This debut blog post comes as the sun sets on the ragtag collection of years that will forever be known as my twenties.
This seems a good time to compile the most important life lessons that should make my thirties a comparative breeze.
I make no apologies for much of the below sounding slightly pensive or suspiciously like stating the bleeding obvious. At this age you’re entitled to be a bit reflective. And anyway, I have learned these lessons so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.
So without further ado, I present:
The 30 most important things I have learned before turning 30
1. Bill Hicks was (mostly) right when he compared life to a ride in an amusement park.
2. Never be afraid to be different, whether through some alternative lifestyle choice or simply not owning a television. The world was never made more interesting by those who just fell in line.
3. Yes, the hangovers do get worse with age. This does not necessarily mean you will do your best to avoid them.
4. Don’t try to be everyone’s friend. You cannot control how other people feel about you, and a few won’t like you regardless of how hard you try. Some people don’t like Bob Marley. Some people loved Thatcher. People are weird.
5. There will be times when you feel like you are just ‘getting away with it’. Don’t worry; this affects everyone at some stage. Some feel it constantly.
6. The longer you spend in the job/relationship/town you are unhappy in, the more it normalises that thrumming undertone of resentment. Don’t be afraid to shake things up.
7. I will never be good at taking my own advice.
8. Whatever the subject, it’s OK not to know or to not have an opinion – and you should never pretend to have knowledge you lack. At best, you’ll come across as slightly foolish. At worst, you’ll find yourself out of your depth when it’s too late.
9. Life does not need to be an endless succession of achievements. Sometimes you have to accept what you have, but… (see 11)
10. Stop seeking the perfect partner, they probably don’t exist in the way you want them to, but… (see 11)
11. …never just ‘settle’ for anything. Choosing a lifestyle/career/partner/etc because it makes you happy is not the same as doing so because you don’t want to put the effort into having what you want.
12. Time is valuable and finite. Enjoy it. Don’t waste it waiting for something to happen.
13. Life is too short to shave every day.
14. You don’t need to see your true friends that often, but these are the people you should make an effort for.
15. It’s not who you know or what you know, but how much you are willing to exploit these resources.
16. People with something to say speak quietly and less often.
18. Turning a hobby into a profession is not necessarily a one way road to happiness.
19. Relationships are never easy, but if you are shuffling along with the minimal effort then you’re on the right track.
20. Regret is poisonous…
21. …but learn from those mistakes. Spending the rest of your life wishing that you had done that one thing is different from knowing that, given the chance again, you wouldn’t hesitate.
22. A closed mind is empty.
23. Respect authority, but challenge and question anything you don’t believe in. Blind acceptance never started a revolution or earned a promotion.
24. The odd cigarette won’t kill you.
25. For different reasons and to different degrees, you will lose most of the people close to you. It doesn’t get easier.
26. Embrace your roots, but don’t be tied down by them.
27. Confidence can get you a hell of a long way. If you’ve got nothing else to back it up, you’ll soon be brought back down to earth.
28. At the same time: “shyness is nice, but shyness will stop you from doing all the things in life you’d like to.”
29. The cliché that we all become more right wing as we get older is nonsense. Your principles need not recede with your hairline.
30. Thirty isn’t nearly as old as it seemed when I turned 20.