A few days ago, I entered the 3rd decade of my life (!)
If you had asked me 10 years ago, what I thought my life would be like at 30, it would have been a completely different story to what is actually happening.
Life and your perspective definitely change with each decade and year that passes you by. When I was 18, 21, 25, I thought I knew everything. I thought I knew where my life was headed and what I would be doing with my life.
But now I realized that the true beauty of life lies in the fact that the future is unknown. And this is what makes it so mysterious and interesting!
Here’s my list of 12 things I wish I knew before I turned 30:
- DON’T BE AFRAID TO CUT OUT TOXIC FRIENDSHIPS
I was always the type of person who didn’t like to say goodbye to things. I attach a lot of nostalgia and sentimentality to people and things. I was very naïve and thought that everyone wanted to be friends with everyone else; that people would treat me with the same level of care and respect that I showed them.
I invested a lot of time into my friendships, carefully nurturing them. I refused to let go of the friendships that were toxic to me because I didn’t want to lose them.
It took me all of 30 years to realise that at the core, most people have their own interests at heart. That not all friendships are permanent. That just because you grow up together in childhood, doesn’t mean your friendship will stay that way all the way through adulthood.
Because, let’s face it, you can’t force people to stay if they just don’t want to.
Friends will come and go. Look out for the genuine ones that really have your back, rather than spreading yourself too thin and trying to be friends with absolutely everyone.
- DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
The problem we all face when we look at social media is that it makes us feel good (dopamine) while at the same time, makes us feel inadequate. For me personally, I tend to post only the best parts of my life. For example, I won’t post the boring day-to-day parts of my life, I don’t post any arguments I have with family or my other half. I don’t post the times when I’m feeling down. Essentially, most people are also like me.
It’s easy for us to feel down when we look at someone else’s “highlight reel” of their life because it makes us feel bad about the boring parts of our own life. But we have to realise that it is just that – a highlight reel.
We don’t know another person’s full life story, so we can never judge them. We don’t know what hardships they have been through. For example, a lot of people I went to school with, only see my successes on social media and think I achieved this overnight. The reality is that it took 5 years of literal blood, sweat and tears to get to where I am now, plus many sleepless nights and working 15 hour days back-to-back to get my businesses running to the level they are at today.
- YOU HAVE YOUR OWN PERSONAL TIMELINE
Growing up, I thought that there were “deadlines” on important milestones in my life. I thought that I needed to finish university by age 21, get a job immediately, meet my life partner and be married by 28, kids by 29.
Nothing has gone according to that plan. In fact, I dived into entrepreneurship straight out of university (which took my 6 years to graduate from), and have been working for myself ever since. I don’t feel the pressure to be a young mother and I don’t allow myself to feel pressurised to marry early either. I realised that these things were other people’s values. I now choose to live my life according to what I want, rather than feel pressured to follow strict invisible “deadlines”.
- DO WHAT YOU LOVE AND DO IT EVERY DAY
I worked at a restaurant during my time at university. I remember very clearly the managers used to give me so much praise and encouragement that I worked myself even harder, to earn more praise.
One day, I collapsed at work. In that moment, something that had been in the back of my mind, suddenly came to my attention. I was working so hard to make someone else’s dreams come true. They were never going to give me a payrise and my efforts and hard work wouldn’t be reflected in the amount of money I put into my pocket; rather it will go into the pockets of the managers and restaurant owners.
I feel very blessed to have realised this during my university days. Being somewhat of an ambivert (but mostly introverted) and having only one scheduled class per week (my degree was mostly coursework and I had zero exams), I spent my days allowing myself to freely follow my heart and do what I loved to do.
I found that I got a thrill and a high from selling online (on eBay). No matter what the item was, I would get a rush of adrenaline each time I sold something (I was selling old junk that I didn’t want anymore from my room).
One day, I fell in love with a Japanese toy I saw online and knew I had to get my hands on one. I decided to approach the company and bought a wholesale batch with the intention of selling them online and keeping one for myself. I thought: even if no one buys them, I can keep them for myself as they’re so adorable!
This was the start of my online business LoveJojo which has now been in operation since 2011.
- IN 10 YEARS’ TIME, THIS WON’T EVEN MATTER ANYMORE
I’m talking about the little things here. The things that get you down. The things that eat away at your self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence. Those petty arguments, the need to be right (rather than happy), that anger, frustration or annoyance at something not turning out the way you wanted it.
Will it really matter in 10 years’ time?
- STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK OF YOU
As human beings, we are hardwired to try to “fit in”. This is because back in the days of survival, it was easier to survive predators if you were in a pack rather than on your own. Instinctively, we try to fit in to “survive”. But we are past all of that now and in modern-day society, we are actually free to make our own choices. Staying true to yourself and being who you really are, is what will make society move forwards.
Stop worrying what other people will think of you. Their opinions are not what matters. What matters is that you have lived this life to your fullest without any fear of regret. When you are laying on your deathbed, will you be thinking about all those things you didn’t do because you were so worried what people would think, or would you be filled with regret for having not taken those chances?
- TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN
When we’re young (and reckless), it’s easy to just neglect and take our skin for granted. When we’re still young, our skin naturally looks good and it is easy for us to become lazy in applying SPF every single day! Same goes for skincare creams and serums. Plus, remember to take off your makeup every single day before bed no exceptions! Your skin will thank you for it when you’re older.
- BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU’RE PUTTING INTO YOUR BODY
When you’re young and you have no health issues and your metabolism is high, it’s easy to get carried away eating junk food. Not that I, ahem, do that. Try to choose non-processed foods whenever possible – go back to nature.
But you need to think long term. You’re going to be living in this body (hopefully) for the rest of your life. It’s good to set it up in the best possible state to see you through to the end. Eat the food you enjoy by all means, but make sure you’re being mindful of consuming enough fruits, vegetables and vitamins.
- FIND OUT WHO YOU ARE
So many people are engrossed in finding The One early on in their young adult lives. But the secret is to spend time being by yourself; find out what you enjoy and like; find out who you are. It’s kind of like tunnel vision, if you spend all your time seeking out The One, you won’t be present in the moment enjoying yourself. And what’s more attractive than someone enjoying themselves to the max?
- BE MORE ACTIVE
A healthy body will see you through to old age. Many elderly family members I know (some nearing their 100th birthday) are still fit and active to this day because they stayed active during their youth. I solemnly believe that the more you keep your body fit and active, the healthier you will be into old age.
- DON’T LISTEN TO EVERYTHING YOU ARE TOLD
It’s so easy to get sucked into believing things at face value. How many times have you been told something and you accepted it without questioning, only to find out later that it was utter rubbish?
Learn to question things and find things out for yourself by doing your own research. Especially don’t take anything newspapers, media, TV, radio tell you for face value. Go out and find out information on your own and choose to live your own life.
Do not let others dictate how to live your life. Don’t just listen to music because it’s being forced upon you by the media. Don’t spend your time obsessing over celebrities because it’s being presented to you in magazines etc. Don’t let the news scare you without researching properly first. This is how gossip, rumours and false news is spread. Don’t allow someone or something else to govern your way of thinking or how you live your life.
- STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES
This one is so important. I never realised the power of a gratitude journal. Even if you don’t have one, it’s empowering to spend a few minutes each day reflecting on the things that you’re grateful for. It doesn’t even have to be big or obvious things, it can be the really small things – small things all add up to form the bigger picture in the end!
So there you have it! It’s a rather long post but I felt it was important to mark this important milestone in my life and also share with you what I’ve learnt in my 30 years being on planet Earth!