30 and Thriving

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      One thing I can say about myself with certainty, I’m not the most conventional girl you’ll meet. I often take the road less traveled, literally and figuratively, and I’d imagine that many people, especially from older generations, don’t always understand my decisions. I mean, after you get an education, aren’t you supposed to find a job that you’ll have for the next thirty years, get married, and settle into a house you’ll grow old in? While that does sound lovely, I believe there’s more than one way to live your life. Some people want to move to a new city, some people want to travel, some people want to work towards promotions, some people don’t want children, some people start on a new path at 50, some people are happy to be independent and some people need more time to figure it out. And you know what, that’s all okay! In fact, it’s perfect if it’s what makes you happy. Of course, I fully support and respect people who have taken a more conventional path. I’m the kind of person that is happy to see others happy, no matter what they choose. Afterall, you only get one life, so you might as well make sure you find your own idea of happiness and stop worrying about what others think. One thing I’ve learned is that things don’t always work out the way you think they will, and that’s what makes life exciting, sometimes leading you to bigger and better things, or simply towards something that brings you to an even greater sense of fulfillment.

   As I was approaching the next milestone in my life, turning 30 (oh, the horror!), I wondered why I was supposed to dread the big 3-0. Is it the age itself? Or the fact that I’m not married, leaving a permanent job and starting over fresh in a new city after a year of traveling. I mean, how incredibly irresponsible right? Cue eye roll. In case anyone is worried (which I doubt), I’m perfectly happy, I’ve had an amazing year and I will be just fine, which you will soon see when I start posting about on-the-way to work coffees and weekend avocado toast. Yum!

     You see it on television, in movies, and read about it in books and articles: people struggling with the idea of leaving their 20s, joking about celebrating their 29th birthday three + years in a row. But why? Fun fact: there’s no rule-book in life. You don’t actually have a list of things you’re supposed to have accomplished by a certain age, whether its 30, 40, 50 e.t.c. Your life means your rules and decisions. I think there’s a lot of people who hate the idea of aging and what it may represent, but c’mon guys, isn’t that a little pessimistic? Memories and wisdom are worth the wrinkles in my opinion. When you’re young you can’t wait to reach certain ages and then suddenly you’re dreading your next birthday! That’s not cool. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand. I’m definitely thinking about the fact that I won’t be able to say the word “twenty” when someone asks me how old I am anymore. It’s all about perspective! Think of all the people who would love or would’ve loved to reach that next birthday milestone but they’re sick or have been tragically taken from us. Life is precious and meant to be enjoyed. Instead of dreading my birthday because I’m “supposed to” have certain things accomplished at this point in my life, I’m going to tell you why I can look back on my 20s and feel perfectly content with what I’ve experienced, accomplished and most importantly, learned.

      Throughout my 20s, I learned how to be independent by living on my own, starting a full-time job and buying my first car, which I named Beyoncé - the greatest role model a female could have apart from her own mama. I’ve made mistakes, learned from them, fell in love (a few times), fell out of love (every time) and learned to NEVER cut my own bang. I worked hard and earned three degrees, all while working various part-time jobs, maintaining a social life (for my sanity) and traveling from time to time. I’ve learned that everyone who crosses our path can teach us something, whether they are friends, family, coworkers, your partner, students, or even strangers, and I am grateful for each and every one of them.

    I developed a passion for travel when I spent a semester studying in France which then blossomed as I embarked on backpacking trips with friends and went on to teach abroad in South Korea. I’ve traveled to 35 countries (and counting) and I’m so grateful for the experiences, culture, people I’ve met and all of the priceless memories.

    I’m proud of these accomplishments and of what I’ve learned, and I’m also quite happy with who I have become. I think you evolve so much in your 20s as you learn and develop a greater sense of identity and self-worth. You learn more about your passions, morals, values, what you will and won’t put up with, how important it is to do what’s best for you, and the kind of people you want to surround yourself with. I’ve always valued my friendships and I am so lucky to have such a supportive and fun group. I am also very grateful for the children they have brought into the world (and for the ones on the way!).

    Last but not least, a major part of the reason I can look back on my 20s with a sense of accomplishment is that I have had so much fun! That may sound a little insignificant but it’s honestly what makes me feel the most content while reflecting over the past ten years. I can definitely say that I’ve enjoyed each year and have made happiness a priority. I have countless memories that I cherish with my friends and family which include lots of laughter, road trips, coffee + a walk chats, festivals, traveling, dancing and sharing meals together. I’m no stranger to YOLO and FOMO, but I think I’ve also managed to find a pretty good balance between my social butterfly side and the part of me that enjoys crucial “me time.” I’m grateful that I have more happy memories than sad ones to look back on.

