It's official. I'm now 3.5 decades old. Do I feel ways about it? Not really. I thought I would, but I honestly don't feel any negativity about officially being in my mid-thirties. Let's just say the alternative of NOT being able to get any older isn't something I'm ready to experience. In fact, over the past weekend, I took some time to reflect on how far I've come in my life and discovered that I've learned quite a bit about how to live my best life.
Here are seven things that I've come to know and understand about myself:
On self-reliance: As independent as I'd like to think I am, I know that there are so many people who have helped me (directly or indirectly) become the accomplished person that I am today. For the most part, I operate under the guise that I can get things done on my own; but I've also learned that when it comes down to it - a helping hand is always nice to have. And I've had many. I'm realizing that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It's more like a sign of faith in humanity.
On self-image: When I was in high school, I had a pretty nice figure. A six-pack, slim waist, big butt, etc. I don't think I appreciated it as much as I should have then. I don't think I even considered myself 'pretty'. Now that I'm in my 30s - my body has most definitely changed. Sometimes it frustrates me that I've gained some weight and lost my perfect six-pack; but interestingly enough... when I look at myself now - my face, my curvier body, my hair, my skin... I have a love and appreciation for my imperfections that I never had when I was younger and in 'better shape'. It's weird how that works. Must be that 'grown woman' magic...
On friendship: Up until recently, I've always proclaimed to have "best friends" (aka "bffs"). Some I've known since childhood, others since high school, etc. As I've come into my adulthood, I'm more inclined to change the term 'best friends' to 'core friends'. I keep a small circle of people I call 'friends'; and at this point... I don't think one friend should be qualified as the 'best friend'. Each of the friends in my life are essential to me for different reasons and so, I now see them as 'core' people. No one friend is better than the other, regardless of how long I've known them. And what's more - I've come to feel like I'm sort of the glue that keeps us all bonded. It's nice to not only have core friends, but to also feel like an essential person to them, myself.
On love: This one's a bit of a doozie because I'm still on my journey to the 'one'. I've learned, however, that there is a distinct time to emotionally let go of someone and a time where you shouldn't give up on someone. In my 20s, I lingered in situationships that didn't serve me well. I bullheadedly stayed attached to people who, deep down, I knew did not have my best interests in mind. Now that I'm in my 30s, I'm constantly trying to find the balance between keeping my heart open and not letting it get run the fuck over by anyone who isn't deserving. It can be a hard thing to navigate when your past pain aims to block you from experiencing new joy; but I'm down to try.
On family: Similar to my point on self-reliance, I've realized that as I grow older... family matters. Not just immediate family, but extended and estranged family. As someone who, growing up, has always been prone to keep to myself - I'm learning that sometimes, reaching out to family is necessary. Not just for myself, but for them too. Even if it takes me out of my comfort zone, I need to make an effort to be more available to and present for others. Sometimes I fail to realize that just because I don't feel the need to interact or touch base with family on a daily/regular basis, it doesn't mean that they wouldn't like to hear from me more often.
On money and materials: I'm not gonna lie. I've made some pretty terrible decisions when it comes to spending and buying things that I don't need. And I probably will again. It's just my nature. However - now that I'm getting older, some things I thought I needed are no longer necessary. I don't need as many clothes. I don't need that much space. I don't need the latest of everything. I wish I had realized this earlier on in life, but better late than never. Now that I'm in my 30s,I've got to make better financial decisions and focus less on what I think I need in the moment. That can be something as simple as saying no to buying a Starbucks cookie on the daily.
On happiness: Keeping it simple is key for me. While I did quite the bit of partying in my 20s, my 30s are geared to low-key good vibes with people who matter to me. Of course, being an introvert lends itself well to this sort of thing. My idea of happy is being at peace and being in the company of people who not only get me, but who grow me. I think above all else, I've realized that minimalism is becoming a growing theme in my life. Less things. More vibes. All I'm after in this life is health, simplicity, and infinite laughs with my tribe.