In a few short weeks, I’ll be turning 30. This milestone is marked in many folks’ lives with a marriage, mortgage, or a new addition like a pet or a baby. For me, it signals a new chapter set in a new city.
Being on the move this past year, a home base is something that I’m looking forward to in San Francisco. To deepen my ties to a community and build a business doing what I believe in is an exciting way for me to start my thirties. A friend in India once told me that your thirties are when you make happen what you prepared for in your twenties.
So with that, here is the first of a five-part series to celebrate the past 30 years and list 30 lessons that I’ve learned – and, more importantly, need to keep learning for the next 30 plus years. Each post will feature lessons for the mind, body, soul, work, life, and love. Please share your own in the comments section as everyone has their own experiences and lessons to share!
Mind: Read for Fun
When I was eight, I belonged to four different “Book of the Month” clubs. From the Baby-sitter’s Club to the Boxcar Children series, I would hide under my sheets with a flashlight devouring page after page, book after book. In my twenties, as reading emails and everything else consumed my days, reading for pleasure became a passing joy instead of a permanent pleasure.
On the road, I read more this last year than in the past ten years. Reading opens your mind, sparks the imagination and makes the world more colorful. Keep it up (Kim)!
Body: Get Up and Move
A couple of years ago, I broke my elbow and had a full cast on my arm. Not moving it for two weeks, my right arm was stuck at a 90 degree angle for three months after. While a dramatic example, this is what happens to your body when you’re stuck either on your couch or desk for too long. Take time out of your day to get up and move.
This is a big one for me because I love my couch after a long day and, somedays, it seems like there isn’t even five minutes to take a break from the computer screen. But, I realized during this past trip to India that making time to move is just as important physically as it is mentally – to clear your mind and create a space to enjoy the present moment.
Soul: Be grateful
It’s easy to let first-world problems overshadow how we view our day-to-day lives. When you start to get frustrated with the little hurdles like a traffic jam or your cell phone constantly dropping calls (T-Mobile!), take a deep breath and realize how lucky you are to have these commodities in the first place.
Take a moment and be grateful for the world around you. Take a moment and notice someone’s laughter, the loving exchange between a mother and child, or a random act of kindness that is humanity at it’s best. Too often these gifts go unnoticed.
Have a moment? Watch Louie Schwartzberg’s speech on Nature, Beauty, and Gratitude at TEDxSF that shows how happiness is truly connected to one’s gratitude for all around us.
Work: Remember your values
Everyone has to juggle the constant struggle of balancing work and life, but if you are grounded by your values, work can’t strip your sense of self. In some professional situations, we find ourselves overwhelmed, overworked and lose sight of why.
A decade ago, I worked in politics because I thought that was how I could help make the world a better place. While my work contributed to making a difference, days spent in political combat distracted from what Washington really needed – a truce, a sense of teamwork not divided by party, and a purpose to promote America’s best interests.
For me, I had to leave to pursue the values that I need in my work and life. My renewed career will focus on bringing people together from all political paths and walks of life to help others.
Life: Do Your Best Everyday
Ripped from The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz, remember to always do your best! The important lesson is that everyday your best will change, just like the weather or your weight.
Don’t punish yourself or feel guilty about what you didn’t do today, focus on what you’ll do differently tomorrow and know that today, you did what you could.
For example, last night, I spent four hours on the couch napping while switching between HGTV’s Love It or List It and A&E’s Criminal Minds. I could have been more productive, but I needed that chill time and I don’t feel bad about it!
Love: Don’t get Caught Up in Someone Else’s Timeline
In relationships, timing is everything. Where you are in your life and where the other person sees themselves is important and cannot be ignored. Too often, if we really like someone, we get caught up in their timeline and not our own – trying to be on the same page when our hearts are not is like trying to jam a square peg in a round hole.
Time is the most precious thing that we have. Don’t waste it trying to change for someone or letting someone waste their precious time changing for you if it doesn’t feel right.
What do you think about the list so far? Stayed tuned for more things to remember in my 30s as March 23rd quickly approaches.