As my friend Ana would say, welcome to the fourth floor! On March 5th I said hello to 40 and while I had been conflicted about entering this decade, today I can say it feels damn good. Age is just a feeling and personally I feel like a sweet young thang! While I was in Costa Rica I really got to thinking about my 30s and the whirlwind of that decade. The kick off to my 30s was rocky, but that helped toughen me up. I also learned a lot about myself and other people. 10 years filled with so much love, unforgettable experiences and endless laughter. I can only pray that the next 10 will be equally fulfilling. I thought, why not share with you some of the things I learned about life and love in my 30s. Perhaps you can relate?
Let’s kick things off where my 30s began: with a divorce and what I learned at that age is that I didn’t know my head from my ass and I had no business being married at 26. We simply weren’t ready for it. Know yourself. Marriage is a serious commitment, not a fad.
That being broke is okay. Holy crap, I was so broke in my early 30s! On the heels of a heartbreaking divorce that hurt a lot of people, we were audited by the IRS. Our accountant had screwed us over and what I learned from that experience was to never ever hand over your finances to someone else. Be accountable and read every document before signing, Even the fine print. It will save you money and lots of tears.
That life begins any time you want it to! I was single and broke, but I still booked that trip to Madrid and London, all on plastic, but it was just what I needed. Besides having the most unforgettable time, it taught me that sometimes, it’s okay to say: charge! “There are some things money can’t buy, for everything else, there’s MasterCard.”
Speaking of broke. I also moved into an apartment where my stove was 1 foot away from my bathroom and where I could see my toilet from my bed. It was all I could afford at the time, but it taught me that size didn’t matter. That a big apartment or home does not equal happiness. My little hole gave me more fulfillment and hope than any other place I had lived in.
That people who love to eat have so much more fun. Being on a diet sucks and I spent most of my 30s “watching what I eat”, which honestly, is so boring. I’m the happiest when I’m enjoying an amazing meal. I learned that I love food way too much! Kill me.
That gratitude is beautiful. I didn’t always express gratitude the way I should’ve and I’m not proud of that. You don’t have to always send a thank you card, but expressing gratitude over even the smallest thing that put a smile on your face is an unforgettable gesture. Don’t take the people that go above and beyond for you for granted.
That true love can smack you right in the face when you least expect it. Like, at a party in Miami, followed by lots of cocktails at a club. Who says romance is dead?
That you can get a second chance at love. In fact you can get several. Keeping an open heart and putting what you want out there in the universe is key. After my divorce a friend suggested that I handwrite a list of all of the qualities I was looking for in a man. At first I thought it was bit ridiculous, but I wrote it. I kept in my wallet and occasionally after a bad date I would read it and remind myself that I didn’t need to compromise. I knew my guy would come along. Thanks for the advice Emely!
That laughing is the best food for your soul. Having a husband that makes me laugh and is always happy has been the best therapy to that thing called life. Marry someone who makes you laugh and has a positive outlook. Also one that doesn’t mind sharing house chores. That’s a true partnership.
That intelligence is uber sexy. The older I get, the more I want to be surrounded by intelligent people. People who I can learn from and inspire me to raise my game are my fave.
Speaking of people who inspire you, I also learned that having mentors is so important. In my 30s I started to network and quickly identified a handful of women who always made time to give me advice about my career and life. They’ve been so generous with their time and supportive during key moments. I really look up to them; they’re my, “when I grow up I want to be like them.” It has also taught me the importance of one day returning the favor and changing someone’s life for the better.
That planning is great, but not always the most fun. In my 40s I need to work on being more spontaneous. (that impromptu trip to Costa Rica though!)
That I use the word like way too much. So, like, irritating! Who am I, Miley Cirus?
I learned to say no and not feel terrible about it. Okay, sometimes I feel bad, but wouldn’t you rather know ahead of time that I can’t make it to your party because I’m already committed to something else? And even if I think at the time that going from Manhattan to Queens to Brooklyn is doable in one afternoon, it’s just not. #justsayno
That I don’t need to apologize for asking for what I want. I can’t tell you how many times I left a salon feeling like I didn’t get the hair color I wanted and didn’t say a word. Or that friends thought I was crazy for waiting for that one person to make my salad at Hale & Hearty because she chopped and gave me the perfect amount of dressing. Or got a terrible coffee at Starbucks. You see where I’m going. Having soggy salad sucks and I don’t need to compromise. Thanks.
I’ve learned to celebrate people’s success. Nothing fills my heart with more joy than seeing those around me accomplish their dreams and do well.
Sadly, I also learned that jealousy is real and some people find it impossible to be happy for other people. It’s only a reflection of their life. Ignore and glow on.
That I have no time for negativity. At some point in our lives we have that person (sometimes a few of them), the naysayer, the one that puts doubt into everything, the one that’s paralyzed by fear and wants to paralyze you. Weed them out. Only positive vibes welcomed.
I’ve learned about the meaning of true friendship. Some people go a lifetime without a best friend, or even a good friend. Such people make me raise an eyebrow. So if you have a good friend make sure you always nurture that relationship. I’m not lucky to have a lot of friends, I’ve earned them all.
That in my 40s I will spend more time with friends who can put their phone down during a full meal.
That I LOVE having friends who give it to me straight. Hit me with their best loving shot, even when it hurts! Over time I’ve learned that hearing what you want to hear gets boring and counterproductive. My BFFs rock!
That I’m okay being the friend who will never tell you what you want to hear. I will give you the honest truth and some champagne to go with the it. I also promise to be there unconditionally.
That you can reinvent your career at any point. Thank you Fabulatina and Maybelline!
That I’m most productive and creative when I’m surrounded by a team. For two years I worked with the most creative and fun team. We never stopped laughing, even during the most stressful situations (Iced-T anyone? Inside joke). Wouldn’t change a thing about that time. Anne, Britt, David and Heather- thanks for the memories!
That traveling and experiencing different cultures will give you the best creative boost. It’s so easy to fall into a creative rut. Nothing gets my creative juices going than being on a beach and knocking down cocktails right after breakfast. Works for me!
That at this age the definition of a family doesn’t begin or end with having children. Rather, it can be something as simple as sharing your life with a partner and building a home together. Peter and I couldn’t feel more complete as a couple. Having a baby would be a bonus and an added blessing.
That moms have the hardest job! No question. I have the most devoted mom in the world, most giving, most dedicated. To say that her kids are her life is an understatement. I’m not sure how her heart is so big and there’s never a second when we can’t count on her love and support. She’s my wonderwoman! #mymomismyhero
That being bilingual is a freakin’ bonus! (Thanks mom and dad)
The being a blogger has changed my life for the better. Blogger babes that I love so much, thanks for giving me perspective.
That spirituality comes from unexpected places and that my faith gives me peace.
That family is important.
That health is everything.
And that I wouldn’t change a damn thing about my 30s!!