We all have stories to tell, and we all got here by some miracles and disasters. You would think that you have life figured out by turning 30. Still, there are so many more things to worry about than your 20s — you take on more responsibilities, you have bigger goals, you have less time (strangely), you feel overwhelmed (more often), life feels like a failure (sometimes), you are not where you want to be (yet), the pressure seems to exudes from all direction, age is just an (annoying) number, you’re not sure if this career/person/city was the right choice, comparing to someone you know — you could do better!
But the magic 30s is the most wonderful decade to be in life — you’re still young enough to create and old enough to do it with knowledge. You’re still strong enough to play your favourite sports and wise enough not to overdo things. You’re still hopeful enough to believe in the good and eager enough to go out and do it. You are brave enough to look at the truth and wise enough to know what to do with it. You can still care, and you can still love. What a wonderful decade to unbox parts of your true self. You are well on your way.
1. “I begin to speak only when I’m certain what I’ll say isn’t better left unsaid.”
We’re learning kindness and appreciation. We have mostly been hurt, and with a bit of self-inspection, we realise that hurt people hurt others. We try to change some bad habits, live better and share more.
2. “No person has the power to have everything they want, but it is in their power not to want what they don’t have, and to cheerfully put to good use what they do have.”
Unlike our 20s, where the world seems to be filled with endless opportunities and options, we are more aware of ourselves in our 30s. We know that we cannot be everywhere and do everything. Instead, we choose wisely how we invest our finances, efforts and time — into the things that we CAN have. And so we appreciate them more, our health is now more important, so is our mental health. We know our limits but also explore other options within our grasp!
3. “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
— Warren Buffett
All actions have consequences, some are good, and for some, you are still paying for. You may realise that it is really up to you, who you want to be, and how you can become that person. Either it is in business, in friendships or relationships — you are building yourself up to the person you want to become.
4. “Life is short, and truth works far and lives long: let us then speak the truth. “
— Arthur Schopenhauer
You yearn for authenticity and individuality. You admire the brave and the courageous. You want to become it yourself. There are layers within you now wanting to be peeled off. You want to see more clearly and to be seen more clearly.
5. “You’re not defined by your past; you’re prepared by it. You’re stronger, more experienced, and you have greater confidence.”
— Joel Osteen
Remember this when life drags you down, as it sometimes does. You have moved on, and you have grown. Remember that.
6. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘“What are you doing for others?”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Aiming for a higher good. Giving yourself to serve a purpose. Opening up your potentials to be used towards greater things. You think of God and his followers, and you wonder if you’re one of them. And you strive for grace. The romantic definition does not limit the word Love now in you. You love the air. You love the sunshine. You love the rain. You love flowers. And you have to act it out — you pass on that love to others.
7. Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.
— Maya Angelou
You have learned to keep your wits about you. You can manage. You can get through things. Sometimes it is easy, and sometimes it is not. But your cruise on. And you should be so proud of that.
8. You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching.
— William W. Purkey
No, truly. Get up and move.
9. “The big lesson in life, baby, is never be scared of anyone or anything.”
– Frank Sinatra
Let success come and go. Let failures fall before your feet. Let them criticise. Let them laugh. Let them judge. They don’t get to decide who you are or what you do. You do. You decide what you are gonna do about it.
10. “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
— Marcus Aurelius
Slow down. Take a breath. Just be here. This is your privilege, don’t forget it. You won’t have it forever, so treasure is now in its abundance.
11. “Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.”
Learn to take care of the right things and people. Remember, when you appreciate them, they last longer.
12. Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
— Henry David Thoreau
And learn to let go. Learn to give space, take a step back, and zoom out. You focus on improving yourself, and you won’t even notice the happiness you seek is lying in your hand. Do not chase after happiness; become it.
13. “In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.”
— Anne Frank
You have experienced unconditional kindness at some point, and it softened you. It was a seed of compassion, and you might want to nurture it.
14. “I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.”
— John Stuart Mill
The only control we can exercise is upon ourselves. Fighting a desire to sleep into work on your dream project. Not eating that ice-cream because you are watching your weight. Going to the gym though you don’t feel like it. We learn to do the right thing, even though sometimes we don’t feel like it.
15. “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life — think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.”
— Swami Vivekananda
Have an aim. Have a dream. Work on something. Build something. Something that gives you joy, and you’re so excited about realising that you cannot sleep. Something that radiates from your own being. Find it. Whatever it takes, find your thing.
16. “If you’re not stubborn, you’ll give up on experiments too soon. And if you’re not flexible, you’ll pound your head against the wall, and you won’t see a different solution to a problem you’re trying to solve.”
— Jeff Bezos
Do it smartly. Do it with grace and eyes open. Learn continuously.
17. The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why.
— Mark Twain
We are here to learn—a lot of lessons and a lot of experience. But the ultimate question is, what are we going to do with that? In what use will we put ourselves? What difference will we make? How do we matter? For your own sake, find that out.
18. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
— Dr Seuss
A little reminder that we are all soft babies inside, and we hold onto regrets much longer than we should. You have feet in your shoes, and you can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
19.“When pain, misery, or anger happen, it is time to look within you, not around you.”
