Turning the big 3-0 might be terrifying for some, especially when we’ve spent almost one and a half years stuck indoors due to the pandemic! As much as I’ve enjoyed planning and celebrating lockdown birthdays, nothing beats celebrating in person!
Nevertheless, I’m excited about this new year, and here are some things I’ve learned before turning 30:
1) You’re responsible for your happiness. It is not up to my husband, family, or friends to make me happy. Yes, I can count on them to be there through the good and bad times, but it’s not their responsibility to keep me happy. My happiness is also not dependent on material goods or temporary fixes.
2) Listen to your body. When your body is telling you to rest, please listen to it. If you feel overwhelmed, take a break. If you are in pain and experiencing discomfort, visit the doctor instead of self-medicating at home. Take care of your body!
3) Embrace emotions. Why is crying always seen as a sign of weakness? Why do we have to suppress it in front of others? I accept my emotional side and how crying is incredibly cathartic at times. It’s MY way of expressing feelings, and it’s better than not feeling anything at all.
4) Give without expecting anything in return. I’m not just talking about presents during birthdays or festive seasons, it’s about being selfless. Why do we need to wait for someone to return the favour? It leads to bitterness and jealousy. I have no intentions of letting that overwhelm me!
5) Friends will come and go. Ah, this is a bitter pill to swallow. It doesn’t matter how close you were once upon a time, people might drift apart. On the other hand, some people come into your life later on, and you can’t picture life without them.
6) If you fail once, it’s not the end. If you grew up in an Asian household, failure was never an option. I was terrified of getting bad grades when I was younger. I remember how heartbroken I was when I scored a few measly A’s for my SPM exam. I was so focused on that failure instead of making peace with it. Don’t let it eat you inside out.
7) Learn to say no. If you struggle with this, you have a bad case of people-pleasing. Set healthy boundaries with this. It’s ok if you’re not attending every event or helping out with everything. Trust me. Don’t let it reach the point till you’re jaded.
8) Trust your gut feeling. Even though it might not be accurate all the time, it’s an indication that something is amiss. As a girl living in Malaysia, I’ve had my fair share of scary incidents that I manage to ‘escape’ thanks to my gut feelings. If something feels off, don’t ignore it!
9) You’re never too old to stop learning. Whether you’re in your 20s, 50s, or even late 70s, no one can stop you from learning. A new skill, new language, new dance? Why not? I’m learning a different language and skillset now and I feel like I still have so much to learn! It’s never too late to start!
10) Some family traditions can be retired. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in filial piety but some of these traditions are only around because “everyone follows it”. I tend to question the illogical or sexist ones and if it doesn’t serve a purpose, out with it. Furthermore, I don’t see a harm in questioning these traditions. Perhaps questioning it will help to educate your family too!
11) Dress up for yourself and no one else. I dress up because I want to feel and look good, not for anyone else. Have you ever worn a great outfit out and someone will ask if you’re dressing up for a guy or girl? No, it’s for me. Or have people commented that you shouldn’t dress up a certain way just because of your size? Dress up anyways!
12) You’ll make mistakes. I used to find excuses for my mistakes – someone else, a computer error, something is faulty, etc. I thought that if I wiggled my way out of being responsible for a mistake, it would make me look like a better person. However, owning up to my mistakes has allowed me to grow into a better person instead.
13) Spend money on what brings you joy. What is wrong with treating yourself from time to time? I love treating myself to cute purchases on Shopee from time to time, it brings me joy! If you feel like you deserve a brand new bag, get it! If you want to spend on a 5-course meal, go ahead! It’s your money!
14) You won’t have all the answers. Let’s normalize this. It’s acceptable to say “I don’t know” and “Let me get back to you on this”. Why is it always frowned upon when you don’t have answers to things? You may not have everything mapped out and that’s ok!
15) Everyone achieves success in their own time. One of the dangers of spending too much on social media is that I’ll start comparing myself to others when they have achieved great success at a young age! Jealousy likes to rear its ugly head when I come across influencers, celebrities, small business owners, prize winners younger than me. I used to hate that feeling and today, I accept that things will happen in their own time. I’m not in a rush against time, and neither should you!
Stephanie Aeria is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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