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12 Choices Everyone Should Make When Turning 30

12 Choices Everyone Should Make When Turning 30

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Featured photo credit: Rawpixel.com via shutterstock.com

More by this author

Paris Law

Life Coach & Designer

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Last Updated on September 30, 2020

How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

We often hear people talk about the importance of living in the present and the different ways it will benefit us. It all sounds wonderful, especially the lower levels of stress and anxiety, but how exactly can we live in the moment when our mind is constantly worrying about the past or plans for the future?

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of living in the moment you may not be aware of. Then, we’ll look at some of the obstacles and why we worry. Finally, and most importantly, I’ll show you how to live in the moment and stop worrying using some simple practices that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.

The result: a happier and more fulfilling life.

The Importance of Living in the Moment

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha

While it can be difficult to live in the moment, it has innumerable benefits.

Here are just a few that will enhance your life tremendously:

Better Health

By reducing stress and anxiety, you avoid many of the associated health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Studies have shown that being present can also improve psychological well-being[1].

Improve Your Relationships

Have you ever been with someone who is physically present, but mentally s/he’s a million miles away?

Being with unavailable people is a struggle, and building relationships with them extremely difficult.

How about being with someone who is fully present? We enjoy being with her/him because we can make a much deeper connection.

By living in the moment, you can be that person other people enjoy being with, and you make relationships much easier.

Greater Self-Control

You have greater control over your mind, body, and emotions. Imagine how much better your life would be if it weren’t at the mercy of a racing mind and unpredictable emotions. You would certainly be more at peace, and much happier[2].

Why Do We Worry?

Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between worry and concern.

When we are concerned about something, we are more likely dealing with a real problem with realistic solutions. Then, once we do whatever we can to address the problem, we’re willing to live with the outcome.

Worrying, on the other hand, involves unrealistic thinking. We may worry about a problem that doesn’t really exist, or dwell on all the bad things that can happen as a result. Then, we feel unable to deal with the outcome. Either way, we have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, which is a normal part of life.

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Certainly, some of our problems may not have desirable outcomes, such as a serious health issue. Some problems may be beyond our control, such as civil unrest or economic downturn. In such cases, it can be hard to avoid worrying, but not impossible.

3 Steps to Start to Live in the Moment

Step 1: Overcome Worrying

In order to overcome worrying, we need to do two things:

Calm Your Mind

When you calm your mind, you are able to see more clearly.

The reason some problems seem so daunting is that our mind is racing so fast that we cannot see things as they truly are. Then, we make up a bunch of possible scenarios in our mind, most of which are unlikely to come true.

In addition to seeing more clearly, a calm mind will help us think more realistically. Unrealistic thinking is fueled by confusion and uncontrolled emotions. Calming your mind will reduce confusion and calm your emotions, allowing you to live in the present.

Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems

Some people tend to be more solution-oriented, and others more problem-oriented. Some of the factors that may determine this are gender, upbringing, and education.

People with more education tend to be problem-solvers. That is what their years of education train them to do. In addition, their jobs probably reinforce this way of thinking.

If you’re not problem-solving oriented, don’t worry. You can train yourself to worry less. We’ll discuss that soon.

Step 2: Identify Obstacles to Living in the Moment

In today’s busy world, it can be a challenge to live in the moment. The reasons revolve around how our mind works, as well as outside influences.

Racing Mind

Many busy people have a racing mind that never seems to slow down. Their mind gets so agitated from too much sensory stimulation.

You see, anything that stimulates any of our five senses will trigger a thought, and that thought leads to another, and then another, and so on.

If you have a busy life, all your activities will overstimulate your mind and make it seemingly impossible to slow it down.

Unpleasant Situations and a Troublesome Past

None of us want to be in unpleasant situations, or remember those of the past. They can bring up painful emotions, which we don’t want to feel.

So how do most people cope with painful emotions?

By doing whatever we can to avoid them, we can take our mind to another place and time where things are more pleasant.

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In other words, we avoid living in the present moment.

Some people resort to things that stimulate sensory pleasure, such as food, alcohol, or sex. Others will consume substances that dull their mind and keep them from thinking about unpleasant or stressful situations.

A Wandering Mind

From the moment we are born (likely sooner) until the time we die, our body and mind are active performing some function. Therefore, it’s natural for our mind to have some level of activity, whether conscious or unconscious.

Generally, a wandering mind is unproductive. One thought starts an endless chain of thoughts, and this process can go on until we need our mind to perform a specific function or get distracted with something else.

Now, there are times when a wandering mind can be productive, such as when creating works of art, or trying to find creative solutions to problems. In such cases, we need our mind to explore different possibilities[3].

Outside Influences

Most of us are not fully aware of how our environment and social norms influence our thinking and behavior. People and institutions are constantly competing for our attention. The media draws our attention to the past, and advertising usually to the future[4].

Many people around us who dwell on the past or future try to draw us to their way of thinking. Even the whole concept of the American dream is geared toward the future. It tells us that if we acquire things like a good career, family, and house, then we’ll be happy.

Step 3: Practice Mindfulness

So how can we live in the moment in a world that is constantly trying to draw our attention to the past and future?

Before we get into concrete actions you can take, it’s important to understand what mindfulness is. You’ve probably heard the term before, but may not fully understand what it means.

Understand Mindfulness

The concept of mindfulness is actually quite simple. To be mindful is to live in the moment.

