I felt 25 for a long time. I was confident I had most everything figured out, and the things I didn’t just yet, well, I had plenty of time. Thirty is when I would have everything squared away plus a cute mom haircut. And well, 30 is official — officially old and wise, eh, maybe just old. Yes, I was a bit removed from collegiate life, but a world away from 30.
Today, I actually like telling people I am 30, flirty and thriving. OK, I only say the “flirty and thriving” in my head with a chuckle, but I really am digging this decade so far. Navigating the world as a quasi-adult can be confusing and foggy with lots of gray area. And you know what? The gray is OK. But as I was having a conversation with a friend just the other day who is right in the middle of her 20s, it made me think about some truths I have learned since and what I wish I had known and believed then:
1. Twenty-nine is not the last chapter. In fact, it’s just getting good, friends. Do not dread 30 like it’s a death sentence or even think that it somehow means you have to resign yourself to the fact that you must be boring. Life is what you make it. Make it one to love.
2. You really don’t need that new handbag. You will, in fact, survive without it. Go in your mother’s closet and dig through till you find that old purse she has not carried in years. It will be more hipster and on trend than anything you covet from Nordstrom.
3. Exercise is much better therapy than wine. Your boyfriend broke up with you? You didn’t land that job? And to top it all off, you had a terrible — I’m talking epic — throwback to teenage years kind of altercation with your mother? You are a big girl now, and you can choose to uncork that wine, but don’t use alcohol for therapy. Remind yourself of the caloric count and certain hangover while you lace up your sneakers. Hit the pavement, talk to God, and forgive. Forgive others and forgive yourself. Move on.
4. Get up early. In college, I took great care in perfecting my schedule to be free from any 8 a.m. classes. It was a science and an art. Adult world does not work this way, and most of us are at work early. I have learned that some of my most precious times are the mornings when I get up early enough to not rush my mornings before work. It really does make a difference, friends, and the difference is much better than pressing snooze three times. I think our God is really into mornings, too. Pray. Meditate. Exercise. And drink your coffee from a mug, not a thermos at a red light.
5. Your parents are real people, too. They are not just those people who made sure you had your immunizations and acted as an ATM when you needed money. They are walking this same path, and you know what, they are much further down the road. Respect them. Love them. Pray for them. They are just as broken and in need of a Savior. Don’t hold them to an impossible standard. Practice grace. Jesus does it every day with you. Honor them.
6. Don’t be afraid to change your mind. Seek wisdom. Evolve. Just because you have always believed one thing, does not mean that always has to be the case. The Lord wants to mold us, shape us and grow us. To do that, we have to be moldable clay. Listen to others who think differently than you; they can teach you more than you think. And when in doubt, take your eyes and heart to Scripture. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2, ESV). God’s Word is better than any guidebook you can buy at Barnes & Noble for navigating your 20s.
Dorothy Camak is a writer living in Greenville, S.C. She hashtags her goings on all over social media with #thisis30.
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