6 Lovely Life Lessons I Learned at 30
I feel like life is moving at a speed I can’t quite compete with. So much so that I am behind on one of my favorite blog posts I do every year–birthday lovely lessons. This year, it’s the life lessons I learned at 30.
Am I really behind? Probably not. I’m just a big shot critic and I like to throw tomatoes at myself.
Year 30 was a big one. I felt the immediate body dysphoria when I bought that 13 Going On 30 dress on Amazon to commemorate a nostalgic idea of what I thought 30 would be like. Thanks, Hollywood! The dress didn’t fit. The hole that was meant to be a cute cut off was a complete window for my boobs. I looked in the mirror and immediately thought–this ain’t it. Later, my therapist pointed out that it was a 13-year-old who decided to pick that dress out for 30-year-old her. So what was the vision for 30 as me now and not some wrapped version influenced by a favorite movie? I didn’t know but I was curious to find out.
Before I share the lessons of this birth year, I want to remind you that the idea of who you thought you wanted to be by now is still valid. You can wear the boob window dress if you want to or find something you actually feel more confident in. Allow yourself to adjust to the new life chapter and don’t judge yourself when you look in the mirror. Drum roll…here are six things I learned at 30.
1. You are more than one thing
I think social media has heavily influenced the idea that you can only fit in one box for overnight success. It’s impacted how I compartmentalize myself and what parts of me I felt had a voice. It took me sixteen years to finally feel comfortable enough to wear a CGM device for my type-1 diabetes. #trauma but still.
My autoimmune disease is an invisible disability. In an ableist society, I tend to try and survive by not talking about it (again, #trauma) but therapy helped me finally accept that part of myself and it turned into a continued self-love revolution this year. I went from people pleasing and dancing around it with humor to seeing who was safe enough to accept this part of me.
You are more than one thing. Sometimes you might not feel safe to share certain parts of yourself with others and that’s okay. It’s a privilege to know you. Don’t hide yourself from those who love every version of you just because one person made you feel like shit. Ouch girl, geez. Yeah, I know.
2. Writing is rewriting and you didn’t fail
Feedback is hard. Every time I got an edit letter from my agent this birth year, I thought I failed. Every idea I thought was brilliant, my brain responded to as wrong. I think the analogy my agent used was getting a colonoscopy. Sometimes, it takes longer to get to the end of it and other times it’s pretty quick. Mine is always quite the journey but I’ve come to accept that it’s just part of the process.
Rewiring your brain to think that the stakes are high and you only got one shot is hard. You’re not letting everyone down. You’re not starting over or writing the wrong thing. Perfectionism is an illusion and ghosts sure do love me! Ha! Anyways…I’ve learned that sometimes feedback isn’t great, and you don’t have to listen to every piece of writing advice if it doesn’t resonate with you. But this year, I allowed my biggest supporters to push me deeper and answer the questions in my writing I was avoiding in my own main character motives.
I even grappled with the labeling. I talked to my therapist about why I felt so ashamed to call myself a romance author. I overcame past perceptions of what romance meant to me, which helped my characters also finally let themselves feel worthy of their version of love too.
3. Leave hermit mode but honor your growth
I had a very lonely early pandemic experience. I think I’m still trying to heal that version of me. The Hermit is an interesting card in Tarot. It’s the inner journey. The self-growth. It defines me more than I would like it to but getting out of hermit mode is hard. Especially after you finally create a safe space to stop people pleasing and focus on what you want in life.
Healing isn’t this pretty thing where you’re always a lucky girl and affirmations bother me. It’s a lot of work and a lot of tears. I don’t believe that we are always meant to feel like we are okay, the whole point of the human experience is to feel all emotions and some days I don’t feel worthy or lucky or good enough. This whole blog started as a way to help me process things as I learned life and the pandemic forced me to heal myself.
I don’t ever want to kill old versions of me. I’m learning how to work with them and not abandon them. It’s helped me realize that the greatest form of self-love is accepting all parts of you, even and especially the ones where you thought weren’t enough or too much. Realizing that they all contradict and the voices that matter most are the ones you dug up in some hole so no one else would ever hurt you. But oops–ya silenced yourself. Dig them out. Play with them. They miss you.
4. You deserve love, even when you don’t feel like you do
There are still days where I feel that maybe the thing I want most isn’t meant for me in this life but then I get over it. Will anyone ever love me? I don’t know. But…I love me! I know I’m great. I think I finally accepted that all the voices that once told me I was too much or not enough were cinematic projections and ended up being ghosts that finally stopped haunting me. RIP. I’m not hard to love…right? Lol no.
I still believe that you are the love of your life and making a Valentine’s Day box to heal little kid me was the best way to remind myself that how I love isn’t stupid. I used to love Valentine’s Day…until people stomped on my heart and blew out the light in me and I decided to light it myself and keep going.
I know certain things might still trigger you. But triggers are an opportunity to check in with yourself. You never have to be completely healed, just willing to accept. Love yourself the way you need to. It won’t look the same for everyone, so make sure you keep your eyes on your own painting. Keep loving yourself, even on the days when you feel like shit. You’re goddamn lovely shit.
5. You don’t need to have all the answers
I’m okay with saying I don’t know now. When I became a literary agent, I thought I had to know everything. It’s quite literally a learn-as-you-go job so I bamboozled myself again. It’s definitely helping me fight my internal perfectionism and be okay with being a rookie. If you lose your mojo, it’s okay. You’ll get it back….eventually.
I think the old programming of success still haunts me from time to time and I forget that I’m creating my own path. That’s hard to do when it’s always been Your On Your Own, Kid and you’re the first one to do it. But it does feel good to put another blueprint out there in the world. Remember you get to define success on your own terms, lovely.
Celebrate the small wins more and give yourself more stickers. You deserve to share your good news with those who want to celebrate with you and at that top of that list should be YOU. Who cares what people think. Um…I do? Not always. Work with The Universe, you don’t have to do everything alone.
6. Consistent community is a work in progress
I was so excited to start the new year with my new word–community. Coming out of my hermit mode, this was something I really needed. I wanted to find better friends and build a support group that would be there for me as much as I was there for them. Which made me start to evaluate the people who I had brought back into my life. Were they adding to my cup or sucking my energy dry?
I always over give, and I’m still learning to receive, but I have better boundaries now. I’m okay with the unknown. Gulps. I’m still a work in progress. Always will be. People will come into your life sometimes for just a season. Everyone you meet is a guide, I still believe that. It can be hard to want to be in someone’s life more than they want you in theirs. It’s okay. You’re still great. Those who are meant to be in your life, will stay. Hopefully.