I turned 30 this year, and I reflected on some life lessons about my relationships and the nature of love. It really does feel like a significant number, because I’ve learned so much in this time and yet I know there is SO much more to learn. (And re-learn!)
Looking back, I wish I could go back to my younger self and tell her… well, a lot of things. But ultimately, it would be the lessons I’ve learned along the way – some learned the hard way, some were just brought out of me, and some of them I thought I’d never learn but eventually did.
Some of you are younger, but if you’re not, pretend you are – because you’re only as young as I think you are! Now that I’m at Level 30, if the Doctor could take me back to give advice to my younger self, this is what I’d share. (But as if he’d allow that!)
30 Lessons Turning 30: Relationships & Love
1. If you are an introvert, embrace it.
It’s okay to be an introvert. Being sensitive, quiet or soft can be a superpower, not a weakness. Embrace who you are, and accept others for who they are. Learn not to feel pressure to be like someone else.
2. Have fun.
Have more fun with people who matter. Not every meeting needs to outpour your recent introspection – and there’s such a thing as oversharing. Having fun with people and being playful helps you grow, too. Lighten up!
3. Be grateful.
You’ll never be happy with more or better until you’re happy with what you have. The only way to improve a relationship is to realise what you love at the moment. The only way to give constructive feedback is to point out something positive at the same time. Negativity doesn’t serve anyone (and that includes towards yourself).
4. Confidence is a learned skill
Being nervous around love interests or when having scary conversations is normal and a good sign that you’re genuine! Plus, flawed interactions are endearing. It’s something to laugh about, together. But honestly, you will surprise yourself with how confident you are in some situations that, years ago, you thought you couldn’t handle. Have faith that confidence grows every time you try new things. Stumbling through something the first time is the first step towards being totally confident in it.
5. Learn from others.
Everyone else is teaching you something. People change all the time. There is always something new to learn from someone else. Be curious about them.
6. Have standards.
Write a list of your ideal partner and friend and boss and work and everything. Look for that. And, try to be that.
7. Choosing when to make a decision is part of the decision.
If you’re not ready, don’t do it. If you’re overthinking it and tying yourself up on knots trying to decide about something, you’re not ready to make a decision.
8. Respect your boundaries.
Your body and your feelings are yours. Be sure of decisions about your body, ask people to respect those and if they don’t, walk away. Respect your body. Feelings are trickier, but even if you’re confused, you don’t need to justify how you feel. You can change your mind. If it’s the truth of how you feel, that’s all you need to say – no justification or explanation needed. If people try to persuade you that you feel differently, or try to undermine how you feel, walk away.
9. Go for it
Don’t regret a decision or delay making a decision when all the signs are there that’s what you want. For years. (Seven years to make up your mind, to be precise, in my case).
10. You’re responsible for you
You decide when you are good enough, and no one else. You certainly don’t need to prove it to anyone else, and you don’t need someone else’s permission to do what you want with your life. And if someone mocks your dreams or otherwise makes you feel insecure, they aren’t right for you. The most encouraging partner or friend who believes in you is the one that will make you grow the most, bringing out more than you can imagine.
I hope these help and inspire you and help you learn a few of your own.
This is personal to me, of course, because I know how much I wanted and needed to learn these lessons. What are your most important lessons in life, so far?
(Please share in comments?)
Amanda Leek – feeling wise in her old age
Writes & draws: Coin Phrases