Skip To Content

    I Recently Turned 30 Years Old — Here Are 15 Life Lessons I Wish I Learned Sooner

    There's only one of you in the entire world. Understand that you're unique just as you are and embrace it.

    Hi, I'm Morgan! And I recently turned 30 years old.

    Now that I'm older and wiser (LOL), I've done a lot of reflecting on where I'm at in my life and how I got here. So, I thought it'd be fun to share some life lessons I wish I'd learned sooner:

    1. There's no point comparing your body to other people's.

    There will always be someone else who's thinner, thicker, has prettier hair, has smoother skin, etc. I spent way too many hours of my youth wishing this or that were different. When I look back on it, all that angst was just a waste of time and energy.

    Nowadays, I try to focus on gratitude when I think about my body. This is the vessel through which I get to experience life! The body that allows me to hike with my dog, go dancing with my boyfriend, type away at my writing projects, and everything I else I enjoy. You only get one body, so you might as well be kind to it.

    Different women modeling underwear

    2. And don't bother comparing yourself to others in general.

    As the saying goes, "Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple." Maybe your friends have successful careers, fancy cars, or big houses. And sure, they might have worked hard and made sacrifices to get there. But did their parents pay their college tuition? Did they inherit a ton of money? Did they live at home rent-free until they saved up a downpayment? There are so many people who are afforded all kinds of advantages, some that you might not be aware of. So, don't worry that you're falling behind when you look at them. Only measure yourself against previous versions of you. Have you made progress toward your goals since last year? Are you a better, kinder person than you were five years ago? That's what matters.

    Of course, that's super hard to remember in the moment! I was pretty bummed to turn 30 and not be a published author like I always dreamed I'd be at this age. But I recently found a writing group that really motivates me, and I've already written way more than last year! So, maybe I'll be published at 32 or 33 instead (fingers crossed), and that'll be just as awesome.

    3. Don't be afraid to go against the grain.

    When I was younger, I figured I'd get married and have kids someday since that was pretty much the norm for people around me. But I eventually realized that I don't actually want to have kids, so I found a partner who's also intentionally childfree. And even though we've been together for seven years and are committed to each other, I'm still unsure if I ever want to be legally married. We got "rave-married" at a music festival, and for now, that's enough for me. 

    Of course, I still get calls from my mom asking for grandkids and encouragement from family members to get officially married. But it's my life, so I'm gonna do what makes me happy!

    The author and her boyfriend getting "rave-married"

    4. Get in the habit of saving money when you can.

    Like many others, I grew up without any knowledge of personal finance. In my mid-20s, I stumbled on some money-related content on YouTube and Reddit, and my mind was blown. I learned all about building an emergency fund, saving for retirement, and all the other stuff they should have taught us in school.

    These are tough times, and not everyone has money leftover to save at the end of the month. But even if you start off super small, it really does add up over the years, especially if you can increase your savings with pay raises.

    I'll be honest: They say you're supposed to have one year's salary in retirement funds once you hit 30, and I don't have anywhere close to that! I so wish I would've started earlier, but all I can do now is keep it up.

    5. Take care of your teeth.

    Floss! Every! Day! Or at least as often as you can remember. And if you wear a retainer, don't be lazy like I was and have to pay to straighten your teeth all over again. 🙃 I've spent THOUSANDS at the dentist (not even including the dental insurance I pay for). Don't be like me.

    A woman at the beach smiling

    6. Don't settle when it comes to finding the right partner.

    Choosing a significant other (if you want one!) is SUCH an important decision because it affects nearly every aspect of your life. Before I met my boyfriend, I literally wrote out a list of everything I wanted in my next partner (always treats me with respect, makes me laugh, speaks to me with kindness, etc.). I told myself I wouldn't entertain the thought of dating anyone if they didn't check off every single item, and I stuck to that.

    There are TONS of people out there, so if someone doesn't treat you well, has grown apart from you over time, or just isn't compatible with you, don't be afraid to value yourself enough to move on and find someone who's a better fit. Everyone's situation is different, but your partner should make your life better, not worse.

