What I learn about myself in 30 years +
If you look back over the past 10 years and you recap all your desires, lists, prayers, dreams on sheets of paper and whispered plans just for the heart to hear, what would they say about you?
This week I met an old friend, she was my first manager in the financial services industry. I haven’t seen her for almost 7 years. She decided to move to Brussels, but we kept in touch. Meeting her, I realized how much I changed since I met her 10 years ago. That's what I learned about life. Coincidentally, yesterday - I read again about quite an old article about Victoria Beckham. Vogue Magazine have challenged her to write a letter to the 18th years old Victoria, telling her everything she wanted to know about life in general and about things going on.
It's a great read that touches your soul. If you haven’t yet read it, you can read the whole article here. It starts with "Dear Victoria, I know you are struggling right now. You are not the prettiest, or the thinnest, or the best at dancing at the Laine Theatre Arts college. You have never properly fitted in." It ends, four pages later, with "Most days, you will look at your life and think, “Wow! I was never the one who was supposed to get all this.” I want to tell you that I still feel that way now.”
I hadn’t thought about 18 years old me when I started to write this post, but reading the article about Victoria, it brought back memories of my young self and it all felt like looking through the lens of an old camera. And I smiled because, like Victoria, I realized how long I had gone.
“Youth is precious, too bad it’s wasted!” someone told me once. So, that's what I've learned about myself over the past years after I've passed the threshold of 30, and especially after having enough life lessons, encounters, broken hearts, friendships, experiences, books, disappointments, discussions, and everything that shapes your soul in a lifetime.
My happiness means traveling.
Travelling is the feeling in the morning when I have my breakfast and I think about all the places I haven’t seen yet. When I was in my 20es, I used to think that if I can go in at least one trip per year, I would be happy. In 2017, I challenged myself to travel every month to a new place. Until now, it went pretty well. When I turned 30th I remember, how scared I was, everybody I knew was already married with children, but not me, no, no, no! I was lost in translation, moving every two years to a new country. My mom used to tell me “aren’t you tired already of moving and moving and moving again?” and my grandma was answering to her “let her be, she is your gypsy with her tend, going from one place to another, exploring new cultures”
At the end of the day, I can only see myself going places and that make me happy, to be able to travel where my heart goes, no matter if it is Singapore or a lost city in Romania without having to defend my choices to anybody, that's traveling for me.
Life is shorter than you think.
At age 18, life seems an infinite field. At 25, you begin to see some vague landmarks in the distance, milestones waiting for you, and from 30 onwards you can see exactly how long you've consumed and how long it is. And, suddenly, you realize you have exactly the time to do what you love, what does something mean to you. Nothing extra. You do not have time for ballast, for things made by others' hatred and against your soul.
If at the age of 20 you think you can walk through all the possible roads, after 30 you start making choices and make them treacherous, definite and irrevocable. You do not have time to live a life for all those who expect things from you. It really does not matter what people think, as long as you are honest with yourself.
And you know what? It's awkward, yes, because sometimes I want to stop being so direct, not to say all that I think, not to give a voice to all the things that seem to me unjust. But I just cannot. I make it elegant, but I have to do it, otherwise, those truths remain somewhere in my throat and suffocate me slowly and painfully. And even if it does not seem like 18 years old me, it's a great blessing to want your soul to be equal to you, no matter who's upsetting it.
I expect much more.
I stopped going out with people I don’t like just for the sake of being popular, I do not finish a bad book anymore just because it’s written by a famous author, I not watch or read things that don’t interest me just because it’s a trendy topic. I don’t want to waste my time on these things, I just want to be focused on things that make me happier or intellectually or spiritually richer. I like to object if I have something to say, even though people around me see it as a complaint. I believe in asking for your rights and not being content with little things. I call this freedom.
The comparison is not equality.
When you are 30ish, you must have the maturity of understanding that every person is unique. There is no point in comparing ourselves with others and analyzing at what point each one has reached his or hers prime. You should better invest all this energy into something truly constructive. You must already have your own style. If you are 20s you are still trying to define yourself, but when you are 30 years old is the time to have a well-defined style. Do not misunderstand me, I do not advise you to always wear the same colors or the same type of clothing. In the end, it’s not even about how you dress, is about you and your attitude. You can’t act like you expect everyone to babysit you or that only your point of view it’s important and you are always right.
You must put your health first.
Whatever choices you make in terms of nutrition, beauty or something else, you must first think about your health. It makes sense to only choose those things that do not harm your health. OK, we are going to make one exception, but the most important thing is to maintain a balanced life. Eating healthy it’s not difficult: Cereals, fruits, vegetables, white meat, fewer dairy products. I am not the perfect person to advise on diets and fitness, but I can say going to the doctor once per year it’s something you must do. An annual visit to the generalist and to a dental clinic are a must and will not hurt you now, but not going can hurt you a lot in the future.
Lose it or win “on your own”.
I always accept good, intelligent, documented advice, and even learned in these years where to go and ask, where to look, who I deserve and who does not deserve my trust. But in the end, no matter how many opinions I gather, I prefer to listen to my intuition - which I have also practiced in these years - and make the final decision with my head, even if what I choose is not always an easy option or expected.
I prefer to make a wrong assumption, choosing something to which my soul and my whole being are moving than to know that I have fumbled without much conviction on the 'sure' path indicated by someone else. And in most cases, the intuition was right, even when I did not listen to it.
What did you most importantly learn about you so far?