Turning Thirty: 30 Powerful Lessons From 30 Years

Last Updated on: September 18, 2023

I just turned 30 years old.

So far, I feel like nothing has changed, but at the same time, it seems that so many things are not the same.

If I could go back to 10 years ago, I don’t know if my 20-year-old self would even recognize me.

I know that many of my expectations were not met, but I believe that I am in a much better position now than I would have ever imagined.

Entering our 30s is one of the most significant checkpoints for many millennials because we think we should have done many things or achieved most of our goals by this time. Well, at least that was what’s portrayed in social media.

But now realize that some things would take a little more time, so I am no longer too stressed about not getting everything that I wanted as fast as possible.

Here are 30 lessons I learned from my 30 years.

On Life Outlook

Man Sitting On The Mountain Edge Thinking About Turning 30 Years Old
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1. Have a Personal Relationship with God

The most important lesson I learned in my lifetime is to have a personal relationship with God.

Having the assurance of salvation and forgiveness of my sins made all the difference in my outlook on life. I no longer look at the temporary things but at the eternal things.

I know that there is more to life than what meets the eye, so sharing the Love of God is one of my goals.

I also realized that God has a plan for me, and I have to put my faith in Him that everything will eventually fall into place.

2. Establish Your Values

We may not acquire many of the material possessions we dreamed of before 30, but our values are abstract and more attainable.

Our values system will be the foundation of how we handle our life decisions, and if we are unable to build it by this age, there is a chance that other people’s values will easily sway us to theirs.

As a Christian, I hope and pray that I can imitate the values of Christ.

3. Know Your Why

If you know Simon Sinek, then you probably also know the concept of “knowing your ‘why.’

Knowing your ‘why’ is understanding the reason behind the things that we do. Simply put, it is finding our purpose.

Our whys are also anchored in the values that we hold. So, almost everything we do is, in some ways, interconnected.

4. Learn How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable

There are times when the values that we hold will be challenged by other people’s values.

When that happens, it is common for disagreements to occur. That is when you may need to stand your ground.

But it is also crucial to know which subjects are not as vital that you will be willing to compromise.

These moments can also be the best chance to show tolerance regarding opposing views and respect for individual differences.

5. Learn To Be Patient

In a world that has become increasingly accustomed to instant and immediate gratification, patience has become less and less valued.

Patience is one of the characteristics repeated in the Bible, which everyone needs to emulate.

Though I am still not as patient as I wanted to be, and there are still topics that can trigger me, I have improved a lot since graduating from college.

6. Establish A Growth Mindset

People with a growth mindset believe that talents and abilities are not set in stone. We believe that through practice, discipline, and help from others, we can significantly improve.

The growth mindset is one of the most important lessons I learned because it keeps me from becoming complacent and stopping learning.

7. Learn Not To Take Everything Personally

Taking everything personally is one of the most toxic traits that I often encountered since I started working.

I’ve encountered multiple times when I ask questions or give constructive criticisms that people think are personally attacked.

We need to learn to separate ourselves from our ideas and develop a growth mindset.

Only then, when we finally realize that not everything is about us, that we start to grow.

8. Be Less Resistant With Change

Change will always happen whether we like it or not.

That’s why we need to be prepared when something disrupts the status quo.

We need to learn to adapt to the ever-changing social dynamics without sacrificing our deeply-held values.

Since coming into the government service, I often notice that many older, tenured people are so deep in the “ganito na talaga dito kahit dati pa” mindset that they miss out on many system improvements suggested by younger people.

9. Happiness Is Not The Goal. It Is A By-product.

“Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product of a life well-lived. -Eleonor Roosevelt

This quote is significant for me because it made me realize that happiness is fleeting. 

How often have we said that I would be happy if I had this or do that, only to fall short every time and feel bad about ourselves?

It may work for some time before it eventually wears out. So I realized that we should find joy instead of happiness.

Joy is more than just being happy all the time. It is a lifestyle that even when we are experiencing challenges or negative emotions, we can always be assured that it will eventually pass.

