15 THINGS I LEARNED AT 30
Updated: Jun 29, 2020
1. When I was much younger, I always thought I would have figured out life at this age. Stuff like my career, having a home, maybe couple of kids.
But now I’m starting to believe your whole life is a process of experiencing, learning, shifting priorities and becoming new beings. The 20-year old me had a whole other future in mind than the current 30-year old me. And maybe my 40-year old me would laugh at the things I worry about right now. We change our minds constantly so we need to let IT go.
2. Friends come and go.
When you’re young, you have this tight group of best friends you do everything with. But then you get older and life gets complicated and everyone start following their own paths. Cherish those old memories, but move on. Maybe that one friend was meant to be your friend in just that part of your life. People change remember. And that’s fine. When you get older, you become more critical of who you allow in your inner circle and that’s fine too. Just make sure to surround yourself with people who are positive, supportive, motivating and accept you for who you are (I know, good luck with that). Though, this goes hand in hand with getting more socially awkward. When our group of friends get smaller, we are less exposed to meeting new people in new situations. We seek comfort in people who are the closest to us and who we spend time with the most. Not necessarily bad, but when we have the choice of staying home to watch Netflix with our best friend instead of going to that event or party where we can meet many others, we are likely to choose the prior one and be comfortable with that.
3. Don’t let anyone tell you what is right or wrong, only you determine that for yourself.
Choosing our own path and way of life will always be more fulfilling in the longer term. This also means you take responsibility for your own life, the choices you make and how you deal with the good and especially the bad ones afterwards. You probably know people who complain about everything in life, as if it’s all out of their control, as if things just happen to them and that they’re victims, etc. But the bottom line is that when you make your own choices, you can’t blame others.
4. Aiming for goals and values is more practical than aiming for happiness.
So many self-help guides/ gurus trying to convince us how to be happy, but no one really knows. As it is very subjective and everyone gives it their own meaning. However, recent research comes up with the scientific theory of happiness called PERMA, which consists of five core elements of psychological wellbeing and happiness. It consists of Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Achievement. More on this in another blog.
5. If you want to do what you love, you have to work much harder.
We get to choose our careers at a young age when we don’t even know ourselves or what we want in life. If you really want to do something you love, you have to change directions all the time, be exposed to new things that might be scary and makes you insecure, be disciplined and dedicated to reach your goals. The journey in between is (most likely) the bitter pill you have to take in order to find your true passion for the rest of your life. Keep in mind that failures help us to learn from mistakes. They help us find new directions. They make us stronger and encourage us to work harder and do better. Having said this, life is more than just work. When I look around me I see people putting all their time and energy in their work. Sometimes people aren’t happy with their home situation, so their job is sort of an escape. There are also people who are simply not aware or forget about other beauties in life. What did you use to love doing as a teenager or when you went to college? What about your hobbies? What about sports? What about friends and family?
6. Travel as much as you can and as far as you can.
It has broaden my perspective and taught me more about the world than I could ever imagine. I learned about other people and their different mindsets, about their culture and religion, about poverty, about spirituality, about my health, fears and discomforts. I went hitchhiking in China and Georgia, I witnessed a sheep slaughtering in the middle of the street in Iran, spent nights in the desserts of Namibia with a freely roaming leopard, rushed Farhang to the hospital in India because of food poisoning, drove next to the border of Afghanistan where the Taliban were just a stone’s throw away, had long and deep conversations with unique persons from all different social and economic classes and I could go on and on. Nothing on earth can replace things I learned during these years.
7. Painful self-reflection and being honest to your self about your short-comings is one of the best ways to grow.
Let’s be honest, although we know nobody is perfect, we like to believe we are. We don’t like to be confronted with our shortcomings. We like to believe we know it all and we even like to tell others what’s best for them. Our ego is our enemy which we protect at all times. But this is the exact reason we get in trouble with our loved ones. Reflecting on what our part of the problem is, listen to the other and try to understand why our part is being seen as a problem will benefit our relationships on many levels.
8. Social media is fake, empty and a soul-sucking place.
As Instagram is our main social channel, I’ll be focussing myself on this part of social media only. Instagram used to be a platform where creative people shared their love for art, photo- and videography, nature, travel, etc. But it has changed in a very negative way. It’s become a platform where people promote their looks, fashion, fake situations and all for the sake of numbers. There was a point Instagram made me feel miserable because of pressure of producing, reach certain numbers and live up to people’s expectations. Because we are the ‘cool couple’ who travels all the time and goes to luxurious places, we don’t have an ordinary life, etc. etc. There was this constant pressure of doing awesome stuff, otherwise our blog wouldn’t be very interesting anymore. This is the danger of social media, we lose ourselves in this rat race of being better and bigger and lose total sight of why we were doing this in the first place. Now that I learned where to draw the line, I’m in a much better place where I enjoy putting work into the blog and not because I feel the pressure of having to.
