The Best Life Changes I Made at Age 30. I did what I was “supposed” to do. I went to college, got a degree, and got a big girl job in the big city. Got married to a guy I dated throughout school, who had a high-paying profession, and got a mortgage. Checked all the things off the list.
You know what…. I wasn’t happy. I woke up every day and it felt like wash, rinse, repeat. I realized I had just been playing it safe. Did the things that everyone expects of you. But it wasn’t right, for me.
On my 30th birthday – I was also celebrating my dad’s 60th birthday. I grew up always giddy that I was born a day before him as his “birthday present” and now we were both celebrating milestones. Except, things quickly turned somber.
On the evening of his 60th birthday, he ended up being admitted to the hospital. In the prior couple of months, he had started showing signs of something being wrong, but no one knew what exactly was going on. A doctor said he was just depressed. He was sleeping all day and very forgetful all of a sudden. Now that he was in the hospital, instead of blowing out his candles, we were finding that many tests needed to be done, only to learn that he had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Cancer of the central nervous system. And it was progressed. He did not end up recovering. In fact, in 31 days’ time, he passed.
I was somewhat on autopilot at that point in time. I took a month away from my job, my home, and my marriage, and I came to stay with my mom, and help sort things out with my dad being gone. Watching my mom, as a young widow at only 53 years old…I realized how short life is. As much as we try, we cannot control the way the course is going to run. And I no longer wanted to live mine feeling unhappy, unfilled, and trapped. THAT I could change.
That same year, I left my marriage. I started over in my professional path, earned a certificate in spa management, and I became a spa manager. I walked away from security and a life that was safe, and a husband that earned 6 figures and provided a comfortable lifestyle. I was struggling to make ends meet and was living alone for the first time…but I was free!
Change is hard for many of us. We tend to stay in circumstances we’ve outgrown, for a little too long. We play it safe and don’t challenge ourselves in order to find what it is we really align with. And then one day someone’s gone…or your health is no longer something you can ignore. Or you realize you never pursued the passions you had within you and where did the time go?
The months after I started over on my own were a little scary. At times I thought “did I do the right thing”? That got squashed quickly when I rose to life’s challenges to handle what was thrown at me, and discover that I don’t NEED someone to rescue me or feel fulfilled. I could manage it on my own and be resourceful. And this paved the way for a strong, independent woman to blossom.
What Were the Best Life Changes You Made at Age 30?
And the biggest lesson to come from this self-discovery – was self-love. I learned to love myself enough to value what I needed. I learned that before I could love someone in a relationship, I had to truly love myself first and foremost. Self-love or the lack of it, is at the root of choices we make, the big life choices, how we feel in our relationships, careers, and in our own skin.