30 is the New 30

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Thirty years old. My, how time flies. This one is a particularly big one for me. The BIG 3-0. I’m a much different person today than I was when I hit the MEDIUM-SIZE 2-0. Here are some things I’ve learned this decade:

1. I’m not the person I ever imagined I would become, and that’s okay.

When I was 20, I was certain I’d be married with children by 30. Yes, child(ren). Plural. Then again, I was in the closet and making far too many fear-based decisions. Things change, and that’s okay. At 20, I had my entire life planned out. I was in control, or so I thought. The truth is, none of us are in control. I’m not who I thought I would become, and in 10 years, that statement will probably still be true.

2. I don’t know, and that’s okay.

I have always found comfort in facts, but what happens when we build our lives around them, or when we turn opinions into them? We tend to build walls instead of ideas. I wish I spent more time in my 20’s admitting and sitting in my own doubt. Growing up Catholic, I was sort of lead to believe that faith = certainty. There’s no blame or judgment on the Catholic Church for this, but questions about God or spirituality were never really encouraged in my catholic school days, if I remember correctly. Do I really believe in “the Holy Ghost, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting”? At 30, I’m not sure what I believe. I don’t know where I will be in 5 years. I don’t know if I will ever land that series regular on an established TV show I’ve been dreaming about. I don’t know if I will ever get married and have children, which is something I still think I want for myself. Life at 30 is significantly less black and white than at 20. Absolutes exist less and less, and that’s okay.

3. Not everything is about me, and that’s okay.

I know, shocker. I can’t count the number of hours I’ve fretted over wondering if so-and-so likes me. “Why did she roll her eyes at me? Why does he not text me back quicker? Why is she so rude to me?” My God, Eric, you’re not that important. More often than not, others’ reactions to my very being are more of a reflection on them than I realized during most of my 20’s. I do not have the power to make anyone feel anything, contrary to my own selfish beliefs. Often times when someone does not like me, it lives in their own insecurities. Furthermore, when I don’t like someone, that lives in my own insecurities. That’s on me, not them. Therefore, difficult emotions like anger tend to be a projection of something much deeper inside the person feeling the anger. So listening to our gut instead of solely the opinions and strong feelings of others is key. (L.A. Casting Director, Bonnie Gillespie, takes this idea one step further with some brilliant advice. Check it out here!)

4. I’m not ok, and that’s okay.

What I am feeling now is right because I’m feeling it. When we start to try and change our feelings, we tell ourselves those feelings aren’t okay. This resistance is the root of most pain, anxiety, depression, and compulsion that exists. I wish I spent less time in my 20’s trying to control my emotions and more time practicing mindful thinking.

I have no idea what my feelings toward this blog post will be in another decade from now or if any of it would have meant anything to me when I turned 20, but it is what I know now, and that’s okay.

Your turn! Is there any advice you wish you could give your younger self? Leave a comment here, tweet me @TheEricFeltes, or Facebook me!