Things I want to tell my future 30-year-old self

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m planning on never turning 30, even if I have to do some complicated Harry Potter–level witchcraft to age myself down. Is there an actual Age Potion like the one Fred and George Weasley used in The Goblet of Fire but the opposite? Cause I’m going to need that.

The number 3o instills in me the same kind of fear that spiders or taxes do. Being 30 causes many people to lose perspective and freak out. I’m freaking out just thinking about 30, and I’m not 24 yet.

So, in thinking about 30, I can’t help but wonder what I’ll be like when I hit that milestone. It just doesn’t seem like me. I never thought, when I was a dorky kid watching Disney movies in my Strawberry Shortcake jammies, that I would ever turn 30. So I have some words of advice for 30-year-old Lisa, to make sure she’s still the cool girl currently writing this in a Little Mermaid sweatshirt.

Keep writing

It’s always been my dream to be a working, published writer, something that I’ve achieved in small ways in my early twenties. At 30, I want to be working toward my goal of publishing novels. So I hope that at 30 years old, I’m still doing that and haven’t given up on making that dream a reality. Despite all the failure and setbacks I’m sure to face, I hope 30-year-old Lisa is still working toward that ultimate goal. I would tell her to be brave.

Take time to be alone and think about what you still want to achieve

At 30, you may have a high-powered career, a couple of kids, a husband, or maybe a boyfriend. At the very least, you have a cat (right?). So don’t forget that you always have yourself to rely on: your mind and your heart have to be trusted. Don’t just do things because you think it’s “the time.” Wait until you’re ready to hit major milestones, like getting married or, if you’re already married, having kids. Don’t let other people pressure you to go too fast. Slow down. Take your time. Listen to yourself.

Don’t forget about the magic

One of the best qualities about being young, whether you describe “young” as a teenager, in your thirties, or in your sixties, is that you always carry this wonderfully naive idea that something amazing is waiting around the next corner. At 23, I believe in “magic”—in the power of stories, the strength of my will, and that if I work hard, everything will turn out the way it’s supposed to. Jason Segel once said that too many adults “forget about the magic” when they get older. At 30, I still want to remember it.

Travel everywhere, and do it any way you can.

At 30 years old, I hope I’ve made a clear, honest attempt to see the whole world. Or at least the parts of it can I can afford to see! Traveling is something most people intend to do but don’t because of all of our myriad responsibilities and hindrances. Work, family, having a spouse, and having kids are all huge responsibilities and hindrances to traveling, but they don’t have to be. I’d tell my 30-year-old self to do anything it takes to make sure I (we?) travel, even if it means carrying three crying babies onto a transatlantic flight. If my parents can do it, so can I.

Embrace opportunities

Life doesn’t stop when you turn 30 (or 25 or 25 or 40). Most people are even happier in their thirties because it’s so much more stable and secure than being a perpetually-confused twenty-something. I’d tell my 30-year-old self to take chances and risks, and never feel complacent. There’s always something more you can achieve, always something to strive for to enrich your life. 30 is just the beginning of another chapter.

Be childlike.

Again girl—you’re not old! When you’re 30, be playful, optimistic, invincible and carefree. Don’t get so bogged down with the stress of life that you forget to walk along a beach by yourself, or plant a box of roses in the yard, or invite girlfriends over to play board games and drink wine. Being an adult doesn’t mean you lose your inner child. That child makes things feel constantly fresh and exciting, and that childlike sense of wonder will give you even more strength to handle all the difficulties of adulthood.

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