10 Things I Would Tell My Younger Self

You guuuuuuys...I'm turning 30!!! in just thirty short days! And if society hasn't taught me well already, it's supposed to be some sort of landmark moment where I'm supposed to have my $%*it together, right? WRONG! The reality of it is that you and I will always be figuring things out at every stage of life. 

I'm actually embracing embarking into this "middle-age" zone. I'm comfortable with where I am in life and I'm very much at peace with myself (all praise be to Him). 

BUT - if you asked me my feelings on approaching 30 a few years ago, I'd probably have a panic attack thinking my life is so unruly. So, in spirit of turning 30, I made this list of things I wish I could tell my younger self. Maybe those reading this who are younger than me can learn some valuable life lessons about growing up.

P.S. - Keep reading until the end as I'll be revealing where le husband is taking me to celebrate!

1. Stop caring about what other people will think of you. If you want to wear that red lip to go grocery shopping, DO IT. People will think good about you, and then some people will think negatively of you. It's a fact. Don't let it affect or rule your life. You continue to do you.

2. Don't compare yourself and your accomplishments to others. Everyone has unique strengths, talents and life experiences. There will always be someone better, richer, and more accomplished than you, and it's okay.  What you achieve is far less important than what kind of human being you turn out to be. Plus, the only person you should really compare yourself to is your yester-self. 

3. Travel the world. I have been very fortunate to travel while growing up. The older I become, the more I realize I actually know very little about life. Traveling really changes the way you relate to the world, and it's so unbelievably humbling, every-single-time. 

4. Forgive yourself - and others. So you make a mistake, don't finish your to-do list (mine is ENDLESS!), or didn't get to make that really important point in that really important meeting. Life goes on. Sometimes being so hard on yourself leads to self-destruction through anger and sadness. Self-forgiveness is important to maintain a healthy and positive lifestyle. It's something I'm constantly reminding myself of and I think I'll always be practicing it.

5. Your dreams are never out of reach, as long as you create a suitable definition of success for yourself. I'm not sure about you, but for me - my dreams are usually a combination of my life experience, coupled with my passion and aspiration to grow my future by improving upon the present. What I learned quickly on is you can't have a standard definition of success. It has to match your aspirations, otherwise yo'll be setting yourself up for failure. 

6. Serve your community. I can't even begin to describe the feeling when you help others in your community - without expecting anything in return. It's empowering. It's uplifting. It's invigorating. I wish I started earlier.

7. Keep your circle small. Less friends = less BS. 

8. Learn a new skill. Take up a new sport, craft or hobby. After all, mine turned into my career.  Plus, learning promotes healthy aging :) 

9. Cultivate a healthy relationship with your body. I used to have a love-hate relationship with my body (be careful of body-shaming without even realizing it) when I was younger. I would do extreme dieting and then eat loads of food over the weekend and it was this vicious cycle that I got tired of real quick. I think it's natural, you'll go through a phase of counting calories, steps, constantly weigh yourself. Get yourself out of that trap! Instead, focus on exercising to feel GOOD. Nourish your body and your body will do a lot for you down the road. 

10. Sometimes, it's okay to feel lonely. Those of you who know me, I've told you this on countless occasions. Sometimes being lonely allows for you to reconnect with yourself, to remind yourself that you're capable of enjoying your own company. It enables you to discover who you are on a deeper level, so go ahead and claim that loneliness - but without shame.

One more for good luck!

11. Smile. Sometimes you really don't need a reason to smile. Just do it. See how you feel after.

Here's to 30 more years!

Anddddd as for the birthday trip Haris surprised me with...drumroll please...we're going to Prague, Croatia & London! Woooot. Please send any and all reccos my way :)