When you are mindful, your attention is focused on what is happening in the present moment, and you are fully in touch with reality[5].

You are aware of what is happening in your body, mind, emotions, and the world around you. This is different than thinking about these things. To develop greater understanding, you don’t have to think about them so much, but rather just observe them.

This may be counterintuitive to many people, especially intellectuals, because they’re so used to using logic to develop greater understanding. With mindfulness, we calm our mind and emotions so we can see clearer. Then, much of our understanding will come from simple observation. When we develop mindfulness, we literally expand our awareness.

To develop mindfulness, we need to train ourselves to observe things more objectively, that is, without our emotions or preconceived ideas influencing our views.

If you’re ready to live a better life, read on for some simple mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you live in the moment.

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You don’t have to do all of them, but rather choose the ones that appeal to you and suit your lifestyle.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is the mainstay of developing mindfulness and living in the moment. To practice mindfulness meditation, all you really have to do is sit quietly and follow your breathing. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.

Notice how your lungs expand with each in-breath and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural.

You don’t have to do it perfectly. The idea is to start spending time away from the constant sensory stimulation of all your activities, and just allow it to settle down naturally. Start with about 5 to 10 minutes per day and work your way up to about 20 minutes or longer.

This practice is highly effective, and can have both short-term and long-term benefits.

If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, take a look at this article: What Is Mindfulness Meditation? 7 Ways to Start Meditating

Mindful Breathing

While this may sound the same as mindfulness meditation, all you’re really doing is taking short breaks occasionally (10 to 15 seconds) to observe your breathing. Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a few mindful breaths, then resume your activity. That’s it.

You can do mindful breathing at any time of the day during your busy schedule. What it does is interrupt the acceleration of your mind. It is like taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. It’s a nice refreshing break you can take without anyone noticing.

Here’re some breathing exercises you can try to learn: 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly)

Mindful Walking

Walking is an activity that you perform several times throughout the day. We often think we’re being productive by texting or calling someone while walking. But are we really?

Instead of getting on your cell phone or letting your mind wander off, why not use your walking to train yourself to live in the moment and focus on the task at hand?

Mindful walking is similar to mindful breathing, but instead of focusing on your breath, focus on your walking. Pay attention to each footstep. Also, notice the different motions of your arms, legs, and torso. When your mind wanders off, just bring your attention back to your walking.

You can even make a meditation out of walking. That is, go walking for a few minutes outside. Start by slowing down your pace. If you slow down your body, your mind will follow.

In addition to paying attention to your walking, notice the trees, sunshine, and critters. A mindful walk is enjoyable and can really help your mind settle down.

You can discover more benefits of walking in nature here.

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Mindful Eating

Eating is an activity that most of us perform mindlessly. The reason is that it doesn’t require your attention to perform. Therefore, many of us try to multitask while we eat. We may talk on the phone, text, watch TV, or even hold a meeting.

The problem with not eating mindfully is that we don’t eat what our body and mind need to perform at an optimal level[6]. We may eat unhealthy foods, or too much. This can lead to various health problems, especially as we get older.

Live in the present with mindful eating.

    Mindful eating has many health benefits, such as reduced food cravings, better digestion, and even weight loss[7].

    So how do you eat mindfully? Start by slowing down, and avoid the temptation to distract yourself with another activity. Here are 3 different aspects of eating where you can practice mindfulness:

    • Eating itself: Focus your attention on choosing a portion of food to insert into your mouth. Notice the smell, flavor, and texture as you chew it; then finally swallow it. As with following your breath during meditation, pay close attention to every aspect of eating.
    • Choice of foods: Although you’ve already chosen your food before you have begun eating, you can still take the opportunity to contemplate your choices. Think about the nutrients your body needs to sustain itself.
    • Contemplating the sources: Most of us don’t think about all the work it takes to provide us with the food we eat. While you’re eating, consider all the work by the farmer, shipping company, and the grocery store. These are real people who worked hard to provide you with the food necessary for your survival.

    You can find more tips about mindful eating here: 7 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating

    Mindful Activities

    Choose an activity that you perform regularly, such as washing dishes. Focus all your attention on this activity, and resist the temptation to let your mind wander,. When it does, just bring your attention back to washing dishes.

    Notice some of the specific movements or sensations of washing dishes, such as how the soapy water feels on your hands, the circular motion of scrubbing the dish, or the rinsing. You’d be surprised at how such a mundane activity can truly expand your awareness.

    You can choose any activity you like, such as ironing, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, or showering. Over time, you will begin doing all these activities with greater mindfulness.

    Final Thoughts

    Practicing mindfulness is like regularly putting small amounts of change in a jar. They will all add up over time, and this will add up to greater peace and happiness, as well as get you closer to achieving your goals.

    Remember, you don’t have to do the mindfulness practices perfectly to get the benefits. All you have to do is keep bringing your mind back to the present moment when it wanders off.

    Practicing mindfulness may be a bit challenging in the beginning, but I can assure you it will get easier.

    The benefits of living in the moment are well within your reach, no matter how much your mind is racing. If you stick with these mindfulness practices, you too will learn how to live in the moment and stop worrying. When you do, a whole new world will open up for you. This is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate reality.

    More About Living in the Present

    Featured photo credit: Smile Su via unsplash.com

    Reference

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