     I truly believe that you learn so much about yourself and about the world with each passing year. I’m excited for the next chapters in my life and all that I will experience in this next decade and those to come. 30? Bring it on.

     If you’re really dreading aging, then maybe you’re not living your life to the fullest or in a way that makes you happy. If you have regrets, it’s never too late to make some changes. Although I’m young and have much to learn, I will share some ideas I’ve found that work for me. My suggestions would be to try something new, travel, face a fear, indulge in self-care practices, volunteer, spend more time with friends and family, be healthy and active, and always be open to learning. Don’t forget, you’re as young as you feel, so embrace that next birthday and eat the cake. I wish all of you readers health, happiness and a positive attitude. And in case no one has told you lately, you’re absolutely killing it!

10 thoughts on “30 and Thriving”

  1. What a wonderful read! You have certainly been living life to the fullest. Your wisdom is beyond your “30” years. Wishing you health, happiness, laughter and lots of adventure for at least the next 50 + years. Xxoo

  2. Well said and well written. I guess we are a litttle responsible for the setting the seed in you to travel.
    When we traveled on our two week vacations it was done very economical. We traveled to Toronto and back in our Honda Civic. The car was packed with only things we need for the trip. You and Pam would sit quietly taking all the sites in. Mom would have peanut butter sandwiches made along with juice boxes to keep travel stops to a minimum.
    We had vacations in PEI, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ottawa. We were in Niagara Falls and Ottawa on Canada Day.
    During our travels you always had lots of questions about people and places.
    It’s no surprise to us that you love to travel. We admire your preparation and research before traveling to other countries. It’s so important to know where your going and what to expect when you get there.
    Turning 30 is no big deal it’s just another day in your life. Just keep doing what makes you happy.
    Always remember, we got your back.
    Love you🐶❤️❤️❤️

    1. Thanks Dad! You and mom certainly have instilled my sense of adventure and love of exploring from the early days. You’ve also taught me how to be frugal when necessary and to sit back and take it all in while enjoying every minute. I have many fond memories from a very early age. Love you!

  3. Here’s to growing older. Look how awesome I am at 51 ha ha! You are bang on. We all should care less about using someone else’s playbook on what is the “right” way to live or the proper thing to do. Viva la vida I say🍻. Bon voyage to Montreal, my heart sings every time to go there.

    1. Cheers! I always enjoy your mindset and company, especially when traveling and exploring together. And yes, you are pretty darn awesome 🙂 See you in Montreal soon!

  4. Ann I love this! You’re such a good role model, I will share this with my friend who is worried about turning 30 next month ❤️

  5. Solid read and agree on everything with one certain caveat. That caveat is I’m so proud of what I accomplished because i did it without handouts. I see so many friends who have travelled (which i have done but have always paid for on my own and not in lieu of missing out on important things people (family and friends) expect me to be there for. When I went to university everything changed the way I thought. Being from a middle class based city I got the chance to see how the rich big city folks lived when I went to school, some even using their wealth as ways to show off or provide for others in ways I wondered if certain people hung around them because of the financial perks they received. These were the people buying bottles at the bar and driving Escalades on their parents dimes and posting pictures driving parents lambos in front of their parents mansions. Anyways, doing it by yourself, through your own hard work and opening avenues from your own hardwork, your own personality and strengths and persistence is so much more rewarding. I think driving an Escalade is cool when you’ve paid for said Escalade on your own. I think travelling around the world is cool when you’ve managed everything on your own, not when now you can’t make it home for your siblings wedding becauese you knew you’re parents would just pay for it if it came to that point. Basically, don’t be entitled to things, earn them. Our generation is defined in the work place as entitled by our older peers and it’s partly their fault for enabling this behaviour in ways I’ve mentioned but it’s also our fault for not realising we’re taking advantage. I know not everyone is privileged and this doesn’t go for everyone. Once again, great article – do what you love, don’t care what others think, just do it on your own.

    1. Totally agree Jeff! I’m proud that I’ve accomplished all of this on my own. It’s all a part of growing up I guess 🙂 Learning to be independent and self-sufficient is so important.

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