We learn to stop blaming others for our feelings and to take better care of ourselves. We limit things that don’t do us good and focus on building a better base for our emotions. When we can work effectively with our feelings, they stop being scary, and we don’t feel the need to run away from them. We embrace it instead. We even embrace the parts that we don’t yet understand about ourselves. And that is ok. That is very ok.
20. “Rich or Poor, educated or uneducated, belonging to one nation or another, to one religion or another, adhering to this ideology or that, ultimately each of us is just a human being like everyone else. We all desire happiness and do not want suffering.”
— Dalai Lama
You judge people much better. And you are more gentle with each’s sore spots. You don’t want to hurt or hold grudges. You understand others more easily.
21. “I’m so proud of you that it makes me proud of me. I hope you know that.”
― John Green
Build others up. Celebrate others’ success as if your own. Wish someone good luck and truly mean it. See others as your brothers. Your step up would be even sweeter.
22. “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
Keep moving. Even slowly, even in pain, even lost faith and desperate to stop. Cry. Scream. Curse the unfair affair that is your life. Break down. Bored. Feel like giving up. Do it slowly, and in a small dose; it doesn’t matter how small. You’ll be proud of yourself later. So proud.
23. “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
— Nelson Mandela
You are not where you want to be. So what? You have your own journey, and you are the only one who can enjoy it and learn from it.
24. “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”
— Mother Teresa
Kindness in this world is not that rare. You will meet a lot of it when you have it. It is in an encouraging smile, a sincere thank, a hand-squeezed on your shoulder when you’re down. You will see it everywhere once you become it.
25. “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”
— Charlie Chaplin
Never forget your smile. Count on it. Find an excuse to have it. Hang onto your humour like your life depends on it because it does.
26. “Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning, and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.”
— Charles Bukowski
Some days are better than others, and some are worse. Our ability to move on despite how we feel about it would bring us places. Beautiful places.
27. “All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.”
Say you’re sorry for what you have broken. And take steps to fix it. If you are wrong, you don’t get to be angry. If you’re right, there’s no need to be angry.
28. “You wear your honor like a suit of armor… You think it keeps you safe, but all it does is weigh you down and make it hard for you to move.”
― George R.R. Martin
Choose flexibility. Choose movement. Choose lightness instead of pressure. Choose your battle. Choose your poison. Choose your timing.
29. “A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.”
– Dave Meurer
Tolerating others seems impossible if we don’t feel right within ourselves when we put up walls instead of breaking them down. When we hurt because we are hurt, when we cannot accept people for who they are, we are missing much important information they are trying to tell us.
30. In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change.
— Thich Nhat Hanh
Making ourselves understood is a lifelong mission for some and a struggle for others. When we meet each other in the middle, put down our egos and set aside our black and white thinking, we can see the other people more clearly. And most of the time, what they truly want from us doesn’t differ much from what we truly want from them.
31. “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
— Robert Louis Stevenson
How do we judge our success? What is our definition of a day well lived? Can we see beyond what is in front of us and see the fruition of what we are doing today? Are they good seeds?
32. “Before I leave the house, I say five things I love about myself, like ‘You have really pretty eyes.’ That way I can go out into the world with that little bit of extra confidence.”
— Jennifer Love Hewitt
You have great hair. You have an amazing smile. Your handshake is so nice. That shirt looks good on you. I cannot wait to see you again. Thank you. Please. This food tastes divine. You really cheer me up. I’m so glad meeting you. Thanks for listening.
Do it. Spread that confidence to others, too.
33. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
— Vivian Greene
A positive attitude means knowing that this setback won’t last forever, so does this win. It is making the best out of what is thrown at us. Lemon or lemonade, you choose!
34. To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
— Lewis B. Smedes
Hanging onto our righteousness sometimes is very costly. To forgive is to accept faulty settings within us and within others — we all have it to a different degree. To forgive is to let yourself off the hook for others’ and your own mistakes. That was part of a deal being human because carrying all that luggage is not getting us far.
35. “Don’t explain your philosophy. Embody it.”
Lessons are to be applied, not to be remembered. Theory without practice is useless. Whatever you know, put it into use. Make it work for you.
36. “You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”
— Walter Hagen
The impermanent nature of things is scary; change at a time doesn’t feel like a desirable outcome. But what matters is how we make the best of what we have now, and for a brief moment — it was good.
37. “Resolutely train yourself to attain peace.”
If we want peace out there, we need to have peace in here. It is a place within ourselves that we need to learn how to access.
38. Sing the song that only you can sing, write the book that only you can write, build the product that only you can build… live the life that only you can live.
— Naval Ravikant
We want the success others have, and we compare our achievements. Based on the acceptable standards that our parents and peers set for themselves. But we don’t want to miss our uniqueness. We want to bring something of ours into this world — something only we can do, only we can give, and the world is a slightly better place because of that.
39. “If it is not right, do not do it; if it is not true, do not say it.”
— Marcus Aurelius
Bring your light into this world, light it up and watch it bloom.
It is not by chance or accident that we are landing exactly where we are right now. Take a moment to celebrate our age and our achievements, albeit the silent ones. We are all work in progress, and sometimes we need a pat on our back saying: “You’re alright.”
Previously published on medium
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