Food For Thought: Turning 29
It was my 29th birthday last week. And if you ask me, a 29th birthday is a special one. It marks the end of a great chapter, and the start of a new one.
Time to reflect:
My 20s took me through a lot of personal growth. I graduated from college, moved to several new cities, scored my first real job, quit that job, became self-employed, fell in love, fell out of love, met the love of my life, got married. Everything I ever hoped I’d do in my 20s, and so much more.
Now that I think about it, my 29th birthday would have been the perfect excuse to wrap up this decade with a celebration for the books. A night with my best friends, celebrating, lots of love and laughter, good food and lots of dancing. A night to take ton of pictures of – to later on reminisce about my youth when I am grey and old. A night to go out and do all of the things I promised myself I would do in my 20s.
Well, truth be told: My party budget is still on recovery mode due to our wedding last year, so I guess that party will have to wait until next year.
Instead, I’m ringing in this final year of an incredible decade by reflecting on all the little life lessons that took me 29 years to learn. Thinking about the past decade of my life makes me quite sentimental. On the one hand because I’m truly thankful for everything that has happened during the past 10 years. On the other hand, because I know that this carefree feeling I’ve had during (most) of my twenties won’t come back anymore.
10 Truths That Took Me 29 Years To Learn:
Love yourself first.
You are the most important relationship of your life. Love yourself completely because you’re the best advocate you have. If there is something you want to change, then put in the work and change it, because loving yourself and believing in yourself is the only way you will achieve everything you want to. It will give you the confidence to takes the risks you need to, to keep going when you want to quit, and believe that your ideas are valuable. Your family, your friends, your siblings, they are all there for you to love you, too. They are your safety net, they are your trampoline. They will catch you when you’re falling and they will bounce you back up. But it’s up to your own muscles to get back up on your feet. It is always all up to you – everything you want and anything you feel. There is absolutely no one but yourself responsible for your own happiness and to make anything you want happen. Life is short, so spend it loving who you are.
Makeup does not make you beautiful.
I love experimenting with make up, but even more so, I just love the feeling of not wearing any make up at all. Makeup is fun to play around with, it helps us to feel beautiful, too. That’s fantastic, but too much makeup can quickly turn into a mask. A mask that hides away all the wonderful things that make a person so unique. From freckles, to scars, to uneven eyebrows – all of those things belong to you and make you special. Isn’t it fantastic that no one else on this entire planet looks exactly like you? I think it’s wonderful. The sooner we learn to embrace our looks, the better we will feel, the more confident we will be and in return the more beautiful we will look. Because happy girls will forever be the prettiest.
Dieting is boring.
Seriously, life is not fun when you are on a diet. From what I’ve experienced, diets are just a waste of time and starving oneself is a sad way to live. Instead of dieting, eating healthy is the key. Stay away from refined sugars, too much alcohol and anything that does not do you good. You know best what to eat and what not to. Just do that, everyday. Investing in your health will make you rich in so many ways. It will probably take more time to prepare your own meals, and it will probably also be more expensive. But name one thing that is more important than your health? Exactly. Nothing is.
Wasting time in a job you hate is stupid.
I know. We all have to work to make a living and we all have to start somewhere. That’s all true, but if you do not like your job for whatever reason, start looking out for new opportunities. We spend one third of our life working, so you better find a job that you’re excited to wake up and go to every morning. And if you’ve found that job, save a little money! Having a little financial freedom will allow you more room to pursue your passions freely.
It’s okay to embarrass yourself.
First of all: Stop caring about what other people think of you. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s such a life changer. I’ve learned that the possibility of greatness and embarrassment lie very close to each other. However, the only chance to be great is to take the risk to embarrass yourself. But you know what’s the biggest risk of them all? Never taking any chance. I’d rather embarrass myself than never make any progress.
Real friends are your most precious life companions.
Real friends are your family. They will tell you when you have food stuck in your teeth. They will hate all the men that mistreated you. They will call you from time to time just to check in on you. They will buy you flowers for no reason, they will turn their couch into a bed for you anytime, they will make you laugh until you have to cry. They will share your most precious memories with you. You will not to talk to them for months, but when you do, it will feel as if no time had passed at all. Real friends will ask you for favors in the same casual way they would ask their family. Real friends will tell you their honest opinion, they will get mad at you, but they will always forgive you. Real friends are the family you get to choose. Choose wisely and be there for them – no matter what.
Adopting a dog can change your life.
You’ll quickly find out there is no love like your dog’s love for you. No one will ever run towards you with so much excitement they actually pee themselves. Okay, maybe your kid will one day. But until then: No one will give you unconditional love and simultaneously help regiment your schedule like a dog. Also: You’ll soon learn that it’s totally fine to walk around with a bag of poop in your hand if your dog is next to you. If you’re own your own, it’s kind of weird to do that.
Some things don’t work out for a reason.
One of the hardest lessons I had to learn in my 20s was that some things just don’t work. Rejection hurts. No matter if you get rejected at a job, or by a person. Looking back at all the rejections I had to face during the past years, I can honestly say that being rejected can be one of the best things that can happen to you. It might hurt in the moment, but it also means that the right opportunity or person is still out there. Some day you will be so happy this or that job or person did not work out, because then something or someone better can come along, and it will all make sense.
Make time to stop and reflect.
In our 20s it’s easy to get wrapped up in work, sleep, eat, weekend, work, sleep, eat, weekend – repeat. We often forget what we really want out of life. What has helped me a lot when I felt lost was sitting down and contemplating what it really is I want and how I would like my life to be in the future. Our 20s are the point in our life when we really have a chance to shape our future. We have to make sure we spend time alone to reflect. Build vision boards. Fill journals. Visualize what you want, and go for it.
Don’t rush. Life happens fast enough.
I remember how eagerly I was waiting to finally be able to drive a car, to graduate, move away from home, start earning my own money, and so on. Looking back at the past years, I wish I would have given myself a little more time here and there. I’ve learned that being one step ahead might seem to be a benefit in the beginning, but on the long run, rushing things usually only leads to chaos, heartache and regret in the end. Trusting the timing of my life is something I’m still learning. For an inpatient person like me this is quite a task. But more and more I’m starting to really believe that everything in life happens exactly when it’s supposed to happen.
Even though turning 29 may seem bittersweet at first, the way I see it, there is nothing to worry about.
Life is such a gift, and getting older isn’t something we can take for granted at all. We will all die one day. Hopefully at a very old age, with lots of wrinkles on our faces that tell stories about our life. I try to remind myself as often as I can that death is a part of life, and that it’s inevitable for all of us. We all know it will happen one day, but we don’t know when. Until that day, every breath we take is a stroke of luck and every day we get to live is an honor.
Sometimes I catch myself thinking how incredible it is to just be alive. Have you ever asked yourself how many things had to fall into place so you were born? I think it’s mind blowing! We are alive right now and that is all that matters. That is our biggest gift.
Anticipation of the unknown.
One thing is for sure: I’ll embrace every second of this last year in my 20s to the fullest and will rest assured knowing that each decade is beautifully unique in its own way. Plus, there are so (so!) many things I’m looking forward to in my 30s.
The best is yet to come.Frank Sinatra