My Year Ahead at 30

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Today is my birthday (Happy Birthday me from Prague!). I’m turning 30. And no, I’m not freaking out about it. Actually, I’m kind of looking forward to it. Turning 30 is kind of nicely (and conveniently) happening shortly after I have flipped my life on its head.

When I made all of my 360 decisions - to leave my relationship, to get my own place, to quit my job, to travel through Europe - I had the intention and goal of being more reflective and mindful about myself personally, and my life as a whole. My 30th birthday would just be a nice little jumping off point to start all of that mindful thinking and reflecting.

So, what do I hope to accomplish? What do I want to do? What [insert ridiculous number] of things do I need to stop doing now that I'm 30, or do I need to accomplish now that I'm 30? (If you can't tell I hate all of these lists).

Unlike previous years list of goals or New Years resolutions, the list of things I want to accomplish during my 30th year and continue into my 30's are not tangible.In fact, they are for the most part fairly unquantifiable. This year isn’t about the number of things I can check off.

This year is about working, nurturing, and growing my most important project: Me.

Buttttt, I'm still me, so, I still made a list lol (hey, not gonna change everything about me)…

Physical

  • Practice daily nutrition - what I mean by this is really listening to my body on what makes me feel good (probably the healthy stuff) and what makes me feel like shit (probably all the alcohol and pizza). It also includes drinking enough water and getting enough vitamins which I currently don't do.
  • Become Stronger - I recently went to the doctors and discovered I’m at my lowest weight since high school. I'm sure most women would be thrilled about that, but that’s not a good thing for me. That’s actually kind of scary. Yes I’m thin, but I'm approaching a point where I'm too thin for my own liking. I feel like I am borderline sick looking and more importantly, feel pretty unhealthy and weak. There will be a lot more weights in my future. I want to be made of muscle and I want to feel strong again. 
  • Stand Up Straight - I have horrible posture and I need to correct it now before it’s too late. I’ll be working from home at my new job so I’m hoping to find some tricks that will help me with this on a daily basis within the comfort of my own apartment.

Values

  • Align my values and my behaviors - I (shamefully) do not always act in accordance with my values, and when I don’t, there is often a lot of internal conflict mentally and emotionally. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I'm usually not in a great mental space for a while. It's been said that when our behaviors are aligned with our values we are naturally more at peace. I want to be more at peace.
  • Figure out my values - In order to even do the above thing, I first need to take a hard look at what my values actually are. It sounds weird, right? I mean, I would assume most people value similar things: family, friendship, loyalty etc.  But when I dig deeper I find I actually have a lot of contradictions and conflicts with what I want to value or think I should value versus what I actually value. Maybe "value" isn't the right word, but I need to get clear on what I deem important in all areas of my life. Once that happens, I'm hoping I can more consciously put those values into practice and therefore be happier and less at war with myself. 
  • Establish clear boundaries - Sometimes in life things happen and you look back and go “I wish I would have said X” or “next time I’ll do Y.” For example, I know for me personally there have been a number of times where I have had strangers approach me and say something inappropriate and instead of standing up for myself and establishing limits and boundaries, I just shelled up and said nothing or tried to ignore it. I’m not proud of these moments.

I would like to think of myself as a strong person who doesn’t take other people’s shit, but when these things happen that is exactly what I am allowing. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to look like a bitch. Maybe I’m afraid to be too vocal or cause a scene. Whatever it is, I'm not a fan, and I don’t like how inconsistent I am with it. Sometimes I stand up for myself. Sometimes I don't. I want to get to a point where I am not afraid to clearly set boundaries on what I find acceptable and what I will and will not tolerate. I realize that to some this may seem obvious, and it is for me too, but I can’t seem to put this into practice 24/7 and that is the goal. That no matter what the situation is I will stand up for myself.

Mind and Emotion

  • Figure out who I am - I know, this sounds incredibly general, right? I’m still not really sure how to break this down, but I do know that by the time I turn 31 I want to be able to answer questions like:
      • What do I value?
      • What do I want out of my life? (i.e. career, relationships, goals, dreams)
      • What do I want out of a relationship?
      • What do I want in a partner?
      • What kind of partner do I want to be?
      • What kind of people do I want to surround myself with?
      • What kind of person do I want to be to other people?
  • Develop a meditation practice - I have been putting off meditation, yoga, and anything in that realm for years under the notion that it’s a bit too woo-wooey to me. But, after countless people have told me it works for them and they have found a lot of benefits from it, I think I need to give in. I’m not sure what will work best for me, but I do think I need to take the leap and figure out a way to center myself, or at the very least, give myself 5-10 minutes every day where I can quiet the constant reel in my head. 
  • Find approval and validation from within - This is a big one. Since I was young my parents have told me that I “fish for compliments.” As I’ve gotten older it seems that this need for external validation and approval has only increased, grown more subconscious, and occurs over the simplest of things (think stupid shit like knowing a song on the radio or knowing a random sports fact that I may not have been expected to know).

Getting so much validation (which contributes to your self-image and self-esteem) from someone else all the time is both dangerous and leads to depending on something or someone else to feel good about yourself. At some point we need to be self-reliant. I need to be more self-reliant. I need to be able to congratulate and praise myself without the extra boost from someone else. I need my own praise and own satisfaction to be enough. 

  • Lastly (I didn't know where this fit in above) I am committed to being single for my entire 30th year. One whole year at minimum. No dates, no relationships, no boyfriend. Not a consideration until next August 27th when I turn 31.

I have not been single for more than a few months since high school and I believe that having an almost uninterrupted mental state of “we" playing on loop, instead of focusing strictly and only on “me” for the last 15+ years has helped me get to this point- this point of not feeling comfortable and confident with who I am. I need this time to myself with no one else so I can selfishly only think about my needs, my wants, my desires instead of constantly taking someone else's needs, wants and desires into consideration.

So, yea, that’s a lot of shit to work through. And it won’t happen over night. And I already know there will be times when it will suck and be lonely and I will question why I'm doing this. It will most certainly be painful at times too, having to confront some of the not so great things about myself. But it needs to be done.

Living on auto-pilot is not an option. Going along with the program is not an option. I think I’m finally ready to do the hard work. And if not, well, I’m throwing myself into the deep end anyway and will learn how to swim.

So, happy 30th to me and to the start of what will hopefully be the most mindfully reflective and positive year of growth. Cheers!