I dreaded my thirties. The last two months of my twenties I went on this emotional rollercoaster that really just plunged straight down into the deep abyss of being middle-aged with warp speed. Like, give-you-a-wedgie on the way down I was going so fast. I knew I hit rock bottom when I cried for a week after watching “The Help.”
Pretty sure my life was over.
Then I turned 30. I had too many drinks in a fancy Las Vegas hotel, and immediately decided this isn’t so bad. It rocked, actually. I’m still here and haven’t melted into a puddle of old lady goo on the floor. #winning
And along the way, I’ve actually discovered that your thirty-somethings really rock. People take you a little more seriously. You don’t have to use coupons for absolutely everything. You stop caring about what everybody else thinks. It’s like a little extra pop of confidence came free with this age. You don’t have to be a size negative zero to be beautiful. Who gives two freaking shits about having a complete outfit from Abercrombie anymore? Or ever. Seriously, that was lame. I currently feel the same about Chevron everything, but hey – to each their own.
And as I unwillingly travel into the depths of ‘adult hood’, I’ve found a few little tricks that really just make life that much easier. A mindset and daily way of life that help me get along just fine. My little list of how not to suck at life.
1. Nobody knows what they’re doing. Really, we are all kinda winging it here, people. There is no right way to raise a family or not. We may have college degrees but that doesn’t help when we are just trying to pick out a set of curtains to compliment our already out of control living room. College is cool but paying back those loans suck. Do we really know our life goals at 18? Um, no. Far from it. I swear we have romanticized adult-hood and family life so damn much in this culture we’re all walking around like we’re failing at something. No you’re not. You rock. Stop being so hard on yourself.
2. If you don’t have children, don’t give parenting advice. If you do have children, stop hounding your single friends/family about when they are going to have them. Or how many. Actually just let’s play with the kids that are here and stop letting our sex lives and procreation be a simple conversation over Thanksgiving dinner. It’s weird. Do you really want to talk about my ovaries right now? I didn’t think so. Unless we are at BFF status, I really don’t want to share with you anything about my body, below the belt, ever. EVER.
3. Don’t hang out with people you don’t want to. You are old enough now that you can identify what brings you happiness, and what makes you want to put your head in the toilet. Embrace happy, healthy relationships. Stop stressing and putting energy into those that aren’t. Be polite, but remember – you’re the captain of your ship. If you’re still letting other people steer it into a storm of frustration, well, you’re an idiot. And I mean that in the nicest way possible. Just stop it. Stop it right now. Don’t be a bully, just have boundaries.
4. Hold open the door for people behind you, and smile while doing it. Nothing will brighten you shit-tasktic day faster than brightening someone elses. Give back a little. Stop getting lost in your own troubles and help somebody else every now and again. The world doesn’t revolve around you. It’s hard to see that sometimes though, I get it. This will help getting our head out of our asses in a good, efficient way.
5. Get life insurance. And do it while you’re young. I just did this, and it’s probably one of the most boring adult moments in my life thus far. Still important though. And while you’re at it, go ahead and consider how you’re going to live and pay for stuff when you get older. If you’re depending on your children to take care of you, I’m going to go out on a limb and call you an idiot again. Children are not retirement plans.
6. Your home should be a retreat. This is where your soul rests. Make it happy and comfortable. Stop trying to make it look just like Pinterest. ‘Cause that only looks good when the room is clean, and let’s all be honest with ourselves here. I for sure have Pinterest projects around my house, but I’ll also tell you that about 75% of those are HUGE #pinterestfails.
7. When you go out to dinner with friends and family, put your phone down. You look like a total douche bag. Seriously, you do. If it’s a must, make it quick. In-person conversation is where it’s at. And sadly, becoming so much less common than what even seems reasonable.
8. Don’t be so pushy/defensive about your personal beliefs. I’m talking politics, religion, your stance on marriage, gay rights, pro-life, pro-choice and what a perfect family life is to you. We really can all have different opinions and still be friends. Not sure when respect became so difficult. It’s okay to defend yourself. It’s okay to speak your mind. Totally cool to stand your ground. But you don’t have to do it like a rabid-dog getting ready to cage fight Godzilla in Times Square. Also, best not to bring these things up at Thanksgiving either. They’re personal and a loaded gun. See #2.
9. Make a Bucket List. Then actually do them. Consider leaving things off like ‘Climbing Mount Everest while Morgan Freeman narrates my journey in person.” You might be on your death bed kinda sad about that one. My husband and I add things we want to experience together all the time. Our goal is to do 2 things each year. And we do. Doesn’t matter if it’s as simple as making dinner without burning anything or me sleeping under the stars at National Glacier Park and taking the best damn photograph of my life (well for one night, not full fledged camping. I don’t poop outside, bottom line).
10. Do YOU. Do what you want. Throw other people’s expectations of your life out the window and do what makes you happy. Because those people, well, you’re never going to please them anyway. And if you can love others along the way, then it’s that much more amazing. This is the biggest weight off your shoulders, and when you’re actually going to start feeling alive. You are an adult. Take care of yourself, pay your own bills, make your own way, stop depending on others for happiness. Stop competing. Because really, we’re all kinda in an ant-farm around here. There’s isn’t a winner. Success to you is different than what success is your parents, friends or strangers. We all have limited time. In the big picture it’s never going to matter how much money we made or what our credit card interest rate is. Go on an adventure. Write a book. Doodle in bed all day, whatever. Find your identity in this crazy world, and freaking roll with it. And feel damn good while doing it. Because the person you are right in this moment – reading this. You are awesome. Or you at least have the potential to be once you get out of your own way. ;)