With 1 day left until my 31st birthday, I had to make this week’s post about turning yet another year older. There was a lot that happened when I turned 30. I left New York City after being there for nearly 11 years (since I was a mere 18 years old!) from college to career and both. It was quite emotional, surreal, and earth shaking for me. I had made the bold decision to move across the country, to the west coast for all the reasons I had since I was 21. I have always wanted to leave NYC as I didn’t see it as a permanent home. I will never stop going back to visit friends and family but as it relates to quality of life, I just didn’t feel it was for me anymore.
I started applying for jobs in California and Colorado. I mainly wanted Colorado because I love the mountains and still want the winter and fall seasons. With summer passing through NYC, I did eventually get an offer, which obviously I took (since I am in Denver now). I began my move around end of September and I wanted it to be significant, so I rented a black SUV Jeep, packed it up with all my things, and drove from New York to Colorado. Over 1700 miles and 2 days later, I reached my destination. I recorded my drive through all the states – New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska. It was truly an experience.
Entering Colorado State Line was emotional for me. I had made this long journey and I finally reached on my own. It was the start to a new chapter of my life. Driving into Colorado was very long. For nearly an hour, I was driving just to reach civilization as most of the way into the state was completely isolated. There were no gas or food stops for nearly 20-30 miles. Eventually after 2 hours I had reached into Denver.
I drove into Lakewood, the town I would be living in, and I was already smitten with just the beauty of what I had witnessed – even at the very late hour I had reached. As dark as it was, I was in awe. I finally reached my new home which was located in a gated community near Bear Creek, west of the mountains. I had a direct view of the mountains, which I absolutely loved. Entering my new apartment, I unloaded my car around 4AM and camped out in my new bedroom that I already loved.
It’s now been about close to 7 months since I have been here and it’s been quite an experience. I have made a couple of friends but have mainly focused on my new job which I love. I also have a puppy that I love and adore. So, when I look back on year 30, I feel that I accomplished, grew, and learned a lot as a young woman.
The things I learned and practiced when I turned 30:
- Time is precious: money is important too but can always be re-made; however time cannot. This exact moment is here now and gone forever. Make use of your time, don’t count it.
- Be your own best friend. Spend time with yourself alone, learn about yourself, take care of yourself, nurture yourself, and love yourself. It’s important to check in with yourself before you do with others. Social media has a bad way of us getting so distracted we forget number one.
- Being present for those we love (this includes ourselves, read #2). Family, friends, relationships require effort and your best self. We as humans sometimes have a bad habit of getting so engrossed in our thoughts and our phones – swiping left or double-tapping this, for things that are not currently in our presence – that we forget those around us. It’s important to foster and nurture the relationships you do value. And very important to connect with the people that are in front of you vs miles away from you on your phone.
- Stop apologizing. Don’t apologize for things that are not your fault. Unless of course you run over someone’s dog or cat!
- Work smarter, not harder. I’ve learned that when you reach 30, responsibilities add up and things can easily pile up. I have found that staying organized and just taking care of business (whatever that is for you) right then and there; don’t let it fester, prevents future stresses. Otherwise, it will feel like you’re trying to climb out of a grave. You don’t have to be extremely intelligent to work smarter; working smarter is code for organization which means do not procrastinate. It will bite you in the ass.
- Keep a morning and evening routine or ritual, it keeps you grounded. This can be from making the bed each morning to doing a gratitude list every night before you sleep; whatever works for you but I find after a long hard day when things probably have not gone my way or I did not get what I needed resolved – instead of falling into an anxious cycle or bad thought pattern – doing rituals or routines helps keep me sane. It goes back to your mind feeling like it has some control.
I feel like sometimes, we always think there’s going to be more time. There actually isn’t. I lied to myself when I was 25, here I am now, 30 going on 31. I cannot attest more to how real and fast life becomes.
What have you learned turning another year older?