For My Sister on Her 30th Birthday
My little sister is celebrating her 30th birthday today. Well, I guess “celebrating” isn’t quite correct — dreading is probably more accurate. Personally I looked forward to turning 30 so I can’t say I really understand where her angst is coming from. After all this is a girl who is still young, beautiful, intelligent, funny, caring, giving and is engaged to a man who she is madly in love with. But I would be remiss if I neglected my big-sisterly duties and didn’t try to dole out some unsolicited advice anyway. And being a one year veteran of my thirties it’s not like I don’t have any experience. So without further ado, I humbly present to you…
Cathy’s Keys To Happiness in Your Thirties *
*disclaimer: since I’m only 31, these rules are still in beta testing
Don’t use anyone else’s life as a benchmark to measure your life and your accomplishments against. Just remember that nobody’s life is perfect and what they choose to let you see never tells the full story. They have their issues too — I guarantee it. Ignore what everyone else has done, forge your own path and do what’s right for you.
Thirty is not the end of the world. It’s the perfect time to apply all the things you learned while you were stumbling around blindly in your twenties only now you’ll have a better idea of what you’re doing.
It’s never too late to start over if that’s what you decide you want to do. People do it all the time. It may be a little harder, but it’s never too late. Never feel like you have to settle.
Use a lot of butter when you cook. Butter really does make everything better.
Drink more water and less soda. Soda will rot your teeth out. Seriously. They did a study on this and found that sodas wear out your enamel (except root beer for some reason).
Find a hobby that you enjoy and that you can do alone — knit, crochet, quilt, scrapbook, build miniature ships in bottles, read, learn a new instrument, pick up a sport, whatever you’re good at. One, it’s fun to discover new things about yourself and two, later when you’re married and have a house full of rugrats, you’re going to cherish your alone time and having something to do when you finally have time to yourself makes it more enjoyable.
Call your older sister more often!
Learn how to say no.
Don’t ever stop learning about things — whether it’s stuff you don’t know anything about or stuff you’ve always been interested in but never got a chance to study in school.
Back up the data on your computer. Seriously.
Adopt a charity of your choice or take up an issue that you are passionate about. Sometimes it feels good to focus your energy on something outside of yourself — especially when you’re feeling really down on yourself.
Do something selfish and completely just for yourself at least once a month — get a manicure, get a massage, hide away at a cafe for a couple hours with a good book, make other people watch the movie you’ve been dying to see no matter how chick flicky it is, take over the tv at night and hide the remote control, eat cake for breakfast.
Take lots of pictures. You don’t have to print them, just store them on your computer if that’s easiest. One day you’re going to look back on this age and think, “Wow, those were some good times weren’t they?” and you’re going to want some pictures to help you remember. And make sure you’re in some of the pictures — you won’t realize until you’re older and wrinkly that you spent most of your time behind the camera and then you’ll wish you had pictures of yourself when you were younger and hotter.
Finally, this little gem is from Mark and it’s here only because he made me promise to include it: “When they tell you don’t walk towards the light, you just tell them you’re going to change the lightbulb.” He also made me promise to tell you this, “People measure age by the days, weeks and months that pass. But I measure age by the events in my heart and in my mind. That’s my true age.”
And Mark’s advice leads to this last one from me: Don’t listen to boys — they talk a lot of nonsense because they want to seem relevant. Just nod at them and then go do what you were going to do anyway.