When I was 30 years-old, I was caught up in being young and raising kids. Time felt like it stood still. I never imagined what it would be like to be in my 50s with wrinkles and sprouting grey hair. Everything was here and now. Looking back, I wish I could have given my younger self some of this sage advice. Please join me by adding some of the things you would have told your 30 year-old self, in the comments section below.
- Don’t Buy 5 Pairs of “In” Jeans – Styles come and go; sizes go up and down. Buying one pair of the hot new jeans a year would have been fine. I can’t tell you how many jeans I have given away or sold over the years. I could probably live in three pairs all year long– one light, one dark and one hip one. I would have more money today for shoes (a far more important accessory.)
- These Friendships May Not Last – There are friends who are meant to be with you for seasons and others for specific reasons. I remember thinking that the parents of my kids’ nursery school friends are my people for life. The irony is, I have made more important and lasting friendships in my late 40s and early 50s. When the chips are down, I turn to a very few old friends, but many of these newer ones. Don’t be worried at 30 if you lose a friend; they served you well for the season.
- It’s OK If You Are Not Invited – I remember feeling hurt when I wasn’t on the invite list for a party/celebration, etc. Most of the time, there was a reason that the invite didn’t hit my inbox; these people were not my people. It’s so much better to spend time with the ones you love most and attend all of their celebrations, not just random ones from some acquaintance who throws elaborate “in” parties.
- Old People You Love Will Get Older – It’s hard to imagine an energetic parent not being able to walk, or a grandparent who has 20 family members over for a holiday dinner being bedridden (or worse.) I was always rushing when I was 30 thinking everyone had time like I did. I didn’t realize how much they would all change or be gone by the time I turned 50.
- Diet Products Do Not Make You Skinny – I was a big margarine, diet sour cream, diet soda, Lean Cuisine fiend when I was 30, yet I was probably at my heaviest. Now, I eat whatever I want but it is real food only (in moderation) and I exercise daily. Avoiding the crappy chemical stuff that was all the rage back then just makes me look and feel better in my 50s. I eat the good cheese from Vermont, dessert bars made by my loving friend Heather, organic ground beef burgers and homemade pasta, because life is one big ‘to be savored’ moment.
- That Picture Of You Is A Good One – My friend Jen and I joke about this all the time. Why did we hate that photo of us years ago? We looked SO YOUNG! How did we not see it? Now it takes 72 tries at 20 different angles to get the photo that we really want. At 30, after a run and sans makeup, we looked like supermodels. I should have enjoyed the beauty that youth bestows.
- Your Kids Will Be Fine – So you answered the phone and your kid rolled off the changing table, or fed them frozen chicken nuggets and Mac and Cheese instead of organic chicken and steamed veggies because you were too tired. You are not in for a lifetime of horrible things because of your parenting survival choices. My kids fell off of things, ate bad food and sat in dirty diapers, yet they both graduated from college and have jobs. Your kids will make mistakes, give you heartaches and scare the crap out of you, but it’s not because you cut some corners at 30.
- Your Partner Needs You – Life is busy at 30. There is work, saving for a house, starting a family, trying to manage everything from bills to food to family dynamics. Life is busy and exhausting. I wish I had done a better job of listening to my guy and being more patient. I would have loved to know at 30 that it would all be OK now and I could have taken more time when we were young to be his champion. Every year is precious with someone you love and it shouldn’t be wasted.
- Buy Less Crap – Nesting is so fun when you are young. Trips to HomeGoods, toy stores and kid clothing shops are exciting for new parents. We buy this; we buy that. We buy everything we think our family has to have. Twenty years later, I am spending WAY to much time throwing it all away. I feel like I wasted six trips to Europe on crap that I eventually discarded. I wish I would have known that the pasta in Italy and the memories would have lasted longer than the nicest plastic toddler kitchen on the market.
- Stop And Smell The Roses– I don’t always agree with my mother, but she was right on this one. I wish I didn’t care about unloading the dishwasher, picking up toys or doing chores around the house as much as I did then. The time that I wasted cleaning would have been better spent chilling with my toddlers even one minute more. Kids grow up so darn fast. Even though we had so many good times together, there was always room for one more hug, one more bedtime story, one more day of silly play. All the other stuff, well that could have waited until they turned 18 and left for college, even if it meant a few dust bunnies and piles of dirty clothes.
Mimi L. Golub is the Co-Founder and Co-Editor of Living the Second Act, an online magazine for women in their 40s and 50s who are seeking the truth. Mimi has written for numerous publications including The Huffington Post. She is the author of the someday-to-be-published novel, Boxed In. Mimi is also the writer and a staff editor of From Our Kitchens, a nonprofit cookbook that was released in 2018. In her spare time, Mimi loves to workout, drink tequila, and volunteer with many local causes. She lives in Newton, MA, with her husband and has twin girls who have left the nest. You can find her former work on: tequilainbed.com
Follow Mimi on Twitter @mimigolub