29 Things I’ve Learned by 30

30 came at me fast and furious.  It’s a new decade.  A mature decade.  So am I more mature?  Debatable…but as my 29th year just ended, here are the 29 things I’ve learned:

  1.  Taking the time to decorate your apartment is important.  Stop and figure out your taste before just tossing random pieces of furniture and cheap, nondescript curtains in there.  Coming home to a place that is an expression of you means you’ll be relaxed, which is the feeling you want in the place where you spend so much time.
  2. Having a shopping strategy is necessary.  I’m not a big shopper and get overwhelmed in department stores and online.  I now pick out outfits I like on Pinterest, in magazines, or on fancy store mannequins and then go to affordable but quality boutiques to re-create them.
  3. I don’t have to like beer.  I think the taste is meh and it makes me too full to want to do anything.  I’ll stick to my trusty Jack and Diet or wine, even if it’s a beer event like football.
  4. Always wear nail polish and teach yourself how to paint your own nails.  Hands just look better with painted nails.
  5. Don’t try to rigidly plan dating.  I used to nix people before giving them a chance, saying I wasn’t attracted to guys who were shorter than me or younger than me or other such nonsense.  Everybody deserves one date before making a decision because when personalities click, some things suddenly aren’t such a big deal.
    29 by 29 - 1
  6. Dinner parties are great and don’t have to be boring.  You can get drunk, but it’s still considered classy.  Plus, it’s intimate; so you can actually hear your own conversations.
  7. Bring your own lunch to work.  You’ll save so much money and probably be healthier.
  8. A cleaning lady is definitely worth it.  I am a neat person.  A tidy person.   I am not, however, big on cleaning.  I will make sure the bed is always made and the apartment doesn’t get cluttered but really don’t like scrubbing and such, so I am happy to pay someone else to get in there and do the dirty work.
  9. Wardrobe staples are a thing.  It was hard for me to fork over $150-$200 for nice pants, but I look more put together when I wear them and have gotten much more use out of them than the cheap pieces I was constantly buying (that cost way more money in the long run).
  10. I’m not really a pet person.  And that’s ok.
  11. It’s always better to err on the side of overdressed.
  12. My body needs 8 to 8.5 hours of sleep each night for me to be my best self the next day.  I used to require much less, but now I see and feel the benefit of going to bed just a little earlier.
  13. Real mail means something.  Take the time to send an actual hand-written thank you note.  Holiday cards and letters “just because” are nice, too. 
    29 by 29 - 3
  14. I’m a nerd.  I used to try to hide my silly side, but I’m me and I ain’t changin.  I talk in funny voices.  I dance around my apartment like a weirdo.  I make lame jokes and play Sim City on occasion.  Take me as I am.
  15. I am afraid my boyfriend will think I’m dropping hints when I watch “Say Yes to the Dress” or comment on somebody’s ring or an element of their wedding.  I started worrying if maybe that’s actually what I was doing, subconsciously.  After some introspection I realized I’m not; I just really love party planning and analyzing wedding stuff, regardless of my own relationship status.
  16. Writing a To Do list is the only way I get things done.  I also relish the moment when I get to cross off items I have accomplished.  That feeling alone makes it worth it to keep pen and paper handy instead of moving fully digital.
  17. With the exception of my parents, I don’t like talking on the phone.  Ideally I would talk to my parents every other day for 30-60 minutes.  With anyone else I find phone conversations pointless and would rather see them in person or text.  I’m learning how to maintain those friendships without the phone.  It’s sometimes harder, but it’s important.
  18. I have poor hand-eye coordination.  Traditional sports are, therefore, not my strong suit.  Other sports, like skiing and running, are good for me so I should work on developing those skills.
  19. Keep snacks around the house (both salty and sweet).  If you ever get a craving and can’t satisfy it, you won’t be able to think about anything else and it will drive you crazy.  Plus, you’ll seem more like an adult when friends come over for a visit.
  20. Much like admitting I’m not a pet person (see #10), I’ve realized I’m not really into babies.  These are things you’re not supposed to say out loud but if I’m being honest, they just don’t do anything for me.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE kids and could spend all day with little ones once they start talking and especially once they can go to the bathroom themselves, but I find babies kind of boring.  My nephew is the exception because he’s mine.  Maybe this will change; but for now, I have come to terms with this element of my personality and recognize that it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with me.
  21. I can day-drink or I can party at night.  My body is not capable of doing both in one day.
  22. Some people are motivated by fear with an “I’ll show them!” mentality.  I, however, am motivated by praise.  At work, for example, if I am told I did a good job on a project, I will strive to replicate the performance for further recognition.  Conversely, while I appreciate constructive criticism, being shamed or terrified by a “Devil Wears Prada”-type boss just makes me want to crawl into bed with an “oh well, I’ll never be good enough attitude.” 
    29 by 29 - 2
  23. I am a much happier person when all my emails can be viewed in one window without scrolling.
  24. When throwing a party, don’t make all the food yourself.  It’s always best to have a mix of homemade and store-bought.  Cook enough to make it personal, but take some help from the store so you won’t be stressed or stuck in the kitchen preceeding/during the party.  Also, putting something store-bought on a fancy platter makes a world of difference.
  25. When to say no.  I’ve figured out when I’ve been burning the candle at both ends and need a break.  I now know when to say “no” to a party or event – FOMO be damned!
  26. Always have at least one bottle of wine lying around.  You’ll be so happy you have it when you’re running to a party and realize you forgot to buy a hostess gift.  You’ll also be happy you have it if you get an impromptu visitor and want to celebrate something.  Or after a bad day of work.  It doesn’t require any sort of mixer.  Just open and drink.
  27. A lot of people say “relationships are hard work,” but I just don’t think that’s true.  I’m not saying you won’t argue, but I think healthy relationships seem to flow naturally, easily.  Emotionally, you should be at the same place at the same time.  If you spend most of your time upset and bickering or “working” on your relationship, it might be time to call it quits.  And remember, just because someone is perfect on paper and you want to want them…doesn’t mean it’s right.
  28. It’s good to disconnect.  Albert instituted a “no phones at the table” policy by which I happily abide.  We can all survive an hour or two without our phones and it’s important to take time to connect on personal level over a meal.  Even if you’re not sharing supper with anyone, I suggest putting your phone on silent and sticking it in another room for an hour every day.
  29. A morning routine starts my day right.  Now that Albert moved in, it has become necessary to have a real routine if we both want to be able to use the bathroom and get out the door in time.  I’ve become a nighttime showerer, which freed up my mornings a bit.  I now have time to actually do my hair, eat breakfast, and leave even earlier than I did before.  Having this real routine puts me in a much better mood when I’m starting the day.  Another thing that’s always been part of my morning routine?  Making the bed.  It started as a rigid rule from my Mom growing up, but now I can’t function without completing this step.  It makes the whole room feel cleaner and it feels so much better crawling into a made bed at the end of the day.