Come to know who you are independent of other people's perceptions.
Come to know who you are independent of other people's perceptions.

10 things everyone should do before turning 30

'Learn to like yourself the way you are'

Christi Wentz
Monday 14 March 2016 10:28

1. Learn to like yourself the way you are. This doesn't mean you can't work on the things about you that you want to change, it just means you aren't changing yourself out of self-hatred. Take care of yourself because you love yourself. It is the kindest thing to do for your heart and your head.

2. Come to know who you are independent of other people's perceptions. People will tell you that you are not skinny enough, or that your teeth aren't white enough, or that you don't make enough money, or that you belong in some prestigious career. Sometimes, these people are trying to sell you something, sometimes they're your family. Figure out who you are for yourself. The path you should follow will instantly become more clear.

3. Learn to accept rejection gracefully. Whether it's asking someone on a first date or sending in that manuscript, rejection sucks. When that happens, acknowledge the loss, but move on. Don't spend your energy or dignity insulting the person whose approval you once craved, simply because they didn't give it to you. You will only make yourself bitter, and you will look like a fool.

4. Quit expecting opportunity to land on your front door. Lord knows it may happen, but often the perfect boyfriend or job opportunity won't show up on your doorstep as though you ordered it from a Pizza Hut menu. You can't just sit at home and wonder why you haven't found the perfect gig for your band or why you're not dating a rock star girlfriend. If you're not hustling, then you're not close enough to reaching your goal. Period.

5. Learn to argue without fighting. You don't have to tear down or insult people you disagree with. If you stick to the facts, and they resort to name calling, you'll be the one who's able to look at yourself in the mirror the next morning.

6. Realise how short life is. When my father passed away, he was only in his early 50's. He had a passion for music and was a singer in a band before his health overtook him. He opened for George Jones and Tammy Wynette and he really could have been something. I think of him every time I put my writing to the side and fill my time with days spent just browsing the Internet. Life is short. I want to do the things that I want to do in life before it comes to an end.

7. Realise how long life is. I've said it before. "There's no expiration date on happiness." If you live to be 100, then you can start that programming career in your 30's and still work on computers for another 30-40 years. You can still fall in love and get married. You can still pursue your dreams. Don't let society tell you that life has to be a. Married b. Career c. Kids. There's no time-line or time-limit, so figure out what you want to do instead, and then go for it.

8. Realise that another person's education, background, colour, etc. doesn't define them. It shouldn't even have to be said. By your 30's, you'd better come to realise that the world is diverse and that people are much more than any single trait that you would like to categorise them in. Unless you plan on spending your life in a bubble with a completely homogeneous group of people who all look alike, think alike, and share the same experiences, you need to know how to function in a world that is inundated with people who are culturally different than you.

9. Live somewhere completely different from where you grew up. At least for a little while, get away from the comfort of the familiar and your family and friends. When I moved from the plains of North Dakota to the Blue Ridge Mountains, I unlocked a part of myself I had never known and goals that I wasn't aware I had. I had never dreamed of walking behind a waterfall or hiking the Appalachain Trail, but then I got here and I realised there was a whole world of things I wanted to do, but that I had never realised or planned.

10. Take the time to act like a child. Remember stretching out your arms wide and spinning in circles until you were dizzy, just for the hell of it? Or rolling down soft hills of green grass? Or eating a dripping ice cream cone from Dairy Queen on a hot summer day? Or catching crickets with your bare hands? Don't lose that. Those experiences make life magical. In your 20's everything seems so serious: there's the rush to settle down, the rush to get married before all the "good ones" are taken, the rush to have kids, the hustle for the perfect salary and the perfect tan. Let it all go. Take the time to just be a kid.

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