Sometimes you write for other people. Example: Penning those sweet birthday tidings or wedding wishes for your closest friend.
Sometimes you write for yourself. Example: An angsty teenage version of you scribbling dramatic poems into a Lisa Frank notebook.
Sometimes you do a little of both. Example: Self-serving Facebook statuses or stream of consciousness blog posts.
This list is a little of both.
I’m not saying that I know your deal. I don’t know what’s plagued you for your first twenty years of life and I don’t know what you’ve finally accepted about yourself that you never thought was possible. I do know what I’ve struggled with accepting and what I’m hoping to accept in the next three years before I turn the big 3-0. So scan this post and if it resonates, keep reading. If it doesn’t, why not make your own list of things to accept before your next big milestone?
1. Your body. Do you really have something that you need to change in order to feel more comfortable in your skin or are you bummed because of the media’s portrayal of how you should look? If the former, acknowledge it and come up with a game plan! If you need to make acknowledgment an external process, try “Emotional Freedom Technique” and then really say this to yourself: “Even though I have this anxiety, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
2. Your budget. Yea, you either can afford it or you can’t afford it. Quit splurging today with the promise that you’ll scrounge tomorrow and come up with a real, live budget that allows you to afford a splurge every now and then while saving for retirement and the major purchases that you intend to make in the next few years.
3. Your fears. Maybe you’re scared that you’ll end up alone with no friends save your twenty cats. Maybe you’re scared of dark basements because you’ve watched one too many episodes of American Horror Story. Both sound terrifying to me. What’s important is that you start to realize what actions are motivated by your fears and if you’re okay with living in that box for the rest of your life. If you are, then go back to business as usual. If you’re not, then delve deeper to figure out what is causing your fear.
4. Your current state of mind. I don’t know if it’s an “American” thing or what but it seems that we’ve always got to be doing something while we’re doing something else. We don’t just sit down to eat dinner. We sit down to watch TV while eating dinner. We don’t walk the dogs without listening to music as well. When was the last time you did just one thing with your whole mind? Take some time to just listen to the sounds around you as you walk your dogs. Sit at the table without the television on while you eat dinner.
5. Your family. 5 out of 5 people admit that they have weirdos in their family. Okay, that’s not a real statistic but it’s probably true based on the people I hang around. It doesn’t matter! You don’t have to accept every single thing about your family members. You just have to love them anyway. Same goes for you: Your family members don’t have to accept every single part of you, they just have to love the whole you.
6. Your past. Odds are you’ve done some things that you’re not proud of when you reflect upon years gone by. These things happen and, if they didn’t happen, then you wouldn’t be the person who you are today. As you embark upon your third decade of being on this earth, you should come to terms with the fact that life is messy and this non-perfect state of messiness requires mistakes of all magnitudes.
7. Your present. When you were little, did you imagine that you would be CEO of your own company by now? A Stepford Housewife with five kids? Author of the next great novel? Are you any of these things? If so, congratulations! You were an appropriately ambitious kid, it seems. If not, have your goals changed since then or are you still working towards the same goal? I’ll let you in on a little secret: These one-size-fits-all milestones are bull. I know, this is literally in the middle of a post highlighting one of said milestones but what I’m saying is that you don’t have to have the same milestones are your neighbor or your sister or any of your friends. Maybe you reached your goals by 25 or maybe you won’t be that fancy CEO until 45. It doesn’t matter. Accept where you are now and what you’ve done to get there.
8. Your future. I don’t know about you but if I was little Ewan McGregor in Big Fish, I would not have looked in Helena Bonam Carter’s all-knowing witch eye. I for one do not want to know what the future holds because I want to live every moment until I get to it.
Besides, as Ralph Waldo Emerson may or may not have said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Why not focus on what lies within you rather than stressing about things that may or may not happen? You’re here, man.
9. Your diet. I’m not saying that you should just accept the fact that you indulge in unhealthy snacks more often than you should or anything like that. What I mean is that you should work to get your diet to a point that makes you happy by the time you enter your thirties. What’s your game plan for living a full, delicious life while treating your body with the respect it deserves?
10. Your happiness. Repeat after me: I deserve to be happy (unless I’m a serial killer who hurts puppies, in which case I need to reassess my approach to life). It’s true! Yes, there will always be hungry people to help, orphaned animals to rescue and sad family members who could use your cheering up, but it’s okay for you to be happy. Actually, it’s more than okay. You’re kicking butt. You should be happy.
11. Your sadness. The most pivotal moment in my growth as a human being thus far in my life–that’s dramatic, but it’s true–was in my early twenties when I read Pema Chödrön’s When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times after I broke up with my college boyfriend. I know, I know–you’re probably imagining me as a 20-something Bridget Jonesesque character, eating soy ice cream and reading self help books. But it’s the truth, so I’m saying it. There.
This quotation is one of the many that stuck with me: “We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”
So just be sad if you’re sad, okay?
