I have found that one of the best things about growing older is that we are constantly able to learn more and grow as people. Later this year I will be turning 35 and I feel like this past decade and especially the last five years going through my 30’s has been such a time of growth.Â
I look back at who I was at 25 or even at 30 and I know that I’ve learned and grown so much since then. Sometimes it can be hard to tell that we have grown because our day to day life doesn’t seem to change a whole lot. But when you really take the time to look back you can see the changes that have taken place.
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My twenties were a complicated and difficult decade and not like most other people. I got married at 19, had my daughter just before I turned 22 and had my stoke when I was 25. So the first half of my twenties was about trying to be grown up and more adult and then the second half was about starting over and learning to become someone new.
So I was determined that my thirties were going to be a much better decade. They don’t have to do much to be an easier decade, just no major health catastrophes. Knock on wood. Both my husband and I suffered health issues a year apart so being in good health is a major part of having a successful decade.
Since I’m almost to the halfway mark of my thirties it seemed important to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned and how I’ve grown. In the hopes that it will not only remind me of how far I’ve come and can still go. To also help any of my readers who may be feeling a little stuck and in need of encouragement or inspiration.
1) You can’t make anyone be who you want them to be
I so wish I had understood this when I was younger but it took me a long time to really not only know but accept that this is just the way life is. People are going to be who they are whether you like it or not and whether it’s how you think they should be.
It’s not up to you and often times you aren’t right about what is best for them because you only see a piece of their lives and not the whole thing. So how can you really know who they should be without knowing all the facts?
Plus as I’ve gotten older and learned more I eventually came to realize that how I want things is not necessarily how someone else wants them. My way is not always the best fit for another person’s life. I was stubborn in my thinking that I had the right ideas and the best plan.
2) It’s ok to set boundaries with people
I really began the idea of setting boundaries with people when Isabella was little and then even more when I had my stroke. After the stroke, I became much more sensitive to other people’s energies and attitudes. That makes it so that I need to guard how much I can allow myself to be around certain people.
I had to learn what I needed and what I needed to avoid and who made things easier and harder to be around. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing about a person. Just a way of protecting myself. Since I’m sensitive to energy when I’m around people who are really anxious and high energy I feed on that and become more anxious and stressed myself.
I had to realize that in order to keep myself feeling good I needed to limit my interaction time with certain people or plan activities that were calmer in nature so that they would be less intense and I would feel better. It took a while but eventually you learn that you need to put your health and well being higher on your list of priorities. That’a good thing it means you value yourself.
3) You never really know what’s going on in someone’s life
It can be hard to see people you care about doing things and making choices that to you don’t make sense. I had always felt I wasn’t a very judgemental person. I really believe most people are doing their best and making the right choices for them.
Then about a year ago I read the book Judgemental Detox and although I didn’t consider myself to be very judgemental. After reading that book I began to notice little judgy thoughts that would come into my mind about people.
It made me more aware of the fact that I don’t know what’s really going on in people’s private lives and that I need to be more careful about making judgments based on the little pieces of their lives that I see. It was a good reminder that I don’t want the people I know to base their thoughts and opinions of me and my family on the little bit that I share and show.
When someone in my life is being particularly difficult to be around I try my best to remember that they may be going through something difficult or painful in their own life that is making them lash out. Maybe not but often people who are hurting like to hurt others.
So I do my best to be more patient and not be reactive back to someone I’m having problems with.
4) Sometimes you’ve got to take the risk
For the majority of my life, I would not have considered myself to be a risk taker if anything I was pretty timid. Even now I wouldn’t consider myself an adventurous person or a real risk taker. I have learned and hope to pass down to my daughter the knowledge that sometimes you have to take a risk.
I have learned that to take a risk does not mean to act impulsively or without a plan. When we wanted to make our big move from San Diego to Colorado it was a huge risk and it brought a lot of fear. We were moving away from the only place we had ever lived and from the majority of our family. To a new state and my husband would have to find a job when we got here.
In our hearts though we knew it was the very best choice. I was scared though and I knew that we were going to have to take the risk that we could fail and things wouldn’t work out.
It took a lot of conversations and planning to make the risk worth it and in the end, we are so glad that we went for it. Our life here in Colorado is so much better than we had ever imagined. It truly feels like the right place for our family.
We also know now that we can take a risk and have it work out. That we can be nervous and afraid but still do something and have it be a good choice. That inspires me to be willing to take other risks and do things that make me afraid. Our best dreams and goals and going to scare us sometimes and that’s ok.
Plus remember that even the best and most successful people had failures when they took risks. Everyone from Oprah to Walt Disney. While I’m sure they didn’t enjoy those times they failed they more than made up for them with risks that worked out and were a success.
5) Be Honest
I may have lots of faults or things about myself that I would improve but I will say that for me I try very hard to be honest with people. I think life is so much easier if you are honest and people know they can trust what you say. You may not always like what I have to say but I will be honest with you.
This is a lesson that is so important for me to instill in my daughter. That I really want her to tell me things about her life and I will do my best to support her even if I don’t always agree with her. That if she lies though and breaks our trust that it will always be worse and make things more difficult.
So far she’s not quite at the teenage lying years and I hope they aren’t a struggle for us. I just do my best to explain what I expect of her and what the consequences of lying will be. She has a cell phone and right now at her age, the only social media she is allowed is a private Instagram so that she can have family and real-life friends, especially those she left in California follow her.
We’ve been very clear that I will be periodically checking her phone and if I find secret social media accounts or her having conversations with people she doesn’t know in real life that she will lose her phone. That it’s better to come to talk to me about maybe making changes to our agreement then being sneaky and if caught losing everything.
So it’s very important for me to model honesty for her so that she is more likely to be honest herself.
What lessons did you learn in your thirties? I’d love to hear them. I still have half my 30’s left and am hoping to learn and grow a lot more this decade. So leave a comment and share some wisdom with us.