30 Things I learned Before Turning 30

Today is my 30th Birthday. So I thought I would put together a list of things I have learned from these 30 years around the sun. Some are silly, some are a bit more vulnerable, but all of these lessons have made me into the person I am today. For that, I am grateful.

  1. Literally no one knows what they are doing: I know it sounds cliché, but it is true. We can develop expertise but when it comes to life, we are all just making it up every day. Some of us are just better at looking put together.
  2. The sooner you stop pretending you will change and make peace with being a procrastinator the sooner you will be able to use it to your advantage.
  3. Assume Positive Intent (When you can): Most people are trying to do the best they can with what they have. I always try to keep this in mind when I am feeling hurt by someone. Though this does have its limits.
  4. Buy sweatshirts at least 2 sizes up to maximize comfy
  5. It’s okay to not have a huge life goal that you are working towards: Sometimes we just have to float around a little bit to figure stuff out. Honestly, that floating is when I’ve had the most fun in my life.
  6. Set clear boundaries. You owe it to yourself and the people in your life.
  7. When a stranger at a rave says “happy birthday, open your mouth”, maybe ask why before you open your mouth: Don’t worry about how I learned this, just do what I say or you may end up thinking a Christmas tree is trying to attack you for the next 12 hours.
  8. It’s okay to like Taylor Swift.
  9. I (and you) can do hard things: Even before this year from hell, I’ve had some rough stuff come up in my life. I’ve also had things I’ve had to work really really hard for. I am a better person for facing hard things and doing/dealing with them anyway. Even when you brain tells you there’s no point or you will fail, do the hard things anyway.
  10. I was not lazy growing up like everyone told me I was, I had undiagnosed ADHD.
  11. Pushing yourself past your breaking point is not something to brag about: When I was in my last year of graduate school, I was at the most unhealthy I have ever been. I was not taking care of myself and ended up doing lasting damage to my health. Running yourself into the ground is not something to be proud of.
  12. Stop apologizing when you didn’t do anything wrong.
  13. Sometimes your “dream job” is not what will make you happy: From 2017 until earlier this year I had a job doing something meaningful that I loved. That job also took everything I had in me and left me with very little energy to exist outside of it. Due to the nature of the job being wrapped up in my queer identity it made it impossible to not be at work. I was exhausted and lonely, so I left. I now work in a corporate setting and while my personal values do not always align with that, I now have the energy to be a person. I can leave work at work and enjoy my free time. And once we are able, I will have the ability to be involved in the community again in a way that I’ve missed a great deal.
  14. If you have the privilege of having good health insurance, use that shit. You never know when you suddenly will not have that coverage and you will be grateful that you took advantage of it when you could.
  15. Embracing the ambiguous gray areas of life makes life a lot more interesting and fun: In some parts of my life, I love and sometimes really need certainty. But in the parts of my life where I have learned to embrace not having or needing to know all the answers, things get easier and a hell of a lot more fun.
  16. Air fryers and toaster ovens are essentially the same thing.
  17. If you just spent so much time and energy breaking out of a box others put you in, why stress yourself out trying to shove yourself into another box that doesn’t fit either? : When working with LGBTQIA+ college students I noticed how often we stress ourselves out trying to find a label that fits us, often because no label feels just right. Labels can be important and useful for some people, but if you find they are stressing you out more than they help you understanding yourself, consider if the box is really necessary.
  18. It sounds stupid but trying your best to have an optimistic outlook really does help you enjoy life more.
  19. Set your bank account to automatically move money into savings each month: I have never been great at saving money. To be fair, I have never been in the position to have money to save until very recently. Automating my savings has made a HUGE difference. If I never have to see the money in my checking account, I don’t remember it was ever there.
  20. You might think you are drinking enough water, but odds are you are not. Drink more.
  21. Educate yourself, and then educate others: Education is the gateway to understanding the systems we live within and how to begin to dismantle them. You are responsible for your own education. And when it is possible, share what you have taken the time to learn. You never know how you may impact those around you.
  22. Before you make a big purchase, ask yourself, do I actually want this thing, or do I think I want it because I want what I think it will give me (fitness, status, health, cool-ness, feeling special, etc)? Most of the time, you don’t actually want it.
  23. It is okay (or really even great) to like things: I feel like I sometimes get stuck in a place of being negative and internally hating on people who get really into something or really excited about a band or a hobby. It’s usually a sign that I am not doing great at keeping up with my mental health. Liking things isn’t something to feel ashamed of. We could all do with a little excitement in our lives. If you are really into a band, or a tv show, or anything like that — that is awesome! I love your passion and energy! Being negative for the sake of being negative is no fun.
  24. Teach yourself 3 recipes that you can learn to dependably cook: I will never like to cook, but at least I know I can feed myself and my loved ones when I need to.
  25. It is okay to enjoy media that you know is problematic: It really is, I promise. Instead, make sure you understand how to dissect media and see it for what it is. Engage with its problems. But don’t beat yourself up if that thing still brings you joy.
  26. Telling kids that they are not living up to their potential is incredibly harmful: I was told this a lot growing up, it did nothing but make me hate myself for a lot of my teenage years.
  27. Be proud of being smart, but also be okay with being wrong: To be honest this is something I am still working on. I am a recovering know-it-all. It isn’t a cute look for me and when I let those tendencies get the best of me it prevents my growth as a person.
  28. Have a go-to depression meal: Feeding yourself is hard sometimes. Make sure you always keep what you need to make this meal stocked up. Right now, my depression meal of choice is frozen broccoli & cheese with crushed up crackers mixed in.
  29. Figure out what things in your life are necessary to preserve your mental health: For example, I’ve learned that not having a washer and dryer makes my depression worse.
  30. You don’t have to “change the world” to impact the world: You don’t have to do huge flashy things to make a difference. Impacting one person’s life is creating change in the world, possibly more than you will ever know.

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Activist, Educator, Writer, and Community Organizer living in Louisville,KY.

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MC Lampe

MC Lampe

Activist, Educator, Writer, and Community Organizer living in Louisville,KY.

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