Guys, I’m really struggling to process this right now! But yes, this week I’ve been busy turning 30. The milestone year; the year you’re meant to have figured out life, and know exactly where you’re heading. Does it work out like this? Well – no, not quite! I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little nervous about turning 30 – that perhaps life hasn’t quite turned out as I’d imagined. But, on reflection, I want to look back over the amazing things I actually have achieved in my life, and all the goals I still have to aim for. My twenties were truly incredible – packed full of achievements, travels, and growth. I’m a little sad to leave them behind, but also slightly relieved at being able to put this landmark behind me.
Here’s a little snapshot of each and every year of my twenties before turning 30:
Here I am on my twentieth birthday – living in a student house in Birmingham. I had very little worries, a strong social network, no money, but a happy heart! Life was mostly spent in the library studying or preparing for the next night out.
21 – the year I would work hard, graduate, and take on my first stint of travelling. This year saw some of my best partying yet, and a fun trip around the USA and Canada. It also see me move up to Durham to start my MA degree, which would test me in more ways than one.
Life at Durham University wasn’t always the easiest – miles away from home and certainly a different uni crowd than I was used to! I also got quite sick and wasn’t able to drink for a year. It didn’t stop me travelling around the country to visit my nearest and dearest friends.
A true year of adventure for me! I was feeling better, had an MA under my belt, and had begun to earn money in my first job as a copywriter. This opened the way to me for new adventures – festivals, my first trip to Australia, and moving to Vancouver alone for the first time.
24 was a fun and social part of my life. I had begun a career in marketing back in Cheltenham, was earning a little more money and life was still super sociable. It was a year of work drinks, trips to London, and adventures to Dublin, Barcelona, and the beginning of a love affair with Ibiza.
A slightly wilder chapter of my life. I made new friends, and got a new job in Oxfordshire which I loved. Life was partying, and travelling with trips to Amsterdam, Florida, Croatia, and Italy. I was going to the gym a lot, and felt probably the most confident I had in a long time. It also meant others around me were growing up.
The true beginning of my career – I landed a job in Vancouver. I got my own apartment, I was paid to travel, I got a boyfriend, and I met dozens of new people. The biggest adventure of my life to date! I explored Canada, truly gained independence, and got super into business.
A little bit of a lonely birthday at 27, but I just moved into a fabulous new apartment and was owning life. New friends, and lots of travelling. I was comfortable in my career, and jetting off to California or Florida every month or so. I got super into exercise, and met some wonderful new people.
The most magical start to a year yet – flying from Mexico City to fabulous Cancun. After the most incredible year of being 27, I knew change was coming. It meant quitting my job and moving to London. This in turn brought adventures as well as some less fortunate things, but I loved this year for learning.
What a truly bizarre year. I will also say with confidence, my worst yet too. My birthday at the Shard coincided with the beginning of the pandemic. It meant troubled relationships, friendships, moving back home again, and tons of anxiety about work. I’m happy to see the end of it in all honesty. Here’s to turning 30!
To bid adieu to my twenties, I thought I’d share 30 lessons I have learnt before turning 30.
- Life doesn’t actually turn out as you plan it. In my early twenties, I thought that by 30, I’d be married, own a property, and probably have a couple of kids. Does it look like that? Absolutely not – in any way.
- A decade isn’t actually that much time. Especially if you stay busy and love adventures as much as I do! I for sure haven’t achieved everything I wanted to, but I have certainly enjoyed the last ten years.
- You live forward and learn backwards. often, at the time when something happens to you, you can’t exactly figure out why it’s happening. But more often than not, it soon makes sense later down the line.
- Everyone has their own timeframes. I have struggled a lot with people doing things before me – does it really matter? Well, not at all. Everything comes at the right time for you.
- Travel is magical. Never ever will I get bored of the true power of discovering a new place, exploring, and meeting new people.
- You don’t need to be happy before you meet someone you’ll be in a relationship with. Just happy enough. Happy enough to walk away when it’s wrong, and happy enough to know when it’s right and fulfilling.
- Blood isn’t necessarily thicker than water. Many acquaintances have offered so much more to me and my life than some of my family members.
- Friendships aren’t a given. Something I’ve struggled with more recently – ultimately, people move on and change, but it’s never too late in life to make new friends, and it really doesn’t matter how old they are.
- Everybody is just as fucked up as each other. It’s just that some people hide it better than others. Unfortunately, sometimes I’m a little more honest about my life than a lot of people!
- Time is a huge healer. In fact, life has two givens about pain – 1) it will hurt and 2) it will change. So hang in there, and watch because pain can’t last forever.
- People come and go. Whether it’s boyfriends, family members, work colleagues or friends – you can never rely on someone staying in your life forever so choose good people and relish the time you have together.
- Count your blessings. It’s so important to appreciate the positive things in your life, no matter how small the victory. I’ve started journalling this year to try and be as grateful as possible for the good in each day.
- Know your worth. Know when to accept things you deserve, and when to say no and walk away from things when you know you can do better.
- Be proud of yourself. Only you are able to back yourself – noone else will do it! So be confident in your abilities and know how powerful you can be.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s so easy to worry too much, but what does it really matter? Focus on living your life and worry only about the things you can control.
- Look after your body and your health. You only get one lot of health, and taking care of it from a young age is the most important thing you will ever really have.
- Eat the frog. There is no benefit in procrastinating and putting off tasks you don’t want to do. So tackle your biggest fear head on first, and see how much better you feel for doing so.
- Don’t dodge looking after your finances. It’s incredibly important to manage them efficiently and to have a healthy relationship with money, so make sure you try your best to do this.
- Dream big and broaden your horizons. Life is here to be lived, so make sure it’s as fulfilling for you as possible – chase that job, book that holiday, and try to say ‘no’ as little as possible.
- Learn to enjoy your own company. At the end of the day, you’re your own best friend, and if you can’t be happy in your own presence, who else really will be?
- Live in the present. There’s no point in constantly looking back into the past because you can’t control it, and equally no one truly knows what the future holds.
- Breakups can bring positivity. Each and every one will shape you, show you what it is you want in your life, and will expand your ability to love.
- Choose someone who treats you well. It doesn’t matter how fun, good looking, or how good the chemistry is between you – ultimately, how well you work together and how kind they are is what is important.
- Learn from people older than you. Everyone has a story, and most often you’ll learn the most valuable lessons from people who have been there and done it – they’re the ones with the most life wisdom.
- Failure isn’t so bad. Often, it helps to point you in another direction, or simply to show you what you really want and how much you need to fight for it.
- Open your mind to other people and other cultures. Always take the time to learn a little bit about something you didn’t know or understand before – it’s incredibly valuable to appreciate the world.
- Allow yourself to cry. It’s one of the greatest releases life can give you. Your tears always try to tell you something, so relish each cry and use it to figure out what it is you’re feeling.
- Find beauty in the little things. Relish that cup of coffee from your favourite cafe; afternoons spent reading books; the summer sun on your skin – it’s all these things that we should treasure the most.
- Only invest in those who invest in you. Nobody enjoys a one way relationship, and you should know you deserve an awful lot more than that too.
- Don’t regret a thing. At the end of the day, life is learning and we usually only ever take what we believe are the right decisions for us at the time. Live, learn, and move on.
Do you have any snippets of advice for turning 30? Any wisdom you’d share? Or indeed, any additional 30 things you wish you knew before turning 30? Let me know in the comments below!