I’m starting Chapter 30 this upcoming Friday. The 16th of December has been a long-awaited day because frankly, 30 has been a tough year. I won’t go so far as to say it sucked across the board. There have definitely been good moments and victories, but it’s been a lot and there’s been quite a few lessons along the way.
So without further adieu, here are the list of things (in no particular order of importance) I’ve learned during Chapter 30.
On mental health
1.) In the midst of a mental health crisis, call the doctor and schedule an appointment. Get real help. Your mental wellness is far too precious to downplay, ignore or try to “positive vibes only” away.
2.) Therapy is a wonderful tool. I promise the therapist isn’t just there to judge you.
3.) No man is an island of himself. You’re never alone like the evil voice in your heads want you to think you are.
4.) Everyone has a struggle at least once. The people who insist life never happens to them are liars, delusional or lazy. Maybe all three. Ignore them.
5.) Log off social media every once in a while. Nobody needs to be tethered to their phone.
On relationships/working with others
1.) Some people just plain suck. Don’t take it personally.
2.) You need boundaries with everyone, especially the family and coworkers who are human bulldozers.
3.) A polite, diplomatic spine is nice. However, if you need to get direct with a bully, do it. They rely on nice people not wanting to call them on the carpet and make a scene. Make the scene anyway.
4.) Always evaluate patterns of behavior. Then decide to either accept them and stay, accept them and set up boundaries, or bounce. People can say what they want, but behavior speaks loud ‘n clear.
5.) To the straight ladies – a man’s energy never lies. Run like hell when you pick up on that bad/dark energy and don’t look back.
On maintaining yourself
1.) Schedule and keep all of your regular doctor appointments. You have one body, so take care of it.
2.) Water should be your primary beverage of choice. Your vitals, waistline and wallet when dining out will thank you.
3.) Never take up smoking, vaping, any drug usage. I don’t care if it’s legal. I don’t care if “the attitudes are changing and it’s going to be legal in a few years anyways.” Doesn’t make it healthy. So don’t start.
4.) You are what you eat. Sorry not sorry, but bodies need vitamins and nutrients more than they need anything slathered in Nutella. Pick fruits and veggies.
5.) Visit the salon on a regular basis. Give yourself facials at home or at the salon. You don’t have to drop big money or go balls to the walls, but taking care of your appearance will go a long way in helping you feel confident in yourself. And the harsh truth – looking good will get you further in life (not saying I agree with it, but it is what it is.)
On running/being active
1.) There is no such thing as a runner’s body. Don’t sweat how you look compared to someone skinnier.
2.) Your body really is individual. Take time to learn yourself – you’ll need it.
3.) Ask for help if you don’t know 100 percent what you’re doing. It’s far better to feel a little embarrassed at the gym than it is to injure yourself.
4.) Take your rest days seriously.
5.) Never compare yourself to Instagram runners. A lot of them have some questionable habits that may work fine for them, but would be dastardly for you to replicate.
On getting older
1.) It happens to all of us, if you’re lucky. Keep some perspective.
2.) The saying about how your 30s is like your 20s with money and more confidence is true. Even with the sorrow of this past year, I wouldn’t trade 30 for 20.
3.) We all have our own timelines. Don’t worry about how you’re stacking up to someone else – blessings are still blessings no matter when they come.
4.) To the ladies – if you want to avoid osteoporosis and mobility challenges as you get older, you need to lift weights and strengthen those bones. On average we live longer than men, so we need to prepare for the likelihood of having to be self-sufficient in the twilight years.
5.) Aging really is more mental than physical. It’s easier and better to be a 75-year-old child at heart than a 28-year-old mental geezer. Don’t let resentment or bitterness age your mind.
And some cliches that are true
1.) The grass really is greener where you water it. Water your own lawn and mind your business if you want to be happy.
2.) You can’t take any of the material things with you when you go. Money is important and stuff is fun, but the experiences are the worthwhile part of life.
3.) People are at their most honest when they’re drunk, angry or with their friends. Always keep that in the back of your mind when questioning objectionable behavior.
4.) You need to paint or get off the ladder. Make a decision, do something and commit to it.
5.) Grief truly is the price we pay for love. Love anyway.
To bring it home
Chapter 30 was definitely a period of change and growth. Some experiences left me with wisdom. Others were cautionary tales. I’m grateful for it and at the same time, I’m looking forward to starting Chapter 30.
I hope you all have a great week ahead.
Yours in life, writing and running,