I’ve spent a few months in my 30’s now. Several things have happened since. I have come to the realization of my physical age. But it is just that, my physical age. I have never felt more like I’m 25 than I have ever been. Partly, or completely because I have shed, in the last 3 years or so, about 30 years of anxiety (thanks to CBT).
When I was 20, I remember thinking how old I felt inside. How much I wanted to be 30, so that my body would finally catch up to my head space. What I didn’t realize then was that my “old soul” was really just a “sad soul”, an “afraid soul”. The soul that had several layers of thick calloused skin to protect me from the big bad world. It was hardly exciting.
Now that I’m 30, and now that I have shed that skin, I feel anew. I have the maturity of my 30 years, surely. But I also have the curiosity of my 20’s, a period in my life so overcast with tension and fear. And this is what I’ve learnt being in this strange new space in my 30s.
1. You are crazy, and that’s the best part of you.
Our culture puts a black mark on crazy. I say we place too much importance on conformity. So much so, that the “crazy” part of us is really our most truthful self. Nobody has their shit together, so your crazy is hardly anything new. In fact, embrace your crazy, because there will ALWAYS be someone else who appreciates it. It’s probably your best trait.
2. Do stupid things.
Sometimes you really do need to do a few stupid things. And by this I don’t mean, kill someone, maim someone, maim yourself, or kill yourself. That’s not stupid, that’s suicidal. The key to doing stupid things, is to realize that in the end, you survived them. Because, trust me, when you look back, the stupid things will be markers in your life, pinpointing where you survived, and thus, where you lived.
3. You are being judged. Who cares!
We have been judged our entire lives. From the moment we are born, we have been judged. Our parents judge us, our teachers judge us, our bosses judge us, the world is a revolving carousel of judgement. Knowing that, judgement is rather meaningless. Realize that if others have problems with you, it’s ultimately THEIR problem – Not yours.
4. Be kind to yourself.
People always say, you have one mother and one father, so be kind to them. Well, get this, you only have one YOU, so be kind to yourself. Nobody can beat you up as well as you can yourself. Trust me, I know. Cut yourself some slack.
5. Do things that make you happy.
This may seem like the catch all tip, but it’s really quite singularly important. When I say “DO THINGS” I literally mean, act on the things that you want to do because they fill you with a sense of joy or excitement. If you find it enjoyable to dance around barefoot at the beach to drums, do it. If you like crafting little figurines of nude people, do it! Disclaimer: if you enjoy hurting people… that’s probably where I would draw the line. See #5. Do stupid things.
6. Don’t value yourself on others’ criteria of success.
Just because your parents think you should be an accountant, or an engineer doesn’t mean you should. Other people’s values of success do not reflect YOUR value. This is important. Just because someone thinks being a baker is less than being a lawyer, doesn’t make it true. You are valuable because you live, you try, you love, you hurt. Value yourself for the things that give you joy, that fill your self worth.
7. Never grow up.
I guess I should clarify. You will grow up. You will go through phases in your life where responsibilities will naturally take hold of your life. And it isn’t a bad thing. But remember that it’s ok to retain the curiosity of your youth. Always hold on to your childlike curiosity of the world. If you think you’ve seen it all, trust me, you haven’t.
8. Do art.
Why art? I truly believe that making art is a fundamental act of being human. Being creative, and creating emotional artifacts that allow us to express ourselves, is an uniquely human thing. Whatever that might be for you, writing, singing, dancing, painting, drawing, filming etc. Whatever it is that allows you to express your inner demons and angels, is the act of being human.
9. Love generously, but love wisely.
Love generously. Don’t be afraid of being hurt. You will be hurt. People you love will hurt you. But that does not mean that you should ever allow anyone to disrespect you, put you down, or take advantage of you. Love generously, but love wisely. Choose your lovers with the kind of respect that you have for yourself.
10. And lastly, live the here, live the now.
We are a culture of the future, of tomorrows and what-ifs. We are a constant projecting machine. We spend more of the present forecasting the future, than living the here and now. Know that it is ok to do things in the present that satisfy you, rather than constantly preparing for future satisfaction whilst trudging through the todays with discontent. I do not believe in only the result. I have learned that the process is often more important – at least in living of life. And isn’t that all that is of real importance here?