Today marks my 30th birthday! and about 6 months into my blogging life, so I felt that it would be timely to put some words together to celebrate these very auspicious occasions. Being a sentimentalist, I have always had a very soft spot for birthdays and for any events which traverse the end of of an era, and which mark the beginnings of new chapters and adventures.
Like most people who teeter on the border of a momentous birthday, I often reflect in wonderment about my first three decades – wonderment at the great things I have been fortunate to live and experience, and also some wonderment at the fact that that ominous number, 3-0, just doesn’t seem very ominous anymore.
I am grateful to have had 3-0 years of rich life experiences, connections and opportunities to learn and grow. This post isn’t going to be about how #blessed (deliberate use of cliché) I feel (though I do), or about reviewing personal joys that I am thrilled to have worked towards and been given a chance to live.
This post is however going to be about learnings – there will be some sentimentality and some mush, possibly a a few chestnuts of wisdom (good grief) and some life truisms, and a healthy dose of real, but it’s all good. It is my 30th birthday after all.
P.S. The dilemma of what to title this blog was real. So many good contenders:
– “How Can I Be 3-0 – The 90’s Were Only 10 Years Ago” – please tell me others struggle with this time-warp continuum also?
– “When Turning 3-0 Means You Refer to Millennials as Kids These Days” – and don’t get me started on how kids these days can look 3-0 themselves when they fancy themselves up with the make-up and the hair and the bits and the bobs.
– “Lessons in Turning Life’s Lemons into Hazmat-Strength Lemonade” – at times, pertinent.
Without further hesitation, my 30 years of learnings.
Gratitude is the antidote and the sweet accompaniment to everything life deals.
Change really is the only constant but brings great opportunities for growth.
Always take a paracetamol before bed after a night of dabbling in the vinos.
There are no words to adequately describe the love you feel for your significant other when you have found them, and live with them day in and day out, and squabble sometimes, and laugh in a language only the two of you understand, and live through mundane ground-hog type days, and go on adventures, and talk, and share stories, and love, and connect over shared visions. GF xoxo xoxo
Friends really are the family we choose – and friendships that can withstand the weather of time, changing circumstances, distance and disagreement are the most wonderful and precious rare gems. I love my rare gems xoxo
Leftovers are like treasured nectar from the gods – as is a well-stocked freezer.
Contentment is self-cultivated. It cannot be bought but it can be grown.
You can and absolutely must survive the storms.
Beautiful childhood memories are a precious privilege and a very special treasure – to have and to give to others.
Forget what fashion says and just wear clothes you like and are comfortable in. Instead of buying into fashion fads (or wasting woeful money on magazines that breed discontent or uncertainty) decide that you are worth more than the clothes you wear. And actually, most of the time, people don’t notice what you’re wearing and if they do, they really don’t care.
Nothing can surpass the glory of simple and free things in this world – a slow day, a fresh glass of water, good food, basking in sunshine, reading a book, living with nature, and spending time with your beloveds.
All opportunities for dance floor antics should be embraced and ABBA should be a requisite request for the playlist. Where required, use force on the DJ.
Clutter creates chaos – mental and actual. Minimalism has given me the gift of freeing my space and my mindset (and there is nothing better than clear countertops to make you feel empowered to take on the day).
Dogs are unconditional lovers – even when you want to scream because they nibbled on your sofa cushions, or got a bit of slobber on your black pants – they are the sun and the moon, they give joy, and they teach a great deal about how best to approach life (eat a lot, do full-body wiggles when you are excited, sleep with the warm sun on your face, jump as high as you can for the things you love, and give full enthusiasm at all times). LF & HF xoxo
If you can’t pay cash for it (broadly speaking of course), you can’t afford it.
Working for enjoyment is a privilege and finding a profession that gives you joy (on most days) is a very special thing. Not everyone has that but we can all take steps to identify our impassioned skills and work towards this goal.
Mindset and attitude are changeable through personal choice.
Always look below the surface – the best parts of people and situations are often found underneath the layers, where authenticity shines like pearls on the seabed. Similarly, endeavour to live your authenticity daily – allow vulnerability to be a strength and a virtue instead of a liability.
There is something to learn from everyone you meet. Everyone. Even the **very very challenging people**. Everyone is living from their own perspective. Being able to wilfully step out of your own perspective and try on the perspective of someone else is a skill worth cultivating.
When eating tapas, get every possible flavour morsel on the cracker before you eat it (for you LM xoxo).
Learn when it is right to stop and when you need to keep going. Sometimes resistance is there because you are forcing something that is not for you. Sometimes it’s the final hurdle to break through. Your heart will know the answer.
Don’t try to keep us with the Joneses (and the Joneses can come in many forms) – they are likely broke and a bit unhappy (even if they don’t look it on the outside). Lifestyle inflation is one of the dirtiest traps of our modern world. Choose to live authentically. Be proud of your beautiful life in whatever way it is. Material ownership does not equal human success. Contentment and character absolutely do. Full stop.
To others, we are all infuriating and completely lovable in equal measure.
Modern living can be a bit savage but it is important to aim for balance – this includes more human touch and face to face time than screen time, no phones over a nice meal, and living in the moment without needing to take a photo of it (take a photo in your mind instead).
There is something to be said for old-fashioned values and old-fashioned cooking.
Reflection is an important tool on the path to anything.
When ordering naan bread, a combination of garlic, cheese, chilli and spinach is not only recommended, but fairly essential for full degustational pleasure.
Swim in the ocean or float in natural water as often as you can. If all else fails, a magnesium salt bath will fix everything.
When you are absolutely terrified, you must absolutely do it. Fake it till you make it does apply here. Find a mentor who is living what you are trying to live and connect with them regularly. Also – just do it. Say yes to the things that you think are beyond your skill level and you will be delightfully surprised at what skills you do possess, and how much you can learn and excel when you apply yourself.
Continue to learn about yourself every day – push yourself when you can, rest when you need to, learn new skills, be honest with what interests you and what doesn’t, learn your limits, and let your heart and your gut be a compass for how you choose to live your precious life.
To the next 30 – E X C I T E D! Let’s do this.
Until next time, simplify, focus, pursue, count your blessings and drink sangria!
Photo Magic: William Mountout