do in this world. Turning 30 also turned the switch on my focus. However, this focus had to be balanced with the relationships fostered over the years.
Rather than putting passions to the side, use your new network and resources to really dive in deeper. More importantly, don’t forget about the people around you. They need to know that you love them. A good way to do this is to let them engage your passions with you.
How will you use these resources to manifest what brings meaning to your life?
2. Travel more, but keep driving toward being debt free.
I moved to China in my 20s and took a boatload of credit card and student loan debt with me. Some say I am crazy. For me, it could have been one of the smartest moves I made. I was able to realize a childhood dream of living in China. I also leveraged the lower cost of living to work and pay down my credit card debt. I now have a plan in place for paying down never-ending student loans. Aggressive is the only way to go.
Take a big-picture look at your finances. Decide how much you need to make a steady, aggressive payment against them. After you make the plan, it really boils down to sticking with it over the long run.
3. It’s time to trade in the B-52 shots for more B-12 Vitamins.
After a long work week, I really do appreciation the time of dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing) that I learned from watching the movie Eat, Pray, Love. I used to laugh at older friends that slowly disappeared from the the Friday-night happy hour. Now I have become one of them. Looking forward to doing nothing has become so sweet. However, this doesn’t mean getting lazy. We have to also change up the food that we eat so our brain stays keen and active.
Spend more time eating more of those superfoods that you read about online. It may take a few sacrifices to get to a good routine, but you’ll feel better and have more energy.
4. Be more intentional about your fitness, AND don’t forget the recovery plan for the day after.
It’s no secret that my metabolism has shifted to a lower gear. One day I decided to go for an intense workout plan — like when I was on the basketball team in high school. What I didn’t realize about turning 30 was the amount of recovery time needed from my over-intense workout session. I had aches in places I didn’t know were muscles. As I pushed through maintaining a steady routine, I found that I could get back in shape. It just took a little longer than I expected.
Staying physically healthy will become more important. Getting started is not easy. Remember that the pain that comes will make you stronger.
5. Try being a minimalist and see what you learn physically and mentally.
For one year, I got rid of my bed, excess clothes, and anything else deemed “unnecessary.” I wanted to try minimizing my life down to two suitcases so I could travel anywhere. I learned that there were many things that I kept around for sentimental value, but didn’t really need.
Take a look at your stuff and slowly start to declutter. This can be in your physical environment and your mind. You’ll learn something about yourself in the process.
6. Despite knowing many people, they all might not be the best for you.
I started focusing my “inner circle” of friends. Mostly, because I didn’t have enough time to hang around everyone. Also, I wanted to spend more time with people that were passionate about doing things that have meaning in their lives.
Once you find what is important and has meaning to you, take a look at the people you are around. Who we hang around influences what we do, where we go, what we think, etc. Take a look and decide what works best for you.
7. Start saying “no” more than you say “yes.”
As I get older, I find that I need to say “no” more than I say “yes” to things. There are many things that pique my interest, but I won’t have the time and energy to do everything at once. This goes back to point one: check that you are doing things that are in line with your values and purpose. There is a gentle art to saying “no” without coming off as an *sshole
8. Although you are super busy, find time to contribute to something greater than yourself.
I’m trying to build my own business at the moment. It takes up a lot of my time. We will always have more than enough things to do. It is important to keep in mind that life is not all about me. Our time on this earth is limited, and if we wait until later to start, it will probably never happen. Carve out some time in the schedule and make a contribution somewhere, to something.
Do something for the next generation. You’ll be glad you did.
9. Learn to forgive yourself and others so you can keep moving forward in love.
Life happens. I know I’ve made decisions that I now look back on and see how stupid they were. People around me have also done some things that didn’t resonate with my core. Should I continue letting it bother me?
Pain and regret is a heavy weight on our life. Keeping that emotional pain inside is an even greater burden. It’s time to make amends with the things that have brought you pain in the past. By releasing this weight from your subconscious mind, you can free yourself and move forward in love.
10. Although you resist it, you are probably becoming like your parents. Embrace it. Talk to them.
My younger self wanted to figure out things on my own. I was trying to work through life changes as they came. As I meditated and reflected on the things that challenged me, I found that my tendencies didn’t fall far from the same ones my parents used to tell me about.
Your parents have some wisdom about life. It’s worth it to listen and then decide for yourself what you want to do with it.
11. It’s okay that you don’t understand why the youngsters like that new app.
When Snapchat came out, I didn’t understand why anyone would use it. I still don’t use it. There is going to be more and more technology emerging. Trying to keep up with everything will make you go crazy.
12. Listen to the “should’s” and then listen to what your heart says.
“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” — Jim Rohn
As I turned 30, everyone was giving me advice about what I should be doing. There were opinions about how much money I should be making, where I should live, when I should get married, etc. All of this advice is given with good intention. What mattered most was what where my heart was directing me. I decided to start making decisions for myself that were in line with my values and life direction.
Even if you don’t have a life plan, consider the direction that you are going.
Take everything written above with a grain of salt. It’s also just one post-30-year-old’s opinion for you to consider.
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