9. Simplicity is the key to life.
Say no to expensive gadgets, cloths, shoes, bags, make-up, home decoration, etc. If I tell people I have as much clothes as Farhang, they look at me with disbelief. Anyone who knows Farhang, knows he doesn’t own much cloths. Believe me if I tell you that owning less stuff means less chaos in your head. We don’t need them really. When I buy new stuff, I make sure to give or throw away old stuff. Just to keep things organised. It is basically a win-win situation as you have more money to save for traveling and making moving from A to B much easier.
10. Nature and the universe are the best ways to contemplate about life.
Whenever I become aware of the fact how small I am, I understand how small my problems are. Nature and the universe give me new perspective. In the end, I am just one tiny soul on this big planet amongst many other planets in the universe of 100 million galaxies. What the hell am I even worrying about? Life is too temporary to take it too seriously. Enjoy it while it lasts.
11. Age is really just a number, it’s how you feel from within.
I used to work at an elderly home for many years where I supported the elderly with their house chores, preparing their food and providing them with a listening ear as they are mostly lonely and it were these conversations that made me very much aware of the concept of age. These people were at the end of their life span and had all the time to reflect about their lives. One thing I learned is that age is something between your ears, it’s all about how content you are about your life, not having regrets of things you didn’t do and how young-hearted you are from within.
12. You can be or do whatever you want!
Of course, there’s Messi who is probably born with talent and then you have Ronaldo who had to work hard to get there (okay relax, I just don’t like the guy). I believe genetics isn’t the only determining factor for what you can be good at. Factors as experiences, motivation, dedication and support are equally important. Sure, you are born with certain vulnerabilities and talents and some people have to work harder than others for the same outcome. The real question here is; how bad do you want it? Some people say they’re too old to learn a new skill, but I’ve witnessed myself how the old generation learns a whole new language or when I see seniors taking lectures at the university. I learned dancing in my 20’s. I knew nothing about blogging, video editing or social media marketing before I started Borderlesstwo. BUT you can’t have everything; as our resources and time are limited, we have to choose and set priorities. And just because you weren't born with talent, doesn't mean you can't do it at all. You don't need to be the best in everything. Being good is good enough.
13. Believe in in the power of love.
Soulmates do exist and there is definitely one for you too! When I look around, I see too many broken relationships/ marriages or even people who are unhappy in their current relationship and yet choose to stay in one because of all sorts of reasons. Mostly there are many factors involved that lead to these problematic relationships, wether it’s personal issues like separation anxiety, being hasty and impulsive, unrealistic thinking of being able to change the other (really?), social pressure, problematic household, etc. which leaves them with sharing a roof with someone who is totally different. And after many mistakes, people kind of lose hope in true love. They just settle with the idea that love is not realistic and soulmates exist in fairytale movies only. That is not true! Okay, maybe I’m not the right person to be saying all this as I met Farhang at a very young age and luckily everything worked out perfectly for us. We both have never endured heartbreaks or someone breaking our trust, etc. so who are we to talk right? I guess all I want to say is to take a good look at your current relationship to see if it feels right, be open, take chances and true love will knock at your door when you least expect it.
14. Pick your battles wisely.
As the older sibling and the rebellious teenager that I was, I had to fight for each small piece of freedom I could get. Even now our parents like to tell us what we should or shouldn’t do. And they have that right to a certain point. But some topics are sensitive and I notice I almost immediately jump up to defend myself when those topics come up. Religious and cultural aspects for example are one of those sensitive topics. As an Afghan female, growing up in a household without a male, I had an overprotective upbringing where girls weren’t allowed to do much because of what society would think. Also, the older I got, the more questions and doubts I had about religion. Discussions at home and with family members resulted in them feeling insulted and angry at me for being less Afghan or religious. All these years I tried to make the gap between our generation and our parents smaller so we could understand each other better. Although they have changed a lot with time, there are certain things they will never understand. Simply because that generation grew up differently in a whole other timezone with a mindset that was normal back then. Prioritise which battles are worth fighting and which ones you just need to ignore.
15. We are who we are because of our early and current experiences.
Many of us have certain psychological vulnerabilities and emotional baggage that shapes our attitudes and behaviour. Waiting to be triggered as life presents itself in its full glory of ups and downs. Instead of fighting your shortcomings, accept, embrace and find a way to deal with them without them being an obstacle for you and your loved ones. And don’t forget that we never stay the same as new experiences will shape us further.