The Bible often talks about the joy that only God can give.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3

10. Always Count Your Blessings

We need to understand that God blesses us with so many things throughout the day – we are just so focused on the things which have gone wrong.

We are constantly surrounded by blessings, from waking up in the morning, eating our favorite meal, or simply having a job.

We have to look a little closer and acknowledge that our life is not as bad as it sometimes feels. Perspective changes everything.

11. Don’t Force Love.

When I was younger, I thought that I would be married by 25 (HAHAHA)! However, after turning 25, I realized that it wouldn’t happen and that it was okay.

Just like what Phil Collins said, “You can’t hurry love… You’ll just have to wait.” However, waiting should be active.

Don’t get pressured to get married and have children before 30. We have seen this too many times from couples (and ex-couples) who just got pressured to get married, which did not end well.

Being single is the best time to develop ourselves for the better.

On Lifestyle

Man Wearing Black Leather Jacket Holding Smartphone
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12. Establish a Daily Routine

Routines are good because they help us minimize our daily decisions and conserve our mental energy for the day. They also make way for more meaningful use of our time.

Daily routines are habits that allow us to do regular tasks on autopilot.

When I was working on a shifting schedule, I had a more challenging time building daily routines.

However, when I transferred to the academe and started on a regular shift, routines became easier to maintain.

13. Read More, Write More.

I started the habit of reading when I was 24 years old. That was only almost six years ago.

In that short period, I read more books than all my years of formal education combined.

Reading has also become a necessity rather than a hobby. It keeps me updated, open to newer ideas, more connected, and well-informed.

When I started reading more, it was only a matter of time before I started writing.

Writing became more than just a hobby. It also served as an escape and a way to transfer some of my loudest thoughts into paper.

I also found writing through this blog to communicate my experiences to others experiencing what I also experienced.

14. Exercise Often

A healthy body is a healthy mind. We cannot take care of ourselves if we neglect our bodies.

Exercising also offers more benefits than just being physically healthy. It also boosts our moods (emotional), keeps our waistline slim (economical), and can also be a form of meditation (mental).

15. Learn To Cook

Cooking is one of the essential adulting skills I learned in the past decade.

If it weren’t for my time in Metro Manila, away from my parents and because of a particular co-worker, I would never have tried cooking.

Through cooking, I became more in control of the food that I ate. It is also more cost-efficient than buying cooked food, and most importantly, it is fun to cook for yourself and others.

16. Explore Other Places

Traveling doesn’t always have to be expensive. It is the joy of exploring unknown places that give the excitement of going to other locations.

It also widens our horizon of cultural differences to which we are accustomed. We can try authentic foods, talk with the locals, and see the beauty their town or city offers.

17. Try A New Hobby

As I wrote in my previous posts, I tried many things during my journey through quarter-life crisis. I wanted to do something new to incorporate into my life.

I tried running, reading, writing, cooking, volunteering, teaching, and many more. Many things that I do now result from my quest to try out new hobbies, which sparked my interest.

It doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby. Sometimes, all you need is a pen and paper to explore your dormant talents.

18. Limit Your Screen Time

Our cell phones, tablets, and laptops have become a significant part of our daily digital life. We can almost no longer live without them.

However, we need to know our limits. There are countless studies regarding the adverse effects of social media on our mental health.

Knowing that I understood that I needed more time away from my phone and to be more observant of my surroundings.

On Finances

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19. Learn How To Budget

Budgeting tells you where your money will go and not ask, “Where did my money go” ever again.

I started my first budget months before earning my first salary, so I ensured that the pay that I’ll take is enough to sustain my needs while I am in Metro Manila.

Without a budget, it is almost impossible to attain financial freedom.

20. Build Your Emergency Fund Fast

An emergency fund is an amount that you save to meet unexpected expenses in the future. It is usually three to six months of your monthly expenses.

When I resigned from my corporate work, I was unemployed for almost six months. 

