Ten Lessons You Learn in Your 30’s
As most of you know, 2014 saw the release of my second book, I’ve Never Been to Vegas But My Luggage Has…which is essentially my life story.
As much as I love my first book, The Single Woman, (and I do love that book, with all my heart) #NeverBeenToVegas is and will always be particularly special to me. It is essentially my heart, my LIFE…poured out on pages for the world to see. And I never dreamed how big of an impact it would have on my life. Not just writing it…but editing it, recording the audio book for it, promoting it, and then ultimately, inspiring me to dream up a nationwide tour that found me crisscrossing the country and speaking in front of audiences and facing my biggest fears and finally, inevitably, coming face to face with the end of my long-suffering relationship with the main character from the book, who I let break my heart far more times than I care to admit.
This little book also helped me cross my biggest career goal and dream off of my Vision Board: To hit the New York Times Bestseller list. Yes, against all odds and expectations…more than six months after it was released and LONG after I felt like the book had failed by not realizing its full potential…it spent three weeks on the list. Meaning, of course, that I had to completely redefine my definition of “failure” and also learn to dream a little bigger.
So now, as we reach the end of the year that saw the release of the book that changed my life so much (and hopefully changed a few of yours, as well)…I wanted to share a few of the most important lessons writing the book and reflecting on my life as a 30-something taught me. If your 20’s are for making great, big mistakes…your 30’s are for learning the great big lessons birthed from those mistakes. This is what writing my life story taught me. I urge all of you at some point in your life to sit down and write out your life story, no matter what age you are. Even if no one ever sees it but you. Seeing how the pieces of the puzzle of your life connect by writing it all down is a beautiful thing, a priceless thing.
So here they are. The top ten things I’ve learned in my 30’s (so far)…
10) When a door closes, knock on it a few times. But if it still doesn’t open, let it stay closed. In career, in love, in LIFE – when you see the period at the end of the sentence, don’t try and turn it into a comma. Know when something is over and move on.
9) It’s only in surrendering your biggest dreams to God that you make room for them to come true.
8) Grace gives people second chances. Wisdom doesn’t give them third, fourth, and fifth chances.
7) Failure is almost always the prelude to something bigger and better.
6) When God gives you a vision, when He lays something on your heart…see it through. Sometimes following Him looks really, really crazy to everyone else but when you step out on faith, He will never fail to meet you there.
5) It’s not always as easy as “When you’re ready for love, it will arrive” or “Stop looking and love will find you” or “Love yourself and love will follow!” Finding love can’t be dwindled down to a tired cliché that’s designed to make us feel like we’re not doing enough or that we have to earn love. Love can’t be earned. Two people coming together at the same time in the same place on the same page is nothing short of miraculous, and all miracles take time and prayer and faith and a dash of luck. Maybe you’re doing everything absolutely right, and the timing is just wrong.
4) Break-ups are life shake-ups that can lead to really, really amazing growth, change, and self-discovery…if you stay open to the lessons they came to teach.
3) Love is more black and white than we like to tell ourselves. Don’t allow anyone to keep you trapped in the “promise” of the gray area. The bottom line is: If they love you, TRULY love you, they’ll do whatever it takes to be with you. There won’t be excuses or doubts or fears or hesitation. Love is ACTION. Everything else is just words.
2) Your weaknesses make you stronger, even when you can’t see it at the time. They teach you grace. They give you a platform to inspire other people in their struggles. They give you empathy and patience and courage. They eliminate pride and ego and self-reliance. And most of all, they keep you dependent on God…the source of all strength.
1) There are many ways to get to “HAPPY.” Ways that don’t require a white picket fence, 2.5 kids, or a minivan. The purpose of life isn’t so much about living Happily Ever After as it is just LIVING: boldly, wildly, bravely, unapologetically. Your life is your life and your path is your path and it’s unique and colorful and beautiful and purposeful…whether you walk it alone or accompanied.