I’d love to say I just woke up one day after 30 and a flood of wisdom came to me in a flash; a stream of epiphany's just as I entered a new decade. No sir, I am well in and turning 32 early next year so these realisations over the past year, being my 31st year of life, have been slowly learned but well thought through; mulled over, considered, filtered and dissected. Despite having less time to do just about anything since becoming a mum, I most certainly have more time to think! This year has been a generous one for me and my little man, we have had lots of wins and milestones made all the sweeter in contrast to our very difficult first few years. I have learned that we can survive anything and it is comforting to realise that if the road gets rough again I know nothing can break us.
1. Life begins after 30. Ok this seems silly and would annoy me like crazy if I were in my teens or twenties but I truly believe this to be true because when we are truly living we are truly not caring. For me, I have never cared less than I do now – I don’t care what you think about me (not you, beautiful reader, I care and appreciate your attention!) but the people with judgement, with cruelty or with callousness, I don’t care for your thoughts if they come from a place of nastiness or judgement. I don’t care how my body looks as much as how it feels. I don’t care if I accidentally drank too much last night. I don’t care if my Saturday night involved movies and chocolate and zero socializing or "scenestering". I truly, 100%, don’t care. I care about happy, about calm, about love, about family, but I give zero f’s about anything negative. I don’t have time.
2. The sun is a bitch. It is. All those fun childhood memories in the sun will be the highest highs which turn into lowest lows. Wear a damn hat, you skin is important and suddenly at 30 not only do you see it but you feel it in your gut when you hear about melanoma and a panic sweeps over you. This is not a joke. You will wish upon wish that you protected your biggest organ so these worries were eased.
3. No one will achieve your dreams for you. You have to actively, willingly, unapologetically make that shit happen. It is easy in the early years to think it will work out, that fate or destiny will intervene and serve you up your dream life on a platter but to believe a path will pave its way in front of you is rubbish. If you want something, make it yours. If you have a dream, get up and take the steps. If not, you will remain exactly where you are, waiting for fate to tap kindly on your shoulder. It wont. It took a long time to completely discover this and it has made the first couple of years of my thirties so much more exciting - I am actively, willingly immersing myself in my dreams knowing there is no other way to achieve them.
4. Parents are pretty awesome. So are siblings. So are friends. So is that weird kid you went to college with and that shy kid from primary school, so is that old lady who takes way too long in the line at the supermarket or that dude busting his balls stacking shelves who never got a diploma but who works his ass off for his family. Most people are pretty awesome. Life deals its cards and everyone is playing their hand the best way they know how. The older you get, the more you realise the majority of people are good, kind, beautiful and if they are not, it is because they are damaged and that is not their fault. Everyone is doing their best and should be seen as human and worthy. Harshness needs dissolving and as you age you realise this, you discover the need to cut through and humanise everyone. This is the greatest gift to yourself and to the world. Everyone is beautiful, believe that and practice that. Smile, practice gratitude and shine a little joy whenever you can, even if that makes you overly friendly or annoyingly bubbly. The world needs more of that.
5. Everything you have learned, you already knew. Discovering truths and developing wisdom is not extending outward, it is going inward. It is finding the places inside of you which always existed, it is opening up wrapped gifts inside of your mind and your spirit, hidden in memories and experiences. It is the exploration of the unknown which, in reality, you already did know because it was waiting inside of you. You are everything and nothing all at once, this makes no sense yet makes all the sense in the world.
6. Kids are miracles but those little critters will drive you up the wall. Being so needed is an unimaginable weight yet it also gives you wings to fly. This makes no sense yet it makes all the sense in the world.
7.Stuff is just stuff but the things you do keep and surround yourself should mean something, should be quality, should hold value. Simplifying your home, your mind, your social circle and your time is the key to happiness. Less is more may just be the most overused phrase but it is right, space is the most precious commodity. Maintain it.
8. You don't need to convince anyone you are right. Give up the fight. If you believe in your heart that you have made the right decision, that is enough. Learn to love your decisions and choices without the approval of others. This will set you free.
9. Friendships fluctuate and that is ok. Ride out the ebbs and flows, loyalty is important but is so is acceptance. People change and grow, or drift apart, but nine times out of ten they drift back together so hang in there. It is crazy to think anything, including close relationships, maintain the same level on a constant. The ups and downs are part of it all.
10. Love, love, love. Not the romantic love you dreamed of as a little girl but love for your children, love for your family, love for the stranger on the street with nothing to his name, love for the person who looks completely different to you, love for the human from a different race, love for other cultures, love for the misunderstood, love for the natural world, love for all creatures, love for life and love for yourself. All the emphasis growing up is on romantic love, that "life changing, swept off your feet" kind of love. That is a special kind of magic, but we don't spend our days searching for any other kind of life, we are never told to. The other kind other kind of love is the most fulfilling, special and worthwhile thing you can search for and find meaning in. Pursue that love with everything you got.