With three days to 30, it’s crunch time to bang out my 30 Things to Remember in My 30s series, but I tend to work better under pressure anyway.
So with that, here is the third 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!
Mind: Be Calm
While the old WW2 slogan, “Keep Calm and Carry On” has lost some panache plastered on wallets, notebooks, and everything else, the saying is spot on. When our minds are frantic, our reactions reflect that mental state.
During my time with Pujya Swamiji at the Kumbh Mela, he said that the most precious space is that time between your thoughts and action. It is in that space where you determine your reaction. If a thought is a seed, the space is when you water that seed with either hate or love before it sprouts into the world. Everyone has a short fuse sometimes, but just remember what you put into the world, you get back from it.
Body: Eat My Vegetables and Drink Water
Growing up, every mother becomes a broken record saying eat your vegetables and, in our youth, we roll our eyes and think, “oh mom.” Well she’s right. While on the road this past year, I gained a whole new appreciation for vegetables. In some places like Africa, the primary meal is meat and starches and, in most, raw vegetables like a salad was just asking for stomach trouble. Now that I’m back, it will be great to get back into the kitchen to enjoy nature’s bounty and all the healthful benefits that come with it.
Adults are about 65% water and the more we drink, the cleaner our bodies become. I don’t drink enough water, but given this tip is in every health magazine, it must be a challenge for everyone else as well. A good tip, that I read from The Biggest Loser’s Bob Harper, was to drink a large glass of water before every meal which hydrates and takes the hungry edge off that causes us to overeat. Now there’s an initiative to get more H2O!
Soul: Be Helpful
Everyday, we’re bombarded with television ads asking for donations and beggars on the street asking for help. We can feel like problems are too big and we are to small to rectify them. But if everyone just did one act of kindness a day, imagine the impact and the domino effect with kindness being passed along to others.
On helping others, a buddhist monk once said that the right hand never hesitates to accompany the left hand in a task. Hands will naturally respond because they depend on each other to get through life. We are all hands that must work together to build a better world.
Work: Your Time is Valuable
At a full-time job, you will spend a third of your life working if not more. Make the most of it and don’t waste valuable time doing something that you hate. I’ve gone through periods of feeling uninspired, unappreciated, and frustrated. It may be something you address with work or maybe you need to leave that job and find a place that values you and your time. That’s all we have in life so why spend a third of it miserable behind a desk. This leads us to the next “thing”….
Life: Follow Your Passions
A few years after starting work in Washington, DC, the realization hit me that I had no hobbies except living and breathing legislation and political fist fights. That day at 23, I booked a solo trip to Costa Rica to learn how to surf and started to focus on following my passions of writing, traveling, and connecting with people.
While it took ten years before I walked away from that world, the time invested in hobbies beyond work helped me find the courage to pursue what I love. I’ve met so many inspiring people whose passions are now their careers. And even if it’s not a career, passions provide us with an outlet to express ourselves and make the world more colorful. Pursue them.
Love: Don’t Settle
During one relationship in my twenties, I gained 20 pounds over the course of a year. Everyone tends to gain some weight and get comfortable in relationships. But when you settle down, the relationship can become stagnant and you with it!
Now, I haven’t been in a serious relationship in years, but I’m determined in any future ones to keep busy, stay off the couch, and discover new activities with that other person, as well as seek out personal adventures of my own.
The other way of settling is with a person who doesn’t deserve you. We all want love, but don’t sacrifice yourself simply to have someone to hold hands with.
You are awesome and deserve awesome. Don’t settle for less – in work, in love, or life.
What do you think about the list so far? Stayed tuned for more things to remember in my 30s as March 23rd quickly approaches.