30 things I've learned in my 30 years

I celebrated my 30th birthday yesterday. It feels good to be 30. It feels especially good to be in a new decade, and one that isn’t shared with the memories, fun, and immaturity of my early-to-mid 20s.

I thought I’d share a list of 30 things I’ve learned in my 30 years.

1. It works out better when you take your time to make a big decision. Sometimes when things don’t happen immediately, there’s a good reason.

2. College was great, but there is a lot of life to live after college.

3. All those times I moved were just helping to broaden my circle of friends. And now I’m so very thankful to have friends all over the country.

4. A phone call with a far-away friend or with your parents can completely lift your spirits.

5. Being friendly, inclusive, and open-minded is always good. No one likes being the new girl, so helping someone not feel like the new girl will make her day. And you may even make a new friend.


6. When being asked to travel, always, always say yes.

7. When being asked to volunteer, really think it over and try to figure out if it will help or hurt your family.

8. Always remember that just because you think you know how to do it, someone else may have a better solution. This tid bit comes in really handy during motherhood.

9. Think really hard about the name you give your blog, if you choose to blog. You may not always want to write about wedding-related things.

10. When trying to make a decision, don’t ask the opinion of everyone you know. Instead, rely on a small group of people to offer trusted advice, and in the end, listen to what God is telling you to do.

11. We’re all working on different timelines. Some will get married years before others, some may have kids immediately, and some may choose to never have children. But don’t compare your life’s timeline to someone else’s and feel disappointed. God knows the plans He has for us all.

12. Learn how to balance your checkbook at an early age. And don’t get a credit card in college.

13. Kids are imaginative, hilarious, and they’re their own people. Dress them the way they want to dress, and let them have a few freedoms when they’re little. It’s fun to see their personalities come to life, and let them get their way when they feel passionately about something.

14. It’s exhausting (and expensive) to try to buy a new outfit for every occasion. Shop your closet.


15. Always travel with a small fan. It’s the perfect thing for white noise and hotels make it so hard to regulate your sleeping temperature.

16. Don’t make one of those lists entitled “My future husband must be/have/do…” There’s a very high probability that the love of your life and “the one” will be nothing like the imaginary man you created on paper.

17. Movie theater popcorn, Mexican food, and pizza don’t taste nearly as great without a Diet Coke.


18. Have dance parties in your house, and just let loose. It’s the perfect distraction during the “witching hour” when your babies are tiny and crying or when your toddler is so ready for Daddy to get home.

19. Be a good friend. Be trustworthy and keep your word. Be the kind of friend you want to have.

20. Don’t fool yourself into thinking your life is a romantic comedy. Perfection is boring. Enjoy the life you were blessed with and choose to be content. Your home may be messier and your cookies may be burned. Your wardrobe may not be as trendy and your car may be running on its last leg. It’s okay to stop comparing.

21. Being hospitable is really fun, and creating a beautiful home can be really fun. But cherishing your company and celebrating holidays with family is much more fun without the stress of having the perfect “welcome baskets.”


22. Tell your kids how much they’re loved, not how special they are. They’ll grow up knowing their parents adore them without feeling like they’re better than anyone else.

23. It’s okay not to do things the way you always thought you’d do them. You may take a different job or live in a different city. You may have kids at a young age or an older age than you always thought. You aren’t bound to your plan. You’re living God’s story and following His plan.

24. Life goes on. Try not to waste too much time worrying about little bumps in the road.

25. Watch old movies and don’t be afraid to admit that you never really liked Top Gun.

26. Allow yourself time to get sucked into mindless TV late at night. It may be a waste of time, but it’s nice to forget your responsibilities and to-do list for a while.


27. Reading is fun, and it’s the best conversation-starter.

28. When planning your wedding, if you want to have 12 bridesmaids, go ahead and have 12 bridesmaids. And if you don’t want to have any bridesmaids, that’s okay, too. It’s your day and you get to decide.

29. Find friends who love your children. You never know when you’ll have a middle-of-the-night emergency and you’ll need them to come to your rescue. (And love your friends’ kids, and offer to help!)

30. 30 is so much better than 20!


What would you add to this list?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Ann says

    LOVE this and love your generous spirit in sharing this list! Having just turned 28, SO many of these things really spoke to me- especially #s 11 and 23. Happy Birthday!!!

