Today’s my birthday, and as I get older I’m discovering that I love being older. Here are a few things that I’ve learned in my 30s that make my life full and happy.
I’m several years into my thirties, and discovering how amazing this season of my life is!
We all hear people say how amazing it is to be young (and there is plenty to love about younger years), but as I get older (and I know I’m still very young…) I’m discovering that growing older is a magical thing.
Here are five things I’ve learned in my thirties that have made my life so much happier.
1. I’ve learned to love taking care of my body.
I spent my teen years and all of my 20s getting very little sleep, eating a lot of junk, not ever getting into a good exercise routine, and not knowing what to do with my skin or my hair or how to choose foods that truly fuel my body.
The year I turned thirty was when things really clicked for me and I realized I wanted to be strong. I started running and weight lifting, and although it took a few years to really fall in love exercising consistently (and discovering how I felt when I went without it), I now truly enjoy it. The key for me was to find something that I really enjoyed, or something to make it enjoyable. I listen to audiobooks and podcasts while I run and lift weights and it makes the time fly.
I also really feel the difference when I eat well, sleep enough, drink water, and feel grateful for my body!
If you’re not at this point yet, that’s ok! But start practicing gratitude for your body and take little steps to take care of it better. Little things lead to big things. (I wrote a post all about how I started exercising HERE)
2. I’ve learned to have confidence and trust myself
We all go through phases of self doubt and self consciousness. I absolutely did many times in my teens and my twenties. But now in my 30s, there’s this self confidence that just sort of showed up, where I care much less about what others think, and I just trust myself to do what’s right for me. I’m certainly not perfect, but it’s night and day different from 10 and 20 years ago.
Social media and the internet make it easy to feel publically judged, and putting myself out there on the internet comes with criticism and people questioning me and my choices, but I’ve landed in a place where I care less about what strangers say or think, and I can move forward without their judgments dragging me down or spiraling in my head for days.
Also, with my job in fashion blogging, it can be easy to compare myself and doubt what I’m doing. But I’ve found that if I trust myself and my creativity, the creativity flows with ideas that are unique to me. Like Get Dressed with Merrick or #MerrickBuildsAnOutfit and #MerrickUpdatesOutfits…those are ideas that came when I was being true to myself and trusting my creativity, not copying someone else.
3. I’ve learned to make my own sunshine
This is a phrase that my mom taught me when I got married. She said no one else could make my life happy — I was in charge of creating that happiness. For me, it basically means that I make time for fun.
We celebrate, travel, explore, relax, and play with purpose as a family. We plan them ahead of time, we make sure they’re happening regularly, and we learn to turn regular days into fun days.
Here are some of the ways we make our own sunshine in our family:
- Family traditions (homemade pizza and a movie every Friday, birthday traditions, specific trips that the kids get to take when they’re a certain age, family reunions, waterpark visits on Saturday, Saturday brunch, holiday traditions)
- Travel – we don’t wait til we’re burned out to plan an “escape” trip — we plan travel as a family and a couple all throughout the year.
- Destination holidays – also falling under travel, but it’s a fun way to make a holiday feel different. We did Christmas in Hawaii one year, we did Thanksgiving at the gulf in Texas, and we always did Christmas Eve at the beach when we lived in California.
- Celebrate random holidays – we love celebrating Pi Day (March 14) with chicken pot pie and other mini dessert pies, we make or buy donuts on national donut day, we’ve done a Fall Fest the last few years, do December 1st boxes for the first day of Christmas, an annual Back to School Dinner, a spooky Halloween night dinner, and so many more.
- I read aloud to the boys every night before bed (I’ve shared some of our favorite books here)
- I choose a short read aloud book for family trips and read it to them in the car, while we’re waiting at a restaurant, or waiting in line for an amusement park ride, or any time
- We’re starting a weekly golf game as a family so we can all get better at the game and spend time together playing a sport
It’s magical to start and keep random traditions that make our life feel purposeful and happy and our family to feel connected.
We don’t care what anyone else is doing in their lives or in their families…we do what works best for us and our family to bring us joy.
4. I’ve gotten better at saying “no.”
This is a really hard one. I’ve struggled with this my whole life, and finally feel like I’m better at it. I’m definitely not perfect at it, but I’ve discovered that sometimes saying no is much more important for my personal well being than offending someone with a “no.” I think I always knew this on some level, but I’m a people pleaser so it’s hard for me to turn people down.
One of the ways I’ve gotten better at this is with Philip’s help. It always drove him crazy that I used to be such a pushover and would get taken advantage of on the regular. Having someone who has your best interest in mind who can help support you in those “no’s” is key to getting better at saying no.
5. I’ve learned to show up as myself
When I was growing up, I felt like I did a lot of shape shifting when I was with different groups of friends. Sometimes I had to be louder or more quiet, or I’d have to wear a certain style, or I’d use different words. It was exhausting trying to fit in with that group and be someone I was not.
In my thirties, I’ve gotten really good at showing up as myself, both in real life and on the internet.
I’ve met lots of my readers who say that I’m exactly the same in person as I am online, and that’s one of the highest compliments to me. I’m being true to who I am no matter the circumstance or group of friends. It’s liberating. I love who I am and I’m always happy to show up as myself.
If you’re in your 30s, what have you learned?? I’d love to hear!
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