Your 20s are supposed to be the time of your life. You know the decade, where you are footloose and fancy free! And then in your 30s is that decade where you are developing your career, settling down and of course you begin to focus in on financialy preparing for retirement… The funny thing is.. I don't feel that my 20s were a time of being free. My 20s were spent devoted to my education and my career, buying a house, paying off a car, creating and adding to retirement funds and learning about relationships…. Wait- did I live part of my 30s in my 20s? By golly- my path is so not in line with anything society tells you to conform to. No wonder I am freaking out!
Yet- all of these things plus the many events that happened throughout the last decade have helped shape me into who I am as a person today. Here are a few of my most important lessons.
- I matter:
I wasn't put on this earth for no good reason! I have a purpose! I may not know what it is but I have one! I also am a human being with thoughts and feelings that are important and should be valued and respected by those around me. I am not selfish if I take care of myself before taking care of and helping others.
- Creating/maintaining boundaries is important.
By creating and maintaining boundaries I am able to gain trust in myself and take care of myself. I am able to have more control over my life and improve my well being. Learning about the importance of boundaries and seeing how they have made such a positive impact in my life makes the learning curve so worth it! I am glad to say I have been able to develop relationships with people that are mutually respectful, supportive and caring.
- Family/Friends will be there- if you let them.
Dark days happen. I have shut people out for years. Not being transparent, not asking for help when I have needed it- and carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders as I try to do this thing called life alone. It doesn't work like that. I was born into a family and have developed a community of friends that do care about me and I them. I have learned that all you have to do is ask- and people will be there. Shutting people out- has gotten me no where.
- Traveling changes your world view forever.
In 2010 a fire was lit. Sure, I have always enjoyed travel but for the first time I was able to leave the good ol' USA and travel to 9 countries. This experience changed my life forever. I believe that part of the reason I am here in Scotland is because I was able to get a taste of what the world is like beyond my boarders. I know what its like to be in the middle of nowhere and realize how amazing and magnificent the world really is. I know what its like to embrace another culture and learn about other languages, foods, music, art etc.Ive seen ruins, midevil churches, and buildings that are older than the country I grew up in- and although I have read about them it is seeing them with my own eyes that has totally enriched my understanding of history. I am forever changed and forever grateful.
- I can be passionate about my work, but I must have balance.
I love my work. I love the community of people that I serve. I love the faces of students when they have that "aha" moment- but work is not my everything. It is a passion, yes. I am thankful I work in a field I am passionate about and love being apart of. However, I need balance. I also love to cook, hike, explore and travel. I love to go to the cinema, listen to music, and meet up with friends. I can easily get sucked into work with no balance and every day I make it a priority to take little breaks to tap into the other areas of my life that I enjoy. Work/life balance is important.
One of my friends here in Scotland turned 29 recently and she was telling me how she made a list of not what she wants to do by the time she is 30, but moreso the type of person she wants to be. This made me think a lot over the course of the week about who I want to be and I can honestly and happily say that I believe I am entering my 30s being that person. Like my friend, I never made a bucket list of things to do before I hit 30- but I have spent a lot of time reflecting on life, my past, my future and my present. It has been through these reflections that I have been molding and shaping this person I am today. I am entering my 30s healthier that I ever have been in my life- mentally, physically, and emotionally. I think that is something to be proud of! I can't say I am thrilled to be 10 years shy of 40. But I can say I am excited to continue on my journey- its been quite an adventure so far. And heck, since I did all those responsible things in my 20s I might as well live my 30s up! Don't worry, guys.. I will still be responsible! I can say, however, that since moving here I have lightened up a bit and have been trying to live it up!
So heres to entering this new decade feeling a bit more free spirited and being willing to take a few more risks- I think I am up for a really exciting decade.