  2. says

    Great list. Reading posts like this make me so nostalgic. Especially loved the one where you encourage ladies to find families who love your children. I never realized how wonderful it is to watch other people love your children.
    A few things I’ve learned in the last decade I would add to my list.
    1. Make room for laughter. Every day. It really is the best medicine! (luckily I’m married to the funniest man I know, so this one is easy for me).
    2. Make time for recharging. Get a manicure, schedule a shopping trip with friends. Turn off the cell phone and just enjoy peace and quiet.
    3. Learn to cook. The meals don’t have to be fancy, but your husband, children, and bank account will thank you for it.
    4. Remember to forgive “just this once.” When your husband or child does something to annoy/stress you, tell yourself that “just this once” you’ll let it slide. Sure there are some major things that need to be addressed, but if you take each incidence as a “once” it’s amazing how little matters when you’ve had a chance to sleep on it.
    5. Be a tourist in your own life. Take pictures of everyday places and events. In 20 years you’ll enjoy pictures of the pantry of your college apartment than you will of a picture of the Eiffel Tower.
    6. Get in the picture. Hand the camera off and make sure to get in lots of pictures with your children and husband! You’ll be amazed how infrequently you show up in the family album.

    • says

      Love the idea of “be a tourist in your own life”!

      Also- happy (belated) birthday, Erin! I’ve never heard of where you spent your weekend, but I hope you had a great time!!

  3. says

    I wouldn’t add a single thing! I feel like these are the lessons I have learned big time not that I am mid-late 20s. And the blog name! Amen! I chose mine and now look at me….not wedding writing. I would love to change it but I feel like my “brand” is LA Bride. It would be tough to change this many years in. Plus I haven’t thought of another good one haha:)

  4. says

    I love this list. I am in my 20s but this makes me know there is SO much wonderful ahead. And I couldn’t agree more about some food not tasting as good without a Diet coke! 🙂

  5. says

    This is so great!!! I needed to read this today. 11, 12, 16, 17, 19, 24, 28 are just what I needed to see. I turned 30 this past June and I never thought I would still be the single girl in my group, renting a little house, working my dream job, waiting to find THE ONE!! I know God has my plan all made out and I just need to enjoy this time now because I’ll never get it back!!

  6. says

    You have such a way with words! You took the thoughts right out of my head. I’m turning 30 in a couple of months and my life isn’t the way I pictured it at this age but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think I’m finally content with life and enjoying living in the moment.

  7. CampDallas says

    Awww, I loved this! I am turning 30 in January, and I am actually really excited. I have always been an ‘old soul’…the early 20s college lifestyle never felt quite “me”. I mean, let’s not kid ourselves…I did enjoy many a beers on football Saturdays, but I felt like I was just buying time until I got to do what I really wanted. I always knew God wanted me to be a teacher, wife, and mother, and I feel blessed that my 20s brought me to those things, but I look forward to be in my ‘comfortable’ spot in my 30s…the time in life when life’s about having our babies and raising a family with the man I love.

  8. September says

    Great list!

    I recommend that everyone ban any and all music specifically produced for children. Your kids will get more listening to everything from Broadway show tunes to the Beatles than they ever will from endless loops of Laurie Berkner. And since it’s less annoying you’ll have music on more–bonus for everyone!

    It was a proud moment when my nine year old told me that Justin Bieber just wasn’t all that good and flipped her ipod back to Robert Plant.

  9. says

    Happy birthday!!! I wholeheartedly agree with your entire list- especially the lesson about timelines. Like you, I have struggled so much with having a plan in my head for when things should happen, etc. Great advice, my wise friend! xoxoxo

  10. kelly h says

    What an amazing list! Always so blessed by your sweet words and honesty! Happy belated birthday, praying your 30s bring even more joy to you and your family. Also, fully support the diet coke one! Nothing beats a fountain diet coke 🙂

  11. Mairs says

    I turned 30 on the 10th and also have two boys, 19 and 2 months! What a great list. Makes me want to take some time to reflect. Have a blessed year!

  12. Holly says

    As someone who is 27, married, and trying to get pregnant, and living much farther from my parents than I ever imagined, I especially needed to read 11 and 20. Thank you.

  13. says

    Hi Erin! I just found your blog and have to tell you hello, I love it, and wow, you really inspired me today!!! I absolutely loved this post. It’s so funny to me how God lines things up so perfectly…I’ve been going through a busy/exciting/rough/crazy time lately and someone I have never met posted something that truly spoke to my soul and was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you so much for that…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *