Life Lessons

22 Things I’ve Learned from 30 Years on Planet Earth

jumping on the Great Wall in China
Me and my cousin Anderson and his wife Liz, on the Great Wall of China.

I turned 30 a couple of weeks ago. I was in Buenos Aires, Argentina (a birthday trip my mom and I took together) and feeling reflective, so I decided to create a list of “truths” or life lessons that I’ve accumulated 30 years into what I hope will be AT LEAST a 70-year stint on planet Earth.

Here is what I came up with:

22. Everything in moderation, even moderation

Sometimes you just need to splurge. Eat the sundae. Go out and get drunk. Make out with a stranger. Lay in bed all day and watch “The Walking Dead” on Netflix. Just don’t beat yourself up about it when it’s over.

21. Everybody is a weirdo on the inside

quote from Alice in Wonderland

Back in my teens and early 20s, I used to spend an embarrassingly large amount of time trying to act “cool”. Now a decade later, I’ve learned that hiding my weird side from the world is not only not worth the hassle, but it robs others of the opportunity to know the real me (who, by the way, is a pretty rad chick!)

20. Do what makes you happy

If you don’t want to have kids, then don’t. If you don’t want to go to college, then don’t. The world won’t end if you decide to reject convention and follow your heart. Most people are busy worrying about their own major life decisions to invest the mental energy required to worry about yours.

19. Embrace uncertainty

18. If you only work on achieving one thing in life, it should be acceptance.

All of your other problems will disappear if you learn how to accept the world as it is and stop wishing it were different.

17. Be comfortable with silence

It took traveling alone without my smart phone or ipod for me to learn this lesson, and though it was hard (being alone with with my thoughts was anxiety-inducing at first), I learned that I actually don’t need all of that outside stimulation to feel content.

16. Be open about your shortcomings

I’m hopelessly unorganized and optimistic to a fault. I’m frequently late and can’t add or multiply even the simplest of figures in my head. But I also don’t try to hide any of this, so if you call me a slob or criticize my math skills, I won’t be insulted because that’s old news!

15. Life is going to be challenging. That’s the point.

I love this quote and try to live my life by it: “A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.” – John A Shedd

14. Asking for help doesn’t mean you are weak or a coward

This lesson has been a tough one for me. I’m independent to the extreme and hate admitting when I can’t do something.

13. The hardest part is starting.

Oh my, I’m such a procrastinator! I still struggle to make myself do the things I don’t want to do (like clean out my car) or even the things I do want to do (like finish writing my novel). But I’ve also learned that if I can just force myself to START, momentum will take over and the rest will be easy.

12. You can’t be good at everything, and that’s okay.

It’s only been in the last year that I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that no matter how hard I try, I’ll never be a jock (I’m uncoordinated) or like jazz (it makes my ears bleed) and my car will never be anything but a mess (the camping gear in my backseat is growing cobwebs. Literally). And let me tell ya, it has been SO NICE to finally say goodbye to all those people I’ll never become.

11. Your job is to find what you’re passionate about and then do it

I think this quote by Howard Thurman explains it all: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” 

I’m passionate about writing and now I get to do it for a living! While I may not be saving the planet, I’m happy, and I like to think that in many ways, that’s enough. Positive energy is contagious.

10. Be the person you want to attract

If you hope to one day marry a successful, caring and kind person, work on becoming one yourself first. Successful people attract other successful people (you hear that future Mr. Reannon Muth? I’m ready and waiting, mister!)

9. Enjoy the journey

8. Balance is key

I’m a workaholic and a perfectionist, so striking a healthy balance between work and play can be tough for me. But if I want to stay sane, I’ve learned that I need to make time for bubble baths, chocolate chip cookies and the dozens of other little things that make life enjoyable.

7. Don’t think about it, just do it

While that may seem overly simplistic, I’ve found that most of the time it really is that easy. If you’ve made a decision to do something that scares you (say, move to Japan or bungee jump), then don’t think about it, just do it. It’s in all of the fretting and over-analyzing that you begin to second guess yourself and chicken out.

6. Never underestimate the healing power of a good night’s sleep

5. Collect moments, not things

grafitti argentina
Graffiti Spotted in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

4. Hugs, a good book and hysterical fits of laughter are all free; The best things in life usually are.

3. Happiness is a choice

Abraham Lincoln quote
Me and my friend Kanako in Tokyo, Japan.

2. Love, and love big

Heartbreak is horrible, but so is a half-assed love affair. If you’re going to make yourself vulnerable to heartache, make it count. Go big or go home; love with all your heart.

1. You will always “still have a lot to learn”

Reannon at the age of three, holding baby brother
Here I am, three years old. That baby I’m holding is my little brother (who will soon be 27).

Though I’ve come a long way (that’s me in the photo above) I know that I don’t have all the answers. And I probably never will. But that won’t stop me from trying.

 What are some things you’ve learned in your decades on the planet?

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4 thoughts on “22 Things I’ve Learned from 30 Years on Planet Earth

  1. Happy 30th!! I loved 30. I decided to live abroad when I was 30. I could write a list like this now but I couldn’t have written it before this year (I’m 32 now). Traveling and living abroad have really taught me so much that I wouldn’t have discovered if I stayed in my stressful job, living in the same apartment, and hanging out with the same friends. It’s a magical experience! Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned! Hope your 30th year is amazing. 🙂

  2. Thanks guys! I’m actually quite happy / excited about turning 30. If my 30s were anything like my 20s, I’m in for an exciting time. : )

    Congrats, Joy, on moving abroad! Where’d you move to?

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