30 Things I learned In 30 Years

I turned 30 last year, and I was pretty excited. I know people are hesitant to accept their age, and maybe I’ll share those sentiments someday. But as I turned 30, things were only looking up. Little did I know, my 30th year would be the year I would see a global pandemic, murder hornets, Joe Exotic on Netflix, Friends go off Netflix, my business shut down, Australia on fire, the potential start of world war 3, a presidential impeachment, Kobe Bryant and Joe Diffie die, and a British Prince step down from royalty… have I missed anything?

As my 31st birthday neared, I considered scrapping this post. This past year, my 30th year, went absolutely nothing like I expected. How can I possibly summarize everything I’ve learned in my lifetime so far into the top 30 things? Especially in the light of everything going on currently. As I sat to list out 30 things I’ve learned I realized why it’s so important to share this list, now more than ever. These may not be the top things I’ve learned and that’s OK. Theses may not be life or death things, but they can be life giving. They are the 30 things that are currently guiding my days and my decisions. Of course, they’ll change over time, coming in and out of my life like a tide. And that’s the beauty of living and learning, isn’t it?

  1. Fear is just a feeling. | Fear is not something concrete in your life. It should not guide your decisions. It’s just a feeling, an emotion that can hold you back from living a beautiful and free life. I’m still learning this, everyday.
  2. Silence the noise. | There is literally SO much of it. I’m so thankful for the internet and the opportunities it allows, but I also think it’s so important to disconnect and silence the constant noise surrounding you.
  3. Explore your options. | If I could go back and tell 18 year old me something, I would say there are so many options and opportunities in life. Don’t rush a decision, just take your time and explore what you enjoy.
  4. Whatever you do, do it well. | Regardless of the decisions you do make in life, make sure you work hard. Hard work doesn’t mean “overwork,” it just means a job well done and investing energy into your commitments.
  5. Instant pot and a good cast iron. | Dinner made delicious and simple, enough said.
  6. You’ll never regret putting people before work. | Quitting my job as a nurse was the easiest decision I ever made. I can always go back to work, and start again. I’ll never be able to get time back in my family’s life.
  7. Invest in a good skin care routine in your 20’s. | I’m not vain, I promise. But I like to feel good in my own skin, literally. I have a great routine now and just wish I had made the investment a bit earlier.
  8. Take care of yourself while you’re still healthy. | The older I get, the more I need to be proactive about my health. As a wife and mom, I want to care for my body well, so that I can help care for others.
  9. Be present. | The best is not always yet to come, enjoy right now.
  10. Invest time in your hobbies. | Sometimes it feels so hard to find the time to fit in things that I enjoy amongst everything that needs done. Yet I always feel so much better after spending time doing something for me.
  11. Write. | Blog, journal, keep a gratitude notebook. Share it with other people or keep it yourself. Just write, it’s therapeutic.
  12. Do what you want, regardless of what people think. | The truth is, most people are too worried about themselves to be thinking about you anyways.
  13. Learn to become a kid again. | Every time my daughter asks me to play hide and seek, tag or eye spy, I’m reminded of how much joy is to be found in childhood. Learn to become a kid again and don’t take life so seriously.
  14. Play music everyday. | Literally every day and make a playlist for every mood.
  15. Pray. | How often do we talk to people throughout our day and never pause to take even a moment to talk to God? Prayer changes thing and reading scripture will guide your life.
  16. Develop a strong workout routine. | Why? Because it’s about so much more than working out. It’s about setting goals, creating routine, building consistency and keeping promises to yourself.
  17. Clean sheets are the best. | Seriously, what a great way to end a long day.
  18. It’s OK to sleep on your feelings. | You know that saying, never go to bed angry? I don’t believe in it. I think it’s perfectly fine to cool off and work through your emotions before you work through your words. Same goes for making big decisions. Sleep on it and have a better frame of mind in the morning.
  19. Gratitude changes everything. | Learn to be grateful for all that you have in life before you pursue something else. It’s OK to want more, but when you practice gratitude, you have a better understanding of why you want what you want and when you have enough.
  20. There will always be someone better at something than me. | Learn to live with someone being better than you, always.
  21. There will always be someone who has it worse than me. | Learn to appreciate what you have, and help others.
  22. If you can’t control your social media habits, don’t use it. | Yep, I said it. The person who makes a living completely online. I think social media is a powerful tool for business, community and connection. But if you can’t use it as a tool, and instead allow it to consume your thoughts and your day, it’s time to sign off.
  23. Spend the money and take the trip. | We have invested so much money in travel over the past several years and I don’t regret spending a dime.
  24. Invest in quality over quantity. | You’ll thank yourself later.
  25. Declutter your life. | Every area; decor, clothes, kitchen gadgets, books, email inbox, you’ll feel a weight lifted, time saved, and instantly realize there was so much in your life that you never needed anyways.
  26. Save, give, and spend wisely. | Be a good steward of your money to protect your future, teach future generations and see it come back to generously.
  27. Be realistic. | There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, but create a realistic plan for your goals. The journey is half of the fun anyways, make sure it’s a journey you can enjoy.
  28. Society “norms” are actually kind of weird. | So many things I want to say here. But society “norms” are not the end all be all… in health, in career, in life. Do what feels right.
  29. Seek simplicity and don’t overcomplicate things. | I have to remind myself of this every day. This applies to parenting, relationships, work, running a business, self care, etc. The simplest path is always the best!
  30. Don’t let your past identify influence your future self. | You are not who you once were. You can break out of  the identify box you or someone else placed you in.

As we navigate the rest of 2020 and all the craziness that it will no doubt continue to bring, I hope this list of 30 things can help guide your life and choices as well. I know it’s hard to build consistency with habits and practicing gratitude or journaling your thoughts may feel weird at first. But remember, the norms are what are weird. So think outside of the box, pursue something new, and then give it your all. And at the end of the day, at least we can rely on a great dinner in a well seasoned cast iron and clean sheets.

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Oh hey there!

Jen here. I’m a registered nurse turned private photo editor and I love dipping my toes in both the creative and analytic world.  So it goes without saying that on the blog you’ll find must have resources for photography, editing, business and living a healthier well rounded life as a creative entrepreneur.
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