On top of my everyday expenses, I also enrolled in a Teacher Training Course before taking the Licensure Examination for Teachers.

Using my emergency fund, I survived that period of unemployment without asking others for a loan or help from my parents.

21. Buy a Life Insurance

Life is uncertain. We never know when we will meet our Maker. 

Though I know where I am going, it is still vital to provide for those we might leave behind.

Especially for family men and women and breadwinners, life insurance is more crucial. It is like buying the peace of mind to ensure that your family will have to be financially cared for during the time or recovering emotionally after an untimely demise.

22. Track Your Spending Habits

Tracking where your money goes is as important as creating your budget.

It determines which monthly expenses to remove to adjust your monthly expenses to live below your means.

Since 2015, I have tracked almost all of the income and expenses that I had. It was hard at the start, but it eventually became more effortless and nearly routine.

23. Learn How The Difference Between Wants and Needs

Knowing the difference between your wants and needs is a way to prioritize your expenses.

Your needs are the things that you and your family literally cannot live without, such as food, clothing, and shelter. The wants are everything else.

Knowing this basic principle will save you a lot in the long run, especially in times of great uncertainty, like in this COVID-19 pandemic that we are currently experiencing.

24. Learn How To Invest

Investing is a way to make your money work for you. There are many investment vehicles, such as the Stock Market, FOREX, Cryptocurrency, PAG-IBIG MP2, Time Deposits, Bonds, Mutual Funds, UITFs, VULs, High-Yield Savings, Businesses, Real Estate, and so much more.

Don’t forget to do due diligence and make sure that you place your hard-earned money in legitimate investments.

It is also crucial that you already have your emergency fund intact and invest only the money you are willing to lose.

On Social and Professional Life

Selective Focus Photography Cement
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25. Volunteer

Time is the most crucial resource anyone can give. So volunteering your time is one of the best ways to give back.

Volunteering is also a way to check our privileges by helping a sector or community by imparting our time and resources.

There are so many volunteering opportunities; you just have to look. There are also different sectors which you can choose from.

Personally, I enjoyed volunteering in the education and children’s sector, which proved helpful in my transition to the academe.

26. Find Your Inner Social Group

Your inner social group is the people that you spend most of your time with. 

It may not necessarily be physically together, but it can also mean the people you communicate with most frequently.

My inner social groups are very special because they share the same values that I have, and they also have the guts to correct me whenever I do wrong.

27. Learn To Be Alone

I often think of myself as an extroverted introvert. I want to be with other people, but I also want to have sufficient time with myself.

I learned not to feel lonely while alone. I became confident in going to places and events even without any companion.

Some of the most memorable experiences that I had happened were because I walked alone.

28. Ask More Questions

Whenever we have questions, it is essential to ask them. So many people live their lives with so many questions but never had the guts to ask.

The fear of embarrassment or looking dumb is as dangerous as not knowing the answer. Being the dumbest person in the room can also be the most significant experience we can have.

Asking more questions can be a form of acknowledgment that we still have so many things to learn.

29. Always Check Your Ego

As Ryan Holiday said in his book, Ego is the enemy. Ego is roughly translated into pride or the arrogant feeling of self-importance.

The ego is very dangerous because it keeps us from learning from others. With Ego, we will always think that we know it all and that others are not as smart or as skilled as we are.

We need to constantly check ourselves, with others’ help, not to increase our pride.

We need to remain humble.

30. Take A Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

So many people give this advice. However, they usually expect others to make immediate and drastic changes that can be overwhelming.

You don’t have to leave everything that you built. Instead, just take one step away from your comfort zone and take a step towards changing for the better.

After a while, take another step, then another, until you are further away from what you’re accustomed to.

Final Thought:

Turning thirty is not as bad as it sounds. Though there are still so many things that I want to do, I give it one day at a time and trust God’s plans. Eventually, I know that things will get better, just like how it happened in the past.

I am now more excited about what will happen in my life in the next ten years.

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