I kind of dreaded turning 30. Well, to be honest I dreaded everything after 27. Getting older sucks. I’d see myself changing, the wiry gray hairs popping up at the crown of my head, the faint signs of sun damage appearing on my skin, the unbearable hangovers that would ail me for sometimes two days. It made me panic, and desperately hold on to my fading youth. But once I turned 30, the opposite kind of happened. I stopped fighting it. I leaned in and accepted it. As a result, I’ve come to embrace the MUCH more valuable trade offs since leaving my twenties.

I have also somehow become the “wise old friend” among my social circle, always being consulted for advice and insight by my girlfriends in their early twenties, who struggle to deal with the headaches of dead-end jobs, bad sex, confusing relationships. Looking back, I may have figured a few things out. So here’s my list of 30 lessons in 30 years.

  1. You don’t always have to agree with people. Being honest is much more refreshing than being a people pleaser.

  2. What you eat matters. Don’t get fast food twice a week just because your stomach is still flat as a board.

  3. If you hate your job, quit (with notice.) I promise, you won’t regret it.

  4. Follow through with your plans – even when you’re hungover.

  5. Make a conscious effort to stop worrying about what strangers think of you – or anyone, for that matter!.

  6. Casual sex doesn’t make you a slut.

  7. Learn to befriend people you feel threatened by, rather than resenting them.

  8. Move to a new city.

  9. Take notes during meetings.

  10. Don’t date someone because you are lonely or bored.

  11. Pack light.

  12. Don’t burn bridges. You never know who you’ll cross paths with again.

  13. Pay compliments to people.

  14. Try new foods. I never thought I’d say “I love tofu.”

  15. Avoid talking about people behind their backs; it will only make you feel crappy.

  16. It’s okay to be a homebody.

  17. Only be friends with people who make you feel good.

  18. Listening is far more important than talking.

  19. When you’re ready to get married, you’ll know it.

  20. Don’t ignore the “check engine” light on your car.

  21. Try not to bite your nails.

  22. It’s okay to say “I don’t know.”

  23. Spend time with your parents.

  24. Ladies, take your makeup off at the end of the night. Your skin will thank you for it.

  25. When you are mad at someone, stop and think before you react.

  26. Comparison is the thief of joy. Don’t compare yourself to others.

  27. It’s not the end of the world if your partner admits they find someone else attractive.

  28. If you are worried about yourself, the best thing to do is go help someone else.

  29. Be nice to people in the service industry.

  30. If you want something, stop waiting…go and get it!