    7. Try things outside of your comfort zone.

    Last year, we moved across the country by ourselves! Without any family or friends in the whole state! It's been an amazing adventure, and I'm so grateful for all the nature, food, music, and experiences here. Since I work from home, I will say it's harder to make friends. But I randomly decided to meet some gals from a Facebook group at a Harry Potter trivia event — in my wizard robe, of course — and I had so much fun! I'm definitely planning to attend more meet-ups next month. It can be a bit scary to try new things, but I've found it's definitely worth it.

    Since I miss my family and friends so much, we'll likely move back to our home state in a couple years. But until then, I'm happy to enjoy this chapter of my life and all it offers.

    The author and her boyfriend on a boat

    8. Love yourself like you love your best friends.

    When I think of my friends, I want the world for them. They're beautiful and creative and smart, and I have so much love and admiration for them.

    But I've found that many people don't offer themselves that same treatment in their adolescence and 20s. I know my internal monologue was nothing like how I viewed/spoke to my friends until I made an effort to change it.

    9. Make time for what brings you joy.

    Depending on what stage of life you're in, this can be tough. But many of us already dedicate eight hours per day to work and eight hours to sleep. With the remaining eight hours, we've got to squeeze in chores, errands, cooking, and everything else. It's really easy to let life slip by if you're not careful. Dedicating time to your family, friends, and the hobbies/interests that bring you happiness — those are the moments where you'll make memories you look back on.

    A group of friends smiling and laughing

    10. Embrace what makes you unique.

    Growing up, I spent so much time and energy on little things like straightening my hair, just because straight hair was the thing back then. But how boring would this world be if you looked around and only saw straightened hair?!

    There are tons of small things that make up each individual, and some of them might not be "the norm" or popular where you live. Maybe it's your interests, your activism, your style, your culture, or even your laugh. But these are all things that make you special. There's only one of you in the entire world! Understand that you're unique just as you are and embrace it.

    11. Wear ear plugs when you go to musical festivals or concerts.

    Unfortunately, I attended too many events without earplugs, and they play the music SO loud these days. Now, I think I have tinnitus (I hear a weird, high-pitched ringing sound every so often).

    So, I always throw a couple cheap earplugs into my backpack when I go to a music festival. I prefer the kinds with a little string so I can take them out without worrying about losing them, but there are tons of tiny ones that plop in your ears and aren't noticeable. I take enough to share with the group, and there always a few people who didn't think of it and are super grateful.

    The author and her boyfriend at a music festival

    12. Do your best to focus on the present rather than reliving the past or worrying about the future.

    For a while, my biggest goal was to buy a house to give my dog a backyard, and let me tell you, I became OBSESSED. I was constantly on Zillow, using mortgage calculators, and begging the universe for a real estate crash, especially considering these interest rates. But I just couldn't figure out how we could possibly do it in the near future, and I got so angsty and stressed out that it was all I could think about.

    So, I decided to put that dream on pause. Does it suck that it's so much harder for younger generations to become homeowners? Of course. But maybe 10 or 20 years down the line, the market/our incomes will look different, and I'll finally get a house. It breaks my heart that my dog might never have a backyard, but sometimes, all you can do is say c'est la vie and move on.

    13. Get comfortable doing things by yourself.

    There is something so FREEING about doing stuff on your own! Take yourself on a date to your favorite restaurant. Head to the beach with a good book. Go the movies and see that new film you're excited about. I cannot overstate how wonderful life is when you don't have to rely on others to have fun.

    A woman eating in a restaurant by herself

    14. Replace things before you run out.

    This is something small that many people may already do, but I definitely didn't learn it until I was older. Why wait until your laundry detergent or shampoo is completely out before replacing it? It turns into a mini-emergency every time you run out because you need it right that second. I felt like I became a real adult when I started telling Alexa to add things to the list when they started running low, and I perpetually kept necessities in stock.

    15. And finally, there's a quote I heard that I absolutely adore: "I am just energy having a human experience."

    This has been a game-changer for me! So much of life is little frustrations that mean nothing in the long run. Is that small annoyance or tiny inconvenience in my day an important part of my only human experience? No? Then, I should just let it go.

    And even for bigger issues, it helps me to repeat this quote to myself. Grief, anger, loss, and everything else are all part of the human experience. Going through it means you are here, alive, and a more positive experience is hopefully around the corner waiting for you.

    A woman smiling and looking up at the rain

    Any life lessons you wish you learned sooner? LMK in the comments below!