Thursday, October 1, 2015

30 Things I've Learned in 30 years

I turn 30 today. I feel kinda weird about it. I feel like I should be doing something huge, but I'm just having a quiet day with my family. Either way, it feels strange to enter an entirely new decade.

When I turned twenty, one of my friends gave me this card that said "Welcome to your twenties" and it felt exhilarating entering this new decade of independence and self-discovery, especially since I was living so far away from my parents. I met husband-ji only months later...

Now that I'm turning thirty, I'm relieved that my twenties are over. Although I met my life partner, there were so many ups and downs that he was the only thing that seemed stable to me.

In my twenties, I moved into my first apartment by myself; I had my first big relationship breakup (pre-husband-ji); I traveled alone; I studied something completely different than what I set out to do; I got engaged; we road-tripped Kerala; I graduated from college; I moved cities three times; I worked for one of the most famous fashion photographers in the world; I moved apartments six times; we experienced having no jobs and money; we traveled across the USA by car; we got our first dog together as a couple (Ziggy); I lost both of my beloved grandparents; we started our own business; I got married (in 3 different and equally dramatic ways); our first family dog died at sixteen years old; I inherited more South Indian family members than I ever imagined; we got pregnant and had Maya; I became a SAHM and back and forth to working again; I watched my daughter crawl, walk, talk, and sent her off to preschool; I was published in a magazine thrice; I innocently started a blog one day when I was bored which now pays me a small salary...

Are you exhausted yet? It has been a lot. I'm not sure what this decade has in store for me, but here's what I've learned so far, from a combination of all these random life experiences in my twenties:

1. Trust the timing of life.

2. If you really want to do something, nothing and nobody can hold you back.

3. You can't please everyone. Focus on pleasing yourself first.

4. Friends will come and go. Sometimes they weave in and out of your life, and pop up in unexpected places. 

5. Shit happens. As you make plans, God laughs. You can't plan everything. The entire world is not in your control.

6. Trying is not doing. Doing is doing. If somebody says they are trying to do something, in most cases they are thinking about it and not actually doing it. That goes for yourself, too.

7. The things that irritate you most is a direct reflection of yourself. Pay attention to that.

8. Don't worry so much. It's a waste of time and energy.

9. Sometimes the only solution is to LET IT GO. Anger poisons relationships, and it poisons yourself.

10. Invest in your self.

11. Self care is a wide spectrum that includes emotional, physical, and spiritual. Take care of all of them equally.

12. Travel. Keep planning your next trip.

13. Cuddle more.

14. While it's great to be connected to your spouse, have your own life and your own interests too. They don't have to understand it.

15. You can't change people.

16. Have a support system and don't be afraid to ask for help or let people know you're struggling.

17. Get as much sleep as possible. You can accomplish more if you're not tired or running on empty.

18. All your emotions show on your face.

19. You do not have to engage with toxic people, even if they are trying to engage with you.

20. Have fun. Have a sense of humor. You can joke about absolutely anything in good time.

21. Never stop learning new things, even if it seems totally random. Don't box yourself in. Be a multi-dimensional person with lots of different interests.

22. Read as much as possible, as often as you can.

23. Grief is something you just learn to live with. You won't and can't get over it, and that's okay.

24. You don't have to be highly functional every day. Take a friggin' break sometimes and chill.

25. There's nothing that a good long walk won't fix.

26. Respect your differences. Diversity is beautiful and there's no fun if we are all the same.

27. Quality time comes in many shapes and forms.

28. The best days of your life are spent with your family.

29. When people ask for advice, they already know the answer.

30. Don't ever forget your creativity. It's what sets you apart from the entire world. Nourish it, make time for it. It is important.


Dear readers, what did you learn in your twenties? 
Or what was the biggest thing you've learned in the past decade?



  1. Happy Birthday Alexandra!! I wish you all the best in the year ahead and many many good memories, the best of luck, of course a lot of love and all of the happiness! Have a wonderful day with your family today! Let them pamper you!! You are the queen today :)

    1. Thank you! :) Post coming tomorrow about the celebrations

  2. Happy birthday! I will print your list, it is really enlightening. Your life gives me hope that things can turn around and get better!

  3. Congratulations, and many happy returns, Alexandra ! That's a real good advice list. (Pad)

  4. Happy birthday Alexandra! And what a list! Love each one of the points.

  5. Happy Birthday Alexandra! I have major eyeliner envy ;)

    1. Thanks Shannon!
      It's Make Up For Ever liquid liner

  6. Happy Birthday Alexandra! You are Queen for today, enjoy it with your family. You have accomplished lots already.


  7. Happy Birthday! I hope you are spoiled rotten today as you enter the next decade of your life.

    Totally agree with #19.

    As for me, I learned that 'any situation can turn into an awesome experience as long as your approach it with a positive attitude and smile.' :) Also, stepping out of your comfort zone can create some bright and beautiful moments. [I learned this two when I moved Asia.]

  8. Happy birthday Alex!! Keep on writing as I really enjoy reading your blog and it's on my frequently read blog.

    I'm turning 30 soon and this post is really helpful especially the list that you included.

    Once again, Happy Birthday!!

  9. Happy Birthday Daughter-In-Law of Malkajgiri, May you have all the pleasant experiences of your 30 years in your 30th year.

    1. Ha ha ha...that has a nice ring to it :)
      Thank you for the wishes

  10. Many happy returns of the day Alex. Thirty has such an ominous ring to it. I remember when I turned thirty, I felt old and perhaps a bit more responsible. Once again many happy returns of the day.

    1. Me too! Ha ha! It feels so adult and responsible!
      Thank you :)

  11. Happy belated birthday, Alexandra.

    What I learned in my twenties was to not be as boxed in. For example, when I was in graduate school, I only took classes related to my field so I could earn as close to a 4.0 GPA as possible. I now wish I had said "what the heck?" and had taken that blood spatter analysis class. Live and learn.


    1. Me too! I wish I had taken that one abstract painting course!
      Thanks Raina :)


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