My 30 at 30

I’m thirty now. 30. Officially a grown-up, at least in the eyes of my childhood self. Thirty once seemed like an impossibly long time away, and I suppose it was, looking back on who I was and who I’ve become. To celebrate and commiserate with myself, here’s my thirty things I’ve learned about being thirty in the few hours I’ve had to take it for a spin.

[dropcap]1[/dropcap]  The older you get, the smarter you get. There were things that I was better at ten or fifteen years ago, but in hindsight, I have only gotten more savvy and centred as time has gone on, which makes me optimistic and cheerful about the future.

[dropcap]2[/dropcap]  Friends are important, real friends are essential.

[dropcap]3[/dropcap]  Cooking used to be something annoying I had to do before I could eat, now it’s one of the most enjoyable ways I can spend time. I didn’t see that coming. Still don’t enjoy gardening though.

[dropcap]4[/dropcap]  Even though I’ve changed so much in my lifetime that I feel unrecognisable compared to wee baby Ben, I’ve only become more myself.

[dropcap]5[/dropcap]  Keep an open mind about your career. I once felt pretty smug about the fact that I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Being a filmmaker is all I had ever wanted, and all I thought I’d ever want, but my ambitions and the world have changed. I’m grateful I got the chance to do what I wanted, but even more excited about the next adventure.

[dropcap]6[/dropcap]  Young people don’t take their opposite gender seriously, especially young men. I thought I did, but I really didn’t. Recent ugliness I’ve witnessed has made me more resolute in my support for gender equality, and thankful that I have healthy relationships with the women in my life. Remember, they’re just like us!

[dropcap]7[/dropcap]  The Pale Blue Dot image and speech blows my mind as much now as it did fifteen years ago. It’ll blow your mind too.

[dropcap]8[/dropcap]  I still don’t know what to do with my hair, but I’m getting there. If you have your hair game figured out, I salute you.

[dropcap]9[/dropcap]  Ditto clothes.

[dropcap]10[/dropcap]  I rarely go to bed later than midnight because I have to be up in the morning. This is a much more enjoyable shift than I expected.

[dropcap]11[/dropcap]  The most valuable skill I’ve ever developed is my ability to listen. It’s brought me great things in life.

[dropcap]12[/dropcap]  Don’t interrupt.

[dropcap]13[/dropcap]  Always sleep on a draft before sending it off. You’ll spot loads of stuff.

[dropcap]14[/dropcap]  Pain and heartbreak are as horrific as they are necessary to become a fully grown and rounded person. My capacity to heal has helped me shape and know myself, though seeking damage willingly is a toxic and dangerous trait.

[dropcap]15[/dropcap]  Be as generous as you can be, but avoid truly selfish people. You should never share with people you’ll end up resenting.

[dropcap]16[/dropcap]  Take care of your feet, they are the tyres of your body.

[dropcap]17[/dropcap]  Know and do what you’re good at, but don’t be afraid to be the worst at something. Even Jimi Hendrix sucked at guitar once.

[dropcap]18[/dropcap]  We’re all in this together.

[dropcap]19[/dropcap]  Be optimistic and assume the best of people. Better to be magnanimous and wrong than bitter and right.

[dropcap]20[/dropcap]  Fight shyness. There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert, but getting to know other people easily is opening your life and your heart to a universe of possibilities.

[dropcap]21[/dropcap]  Getting up early is pretty much always worthwhile. That’s why it’s hard.

[dropcap]22[/dropcap]  Living in the future is cool if you think about it at all:


[dropcap]23[/dropcap]  Learning to enjoy things you didn’t before is a way to find happiness almost anywhere.

[dropcap]24[/dropcap]  Travelling is one of the best ways to spend time and money, as long as you venture out of your comfort zone.

[dropcap]25[/dropcap]  Nothing is static or absolute, life is a series of balancing acts and feedback loops. Making the journey isn’t like walking, it’s more like surfing.

[dropcap]26[/dropcap]  Don’t be afraid to cry (in moderation). (Warning! Spoiler for the finale for The US Office)

[dropcap]27[/dropcap]  A key to a healthy relationship is respect for one another’s passions. You get that for free if those passions are shared, but if not, take a genuine interest.

[dropcap]28[/dropcap]  Arrogance isn’t confidence, honesty is.

[dropcap]29[/dropcap]  It’s okay to be afraid, but sometimes you have to be brave as well.

[dropcap]30[/dropcap]  The way you do anything is the way you do everything.

Many thanks to Mr. Homer Goes To Washington for the awesome banner pic.