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30 Life Lessons I Learned In My 30s

In my now 33 years on Earth, I have lived and learned a lot. I guess a lot of us probably have, right?

I aim to be a life-long learner, but with time comes wisdom. Here are thirty life lessons that have left a lasting impact on me as a person. I’ll continue to remember these as I get older, too. Tell me in the comments what your biggest life lessons are.

30 lessons I've learned in 30 years

30 Things I’ve Learned in 30 Years

1. The simplicity of patience.

With myself, with my family, friends, and with life… patience is a life skill that will serve you well in nearly every area of your life.

Learning to savor the wait makes the end that much sweeter. When you are able to practice patience, both with yourself and other people, you get upset less often. You give grace more easily. Practicing patience over the years has done nothing but benefit me.

2. Boundaries are a tool… use them.

Setting and keeping boundaries helps me show up for myself and helps me say yes to the opportunities in life that will help me continue to grow. As Marina and I talked about on the podcast, boundaries are truly essential.

They are what keep you from overextending yourself as well as extending yourself in the wrong direction.

3. Self-care is the best medicine..

This is a non-negotiable and another way I show up for and love myself. Self-care isn’t just bubble baths — as much as I love those. It’s making the right decision fro yourself even though it’s hard in the moment.

4. You need to be able to trust yourself.

My thirties are teaching me that rather than seek validation from others, I turn inward, and have learned to trust my vision.

At the end of the day, you are really all you have. You are your most valuable asset, your #1 team member, your own biggest cheerleader. Be on your own team.

5. Comparison is a losing game.

There is no winning when you compare yourself to someone else. We are not all meant to be on the same path and all comparison is doing is taking you away from yours.

6. It’s not a competition.

Life is meant to be enjoyed, not won. Along with comparing yourself to others, there is no prize to be won here.

The only person you’re truly in a “competition” with is yourself. And even that is more of how committed to yourself you and your values.

When it comes to other people there is room for all of us to succeed.

7. Things don’t always go to plan.

I have learned this over and over again, that you can plan all you want but life goes at its own pace. If something is meant to work out it, it will. If not, then it was never meant to be in the first place.

8. Believe in yourself, it matters most.

If you can’t believe in yourself, it will be hard for others to. And it really doesn’t matter if others believe in you, because you believe in you. 

9. Invest in yourself.

Hire that coach, take that class, spend the time and money on yourself, because it will pay off.

10. Know where your money goes.

Budgeting can be hard to learn, but you have to figure out what works best for you. Don’t let a forgotten subscription syphon $20 from your bank account every month. Don’t wait for an emergency to get prepared.

11. There’s time to do things.

When I was younger, I thought I had to get everything done immediately, and now I know there is time, there is time to travel, time to grow my business. 

Turning 30 can feel like you are *so old.* But you’re not. You have time to set new goals and reach old ones. You can start over. You’re allowed to be a beginner.

12. But don’t be complacent.

Don’t put your life on hold. Don’t wait to visit your loved ones. Don’t wait to tell someone you love them.

13. People matter more than things.

Stuff breaks, things get lost, but the relationships we build over time will continue to nourish and support us forever. 

14. How you speak to yourself matters.

And it also informs others how they might speak to you. Our internal voice is the one we hear most often. Let it be full of positivity.

15. Travel as often as your heart allows.

Whether you take one trip a year, one trip every five years, you head to another state, or you go to another country, see as much of it as you can. We learn so much about ourselves as we expand our horizons and perspectives.

16. Meet yourself at each age, get to know yourself.

Sometimes I forget that I’m growing and changing, and at 30 I am going to be different than I was at even 28. 

17. Always learn new things.

If you never stop learning, you never stop living. We should all be life-long learners. It doesn’t stop just because you aren’t in school anymore.

 18. Forgiveness

This one is hard, but life is too short to hold grudges. And it is especially important to learn to forgive yourself.

19. Pay off your debt.

Don’t pay extra money on the money you owe. It’s better to sacrifice some things now than to have debt hang over your head for your lifetime. Do you want to have college loans AND a mortgage AND potential medical debt all to worry about when you’re 68? Everyone’s circumstance is different, but if you’re able to, start paying your debt off now. Don’t wait. 

20. Start saving for retirement now.

Even if it’s just a little bit a year, starting to save now helps you honor your future and get you in the mindset to plan ahead.

 21. Know how to change your oil and change your tires for your car.

Or similarly handy things. Not only does it help you take care of your things and keep from having to pay someone else to fix it, but it helps us be independent and self-sufficient.

 22. Know how to set up and manage a budget.

This takes time, and will evolve as your life and needs change, but it’s so important to learn how to do early on.

 23. You can always start something new.

There is no timeline in life to achieve something, learn something, or do something.

 24. The career you have now doesn’t have to be the career you’ll have in 10 years.

 Our careers are meant to evolve, because we are meant to grow. 

  25. Put your phone down more than you pick it up.

It’s important to stay in this world, in this present, and connect with what is physically around us.

 26. Always say I love you, even when you’re really mad.

Because life is too short and you never know what might happen.

 27. You don’t have to wait for special occasions to say something nice to those you love.

I tell my friends I love them all the time, and they do the same. We don’t need to say it every time we talk, but it is a gift every time we give it.

 28. Say please and thank you, and mean it.

Have gratitude for yourself and those around you. 

29. It’s important to give yourself grace.

Be gently on yourself. Don’t push yourself overly hard. Stay focused, but prioritize rest as well.

30. Love yourself.

Loving yourself is a journey that you’ll always be on. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking we need to look, be, or live a certain way. It’s not always easy, but loving yourself is worth the journey. Even if that involves therapy, ending relationships, or moving across the country. Put your emotional and physical wellbeing first.

I hope to continue to learn and grow for a long time, but appreciate how far I’ve come in the meantime.

What other lessons have you learned that have formed how you live your life? Let me know in the comments below!

About the Author

Nicole Booz is the founder of GenTwenty and GenThirty. She is an entrepreneur, author of The Kidult Handbook, and most importantly, Mama to two beautiful little boys. She loves reading, organizing her home, and living a simple, less toxic lifestyle. You've seen her in The New York Times, TIME, Insider, Inside Edition, New York Post, NextAdvisor, Forbes, Yahoo, HuffPost, and U.S. News & World Report.