I wrote this advice several years ago for a younger friend who was turning thirty. It is a summary of life lessons I”ve learned while Dancing on My Own Journey!
I can identify with approaching a milestone birthday! As a “Mama on the Far Side of Childhood,” I”ve had a few milestone birthdays, myself! Trust me, THIRTY is a piece of cake! A sweet lady at church, who just turned 90, reminded me that “THE BIG BIRTHDAY” is really 100! So, to those of you who are looking at 30 or 35 or 60 as a big birthday, remember: it isn”t really THE BIG one! Everything is a matter of perspective!
ADVICE FOR TURNING THIRTY
SEEK TO KNOW GOD. Faith keeps you grounded and adds meaning to your life. If I had not had a strong faith in God, I”m not sure I could as easily have survived my 30th year!
DON”T LET ANYONE MAKE YOU FEEL “OLD.” Whatever age you are, you”re the youngest you will ever be! You most likely have some degree of wisdom and maturity that you didn”t have in earlier in life. Embrace and enjoy your age! Regretting anything you”ve done serves no purpose. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Don”t waste time lamenting the past or how “old” you are. You can”t change it!
CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE. When you let people or situations upset you, you”re giving them power over you. Choose to approach every day with joy, peace, determination, and a calm attitude. Count your blessings and look for at least one “WOW” moment every day. Keep a written record of these things. It will help sustain you, and give you hope and a positive attitude, during difficult times
PICK YOUR FAVORITE AGE AND “STAY THERE” IN YOUR MIND. For me, it”s about 19. I was footloose and fancy free in my sophomore year of college, surrounded by good friends. Looking back, it seems like the most perfect time in my life! I”m not sure I really appreciated the freedom from obligation and worry I had at the time, but I do now! As my body has started to feel older, I try to “stay young” by refusing to be defeated by my physical limitations. “Use it or lose it” is true! I constantly remind myself that I am young at heart.When I was 30, I had a devastating tumor that ultimately destroyed most of my lower jaw bone and teeth. That was followed by a year of reconstructive surgeries. I”d been married for 5 years, and was running a wedding and formal wear shop that I”d started 4 years earlier. During that year, my father-in-law also developed a terminal illness and died. Suffice it to say, my 30th year was a turning point!
AS YOU ARE ABLE, AS MUCH AS IT IS POSSIBLE, GO FOR YOUR DREAMS WHILE YOU”RE YOUNG.I try to use every experience as a springboard to something! You don”t have to stay in the same job, or in the same field, if you”re miserable, or you desire a change. I”ve owned an advertising agency, a bridal shop, a gourmet nbso food manufacturing company, a minority contracting business (as a female business enterprise), and been involved on numerous civic and non-profit boards. Being a Mother is, by far, the thing I”m most proud of, and the “job” which has given me the most satisfaction. Women find satisfaction and contentment in a wide variety of ways. I encourage you to assess your talents, and figure out the things that you love doing. Find a way to do them, whether as a career, or just for fun!
SAVOR ALL THE “LITTLE” THINGS! My 30″s were marked by a change of the focus of my life. I went from being professionally goal and career oriented, to being a stay-at-home mother. We were advised to wait several years after my tumor before starting a family. After 11 years of marriage, I had my daughter, several weeks before turning 34. I had my son at 36. People always told me that my children”s childhood years would go by before I knew it. I tried to savor them, but they flew by anyway! (This May, my daughter graduated from graduate school and my son from college.)
PEOPLE ARE THE ONLY IMPORTANT “THINGS.” FOCUS ON THOSE WHOM YOU LOVE. Having THINGS, and money, are really not as important as relationships. Take time to nurture your relationships with family and friends. Spend time with friends apart from your family. Fun with friends is a welcome respite from day to day life. Spending time with family and friends cements the relationships that will nourish you throughout your life.
HELP OTHERS. YOU GAIN MORE THAN YOU GIVE. My life has always been centered around family, faith, and my church. My 30″s were a decade of relative peace. When I turned 40, I still had young children. That helped keep me young mentally and physically. As the children became less dependent on me, I was able to use my talents to focus on helping others, mainly through volunteer work. Helping others takes your mind off your own problems, and makes you feel better in the process.
DO THE THINGS YOU WANT TO DO NOW. YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN. Around the time I turned 50, I was suddenly surrounded by friends and family members who developed cancer, and other life threatening illnesses. One of my lifelong friends survived a brain aneurysm, while another survived aggressive breast cancer, a double mastectomy, and a hysterectomy, all at the same time. I make it a point to call and spend time with people who are important to me. I try to appreciate and enjoy all the blessings in my life. I don”t want to have any regrets. I”d been told that I needed to live intentionally for quite some time. I stopped putting off the things I want to do.I determined to do that–to really LIVE the rest of my days.
DON”T STOP DOING ANYTHING YOU LOVE TO DO! I love to dance, and I grew up dancing tap, ballet and jazz. I took jazz, swing, and ballroom dance in college, and loved it. When my husband and I dated, we danced a lot. We took dance lessons together at least a dozen times. I found out that he didn”t really like dancing. Ultimately, we stopped going out to dance, except for occasional weddings and conventions. I virtually stopped dancing for many years. A couple of years ago, I realized that dancing is one of my gifts! I started taking lessons again and enjoy dancing around the house, even if I don”t dance much otherwise.
ALWAYS CELEBRATE YOUR BIRTHDAYS FOR AT LEAST A WEEK! Plan your celebrations yourself, if you need to. No need to pout and be upset because nobody planned a party for you. Do it yourself!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY THIS YEAR, WHATEVER YOUR AGE! DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE YOU”D LIKE TO SHARE?by