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30 Things I wish I knew at 30

For Lindsay on her 30th Birthday, August 13, 2021

Thirty things I have learned in thirty years that I wish I knew when I was thirty.

1. You are spectacular. This is true. But don’t expect anyone to tell you every day and don’t need to hear it to believe it.

2. You are flawed. This is true. Expect to hear it more often than you want to. Look at it as an opportunity to learn and improve

3. The best response to criticism is: Is it true? Never stop looking inward and owning your part in a mistake. Learn from it.

4. The best next response to criticism move on. Don’t dwell on it. Move on.

5. An apology is either an act of humility or an act of cowardice. Learn to know the difference.

6. It's true. Money doesn’t buy happiness. It can buy nice things that make life easier, and it’s OK to work toward those things.

7. Social media is not real life. Friends do not give you a thumbs up, they watch your dog when you’re out of town.

8. Give anonymously. If it’s done with the right heart, no one needs to know. If you need someone to know, it’s not done with the right heart.

9. Learn the art of conversation. This means that you listen with the goal of learning more, not for an opportunity to talk.

10. We are all like ears of corn. We tend to only see the dark kernels in ourselves and call it “whole.” Everyone else sees the “whole” and accepts the dark kernels as the imperfections that make you human.

11. Books are always better than the movies. And people who read books are generally more interesting than people who watch movies.

12. Making money is easy. Managing money is hard.

13. Being liked is overrated. Be respected. It has a much longer shelf life and you sleep better at night.

14. Reputation is everything. It takes years to earn a good one, and one post on the internet to tear it down.

15. Your parents did their best. If you can learn to accept our flaws as our imperfections and not a measure of our love for you, you will save years of therapy.

16. Most people don’t remember what you wore last Thursday. There are very few days in our lives worth worrying about what to wear.

17. You don’t need lots of friends. If, when you’re my age, you can name two who “knew you when” and love you still, it means YOU have been a good friend. And that means something.

18. Eulogize people every day. Don’t wait until you’re speaking to a coffin to tell someone how they made your life better.

19. Learn to be OK with people not liking you. Most people make decisions every day motivated by a fear of being disliked by people they don’t like. Don’t be most people.

20. If you have a man who loves you, never take that for granted. Millions of women don’t have it. Millions more have never had it.

21. Give. Give money. Give time. Give of your knowledge. It will likely come back to you. And even if it is doesn’t, you’re a better person for having given.

22. Be a leader where you have the knowledge. Be a great follower when others have the gifting.

23. It’s OK to shift around on your foundation. The danger lies in having no foundation.

24. The longer the silence the harder to break it. Be the breaker.

25. Always listen to the other side. It doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your truth. It means that you have the maturity to recognize that others may know more than you do.

26. Nobody thinks of you as often and in as much detail as you think they do.

27. Learn the art of disciplining your thoughts. More damage is done in your head than by anything real happening on the outside.

29. Virtually no one you know today will be in your life five years from now. Concentrate on the ones that will.

30. If someone judges you by what you drive, or wear, or own ~ don’t waste your time caring what they think about what you drive or wear or own.

31. Finally (one to grow on...) When your mother says you hung the moon. You did. Even if others disagree, you can go a long way on the life’s skids greased with a Mom’s love.


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