12. Your anger. My husband leaves empty glasses on bookshelves even though I make it a point to always return dishes of all sorts to their rightful place in the kitchen. It makes me mad. It also makes me laugh because I’ve come to accept that this is just going to be what happens around the Miller household for the next forever, but I’m okay with the fact that something this silly makes me mad.
My dad has a purebred pit bull. I’ve worked in animal shelters since high school and dedicated many of my efforts to promoting adoption of this lovable breed that fills our nation’s animal shelters, but my dad has a purebred. This royally pisses me off to the point of tears. It’s okay. I can be mad because this is something I’m passionate about and it doesn’t mean that I don’t love my dad or that I’m not being a good daughter.
13. Your coworkers. In my old job, I had a few coworkers who were so anxious about change that it made me anxious. I’d spend time cajoling them to try to change their minds and their approach, knowing that they’d be much happier if they could just accept that change is the name of the game in a startup but my efforts were futile. That’s okay! My coworkers can be who they are and it doesn’t need to affect how I approach my work or how I feel about my job.
14. Your friends. I have a friend who used to like to sunbathe in my backyard on Saturday mornings and come over for veggie chili every Sunday. Now she’d rather go out to a dive bar every night than hang out and catch up at my house. I’ve wasted so much time discussing this with my other friends who have also noticed this change. Just as you need to accept your family members but you don’t have to necessarily like every single thing they do, your friends are going to do what they’re going to do. Enjoy the time you do spend with them rather than arguing over the time that you don’t.
15. Your pets. I admit it: I have a bad dog. He barks–a lot–and doesn’t get along with kids, other animals, other dogs (except for his dog brother).
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t read up on dog training or seek out a trainer if your budget so allows. Just that you should stop thinking that your pet is going to stop barking of his/her own accord. Have a dog that eats underwear? He’s not going to stop on his own. You need to start working around that perverted inclination.
16. Your responsibility to the world. Yes, it’s annoying to wash out every nook and cranny of the Tofutti container before placing it in the recycle bin but you’ve got a responsibility to the world that includes not being wasteful.
17. Your responsibility to yourself. Only Smokey can prevent forest fires and only you can take care of your body. You have a responsibility to take care of yourself so that your body can get you through the many more decades of your life. This includes eating well, sleeping, exercising and basically seeking your bliss.
18. Your responsibility to your family. You love your family and they love you. You are always going to be watching out for their best interest and be the shoulder to lean on–but that doesn’t mean you’re the only shoulder they can lean on.
19. Your shortcomings. I get cranky while cooking and I use a tip calculator when signing credit card receipts because math of all sorts is the bane of my existence. I’m okay with that.
20. Your talents. Recently my husband ran his fastest 5K in ten years
. His time was third in his age group, earning him a fancy little plaque proclaiming said results. Whenever we talk about this run to friends or family members, my husband always prefaces it with, “Most of the really fast people were probably running the half marathon rather than the 5K.” Why is it so hard for talented people to just accept their talents? He’s fast. It doesn’t matter is Usain Bolt ran in the half marathon, my husband would still be third in his age group for that 5K.
21. Your idea of a perfect night. Like going out and staying up until 3 AM or prefer staying in and binge watching Netflix while cuddling with your dog? Either is fine! You are past the point of needing to be social even if you don’t feel like being social, or fearing becoming that lame friend who never goes out. Happy thirty! Now pass the popcorn.
22. Your idea of a perfect day. Want to go mountain climbing or just lay around reading Peaceful Dumpling posts all day? Same deal as #21.
23. Your natural state. Sundays depress me somewhat because they mean that the weekend’s over. It’s okay to accept that you feel bummed out occasionally.
24. Your makeup-less face. Makeup makes me feel pretty. That’s its job and it does it well. That said, I don’t need makeup to feel pretty. I recommend that you stop saying that your makeup-less face is “scary” and stop feeling like you have to put on makeup to run to the grocery store.
25. Your dirty hair. I mean, who has time for washing hair? And it’s better for your hair to have some of its natural grease anyway.
26. Your addictions. I’m not saying that it’s healthy or recommended that you just accept your inclination to overindulge on potato chips or Sauvignon Blanc. What I mean by accepting your addictions is actually realizing that they’re real so you can come up with a plan for addressing them.
27. Your guilty pleasures. Sometimes I watch Hollywood Insider instead of watching Jeopardy. Judge me. I don’t care.
28. Your reality. I wish I had 0% body fat and could live off of raw vegetables and fruits. I try sometimes, as you may recall from my post about my week long raw cleanse. However, that is just not me. I have no issues with sticking to a vegan diet. I just love tempeh, hot soups and hot food.
29. Your ambitions. I want to open a vegan bed and breakfast someday. I’ve voiced this ambition and my husband says no way, while my friends say that’s a sure way to not make any money. That’s fine with me.
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30. Yourself. You’re not Marisa Meyer. You’re not Scarlett Johansen. You don’t need to be in order to be a confident, strong, beautiful 30-year-old. Just be yourself and everything’s going to turn out fine.
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