20 Things to Know Before You're 30

Don't worry. They're worth knowing after 30, too.

September 18 marked a big milestone in my life.

3-0.

I can finally say goodbye to my twenties. I’m happy to say it’s been a good run. But if I’m completely honest, I feel a sense of grief coupled with excitement. I am sad for the years that have passed. They’ve gone by so fast. And I haven’t been able to slow them down.

But more, I’m filled with excitement. It has been an adventure, to be sure, and I’ve had the privilege of watching God at work in my life in so many ways. I’m excited to see what the next years hold.

There are many things I know at 30 that I didn’t know at 20.

I’ve had the chance to reflect on the past 10 years of my life, and I realized there are many things I know at 30 that I didn’t know at 20.

1. Time is limited, so invest it in things that matter. I remember the days of wasting my time away on meaningless things. Now that I’m older, I see that my time is valuable and limited.

2. Say no to one-way friendships. Not only is it important to use your time wisely, it’s crucial to spend it with people that care. So much of our time is wasted on superficial friendships and obligations. Invest in people who are worth investing in.

3. It doesn’t matter what people think of you, and you can’t please everyone. Often, your twenties are defined by living a roller coaster life, allowing the choices and decisions of others affect you rather than taking control of your own life. It’s sad to say that so many years are spent defining yourself by others, instead of for the sake of who God has called you to be.

4. Life is more expensive than you think it is. This life lesson isn’t fun. But it’s amazing how much $100 seems to a 20-year-old, and how little it seems to a 30-year-old. As you get older, you learn to really see the value of money and how to spend and use it wisely.

5. Being healthy matters. You realize you’re no longer invincible when the aches and pains begin to slowly creep into your life. And it only gets worse—or so I hear. Learn to appreciate your health, and to be more proactive about taking it seriously.

6. Joy can come from unexpected places. So many things that may have never seemed fun in my younger years have taken on a whole new meaning. As life gets more complicated, you learn to take more joy in the simple things.

7. You should value your parents. You will make the same mistakes as they did. The older you get, the more you realize your own flaws, and it helps you have grace for the flaws of others. We’ve all gotten to that moment where we realize that in so many ways we are just like our parents.

8. You’re not stuck. By God’s grace, you get to choose how you will live. You don’t have to repeat patterns, and you’re not paralyzed to a certain mold. 

9. Your decisions affect more people than just yourself. There’s a ripple effect, and it gets clearer with each passing year. When you’re young and single, this can sometimes be hard to see, but as you grow up, you cease to be on center stage and you see that life is all about the big picture, and you are a small but important piece in it.

10. Your words have a lot of power, so be careful what you say. From writing a blog post to saying a kind word, from a thoughtless comment to a negative remark, I’ve seen first hand how powerful words can be. They can build up and they can destroy. You learn to be more careful with how you use the words you have been given. They have the power to change lives.

11. Forgiveness is worth the hard work. More than ever, you see how much an unforgiving spirit impacts your life in a negative way, and how letting go has so much more to do with you than with others.

12. Success in life means so much more than what you thought it would. My definition of success has drastically changed for the better. My friendships, family and faith have taken on a whole new meaning within the definition of success. God has changed my heart over the years, and with it, what I define as my treasures.

13. Worry doesn’t really change your future. I wish I could have learned this way sooner, and wish I could prevent relapses. But by God’s grace, I want to continue to walk with more faith than fear.

14. There’s so much more to your identity than you ever imagined. Physical appearance is a small fraction of who you are. Hopefully this is something you learned early on, because as you learn to accept your body and your appearance you find there is so much freedom in that. And along those lines, gray hairs aren’t so bad after all. They’re actually kind of cute, once you get used to them. Well, we’ll see how we feel about that by 40.

15. You’ve made a lot of mistakes, and you will make many more. But you learn to forgive yourself and move on.

16. Life doesn’t always turn out how you expect. But it still turns out just right. I know so many things have not happened on my time frame nor in the way I expected them to. But looking back, God’s time frame was so much better than mine. I’m learning to trust that He is good and that He really knows best.

Life doesn’t always turn out how you expect. But it still turns out just right.


17. Those doors closed for a reason. I look back at the failures and disappointments in my life now, and I am so thankful for those closed doors and broken roads. God knew then what I know now. And I’m so glad He did.

18. God is bigger than you could have ever imagined. And I’m so thankful He is.

19. Wisdom is really a gift from God. And something that you have to ask for now just as much as ever.

20. There is still so much to learn. I have learned so much about myself over the past few years, and I’ve learned that there’s so much more to be learned. Like the old saying goes, the more you know, the more you know you don’t know.

Here’s to the next decade!  May it be blessed for you and me both. 

12 Comments

Jason

4

Jason commented…

Good article. Hard for a 20 something to understand. As you get older you really do magically "get it". In your 20's it's all about whats next. In your 30's life is right now. 40's is the result of your 20's & 30's, trying to identify miscalculations & set things right. Fear begins to become a issue. Your day to day becomes more & more about tomorrow. You all of a sudden seriously care about your future & if you have set things in motion to help your self. You start seeing your parents mistakes taking a toll on them. You want to make sure you don't make those same mistakes. It's a trip. Also, the point about aches & pains coming on from things that happened when you were younger...no joke. It's crazy. Take care of yourself. Stay healthy & fit. Try not to get hurt & when you do GO TO THE DOCTOR!. Also, please, please, please start paying into your retirement. There is never a good time or enough money, just do it! It shouldn't be a decision. Get a job with a 401k & without question pay as much as your company will match at a minimum. 10% would be even better. When you are 40 you will love yourself for that peace of mind.

Leeza Nechay

5

Leeza Nechay commented…

What a great article. Fantastic insight!

scoutnsavour

9

scoutnsavour commented…

Thumbs up to a great article :) I'm a 26-year old and while reading your article, found a personal analogy for each of the 20 points you listed. A good dose of reality but also hope and enthusiasm for the present and future.

Viv Mocellin

1

Viv Mocellin commented…

It would have been a great article if didn't have to recur to "God" for everything!

AdamAndrew

4

AdamAndrew commented…

I think I understand the meaning of value your parents on mistakes; but I don't think necessarily you will make the same mistakes. For many people there are lots of unhealthy things in their family of origin they do not need to repeat because they've done the work of healing beyond that unhealthy state. For others there's many things to learn from your family, then you take that and move into "Two-way" friendships that can help balance you & guide you into protecting good values and the life beyond your early adulthood.

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