30 for 30

Oct 14, 2020 · Brittani S Avery


Thirty: The end of one's youth, the official age of true adulthood, an accomplishment for some, and a dread for others. I know friends that have stressed over their turning 30, frantic about their lack of [insert random societal status symbol].

I turned 30 this August. My sister had asked me how I felt once I hit that infamous age. I shrugged and said, "Same as yesterday. My wrists hurt, my back hurts, and my knees randomly crack." In all seriousness though, I did not feel any physical difference from my years 24-29. However, I certainly am not in the same mental state as I was five to six years ago, for which I am grateful. In the latter half of my 20's, I have learned a lot about myself, my family, my friends, and the world in general. Here's my 30 for 30 in no particular order.

  1. Owning a house is a huge accomplishment as well as a huge burden. When I purchased my house before the age of 30, many congratulated me on this achievement. However, I didn’t view it as a such a big deal. It was simply a financial decision. Now that I have been in my house a few years, I understand the hard work it takes to maintain an entire house. I have actually missed apartment living where I only concerned myself with the interior of my space. The exterior (lawn care, snow removal, etc.) was not my problem; I miss that simplicity.

  2. Friends can be from different neighborhoods, cultures, or even generations. I have always had a wide variety of friends, but I would say that my most recent circle of friends has been the most diverse: some are wives, mothers, or single like me, many come from different countries and speak different languages, and even one graduated high school the same year as my grandmother. As I’ve gotten older, my circle has only extended.

  3. Space and time alone to detox from social interactions is a necessity. The older I get, the harder it becomes to be "on" for long periods of time, meaning becoming the outgoing, personable, and engaging young woman that I am expected to be. I especially noticed this during my time in Gabon. I’m a quiet person who enjoys her time alone. I feel drained whenever I don’t get a chance to rest from socializing.

  4. Siblings aren't guaranteed friends but they can be some of the best. Sadly, quite a few of my friends do not have good relationships with their siblings, which I had previously thought to be unusual. Now rather than looking at the relationships of others with their siblings, I simply treasure my own, happy to call my sister and brother friends.

  5. Pulling all-nighters are a thing of the past. I recently pulled an all-nighter finishing up a coding assignment for a job interview. I was absolutely dead the next day. So no more all-nighters for me.

  6. Romantic relationships can be (and usually are) overly complicated. I am the first to admit that I don't understand romantic relationships. I have never had a successful courtship and my taste in men tends to border the line of questionable. I prefer things that make logical sense and romance doesn’t seem to be one of those things, so at least for now, I’ll stay happily single.

  7. Being laid-off does not state your worth as an employee; it's just business. I have been laid off twice within the past three years. It can start to make you question if you are a good employee. I know I did. Friendly reminder: it's just business and business will whatever it can to make money or stop from losing it.

  8. Failing the obnoxious interview process of big name companies is not a sign of your ability as a developer. Most developers know about the crazy hard interview process from companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and LinkedIn. People study for months in order to even make it past the first round. For whatever reason, these companies have approached me multiple times asking me if I would like to interview with them (more than likely as a diversity hire). A few times I did interview with them and I only made it to the second round once. Yet, I have had a very successful career as a developer, even currently working on Microsoft websites. Sometimes you don’t have the thought-process those companies are looking, but you can find a company that will appreciate your unique skills.

  9. Saving money early opens up grand opportunities for later. My mother told me early to save at least 20% of every paycheck. Those savings helped me to beat out others when making offers on my house. Save now and benefit later.

  10. A dog is a girl's most loyal companion and will be there for her when others cannot. Meshach, my olde English bulldog, has been by my side for over seven years now. He knows when I’m not feeling the best and refuses to leave my side. He's a good boy.

  11. Hobbies do not dictate one's gender. I have traditionally masculine hobbies: software development, sports, video games. I am still a woman though. I just like different things from what others think girls should like.

  12. Get the feelings OUT! Holding feelings inside is not good, so get them out in a healthy way: writing them out, talking them out, dancing them out, whatever works for you. Just don’t let them settle.

  13. Sometimes it's better to leave old, close relationships behind. Friends come and go. People change. Relationships morph for better or for worse. If things change for the worse, it's best to leave people behind, even if you both were much closer in the past.

  14. Take advice with a pint of salt. Advice is usually given with the best of intentions. However, that advice might not be good for you in your current set of circumstances. Always listen but don’t be quick to activate the advice. Consider it and either follow directly, make adjustments, or ignore it outright.

  15. Set goals for yourself, not because of others. Similarly to the one above it, you may have others such as your family, boss, friends, or even society itself give you goals that you should reach by a certain age or whatever. Goals are a great way to mark your progress, but you may not want to determine your progress by another human’s standards all the time. Sometimes it could be an impossible goal for you but quite achievable for someone else. Set goals for yourself and define the type of person you would like to be. And if that definition matches with what others want, then great! But that doesn’t always have to be the case.

  16. Contentment doesn't come from what you have but from what you think. Jesus' words at Luke 12:15 is the inspiration for this lesson: "Keep your eyes open and guard against every sort of greed, because even when a person has an abundance, his life does not result from the things he possesses." Some of the most miserable people are also some of the richest and/or most famous. Material things, fame, and the like are not what bring true and lasting happiness. So, I try to keep a simple life and do my best in following Jehovah's laws. This has worked for me and I’m pretty content with life.

  17. Getting professional help can lead to gaining a form of normalcy. Mental instability had been a staple in my life for years. Thankfully, I found a good combination of treatment from professionals and I am finally mentally healthy. I definitely encourage seeking professional help. You can always start small with just one therapy visit.

  18. Self-care can be low-key laziness and that’s okay. Self-care for some is stretching, yoga, and meditation. For others it could be retail therapy or hanging out with family and friends in a low-stress environment. Though, for me at times, it's just sleep and being lazy in bed or mindlessly watching YouTube. And that's totally okay if it helps you get out of the funk you're in.

  19. Being an adult is much better than being a high schooler or college student. This is one on which many may disagree with me. I did not enjoy my high school experience and college was a means to an end. As an adult, I get to do what I want when I want for the most part. I have so much more freedom as an adult and would never go back to being a student in long-term schooling.

  20. Small things make me happy. A new package of pens, a custom notebook for the next large assembly, windows-down car rides, warm puppy cuddles...I like simple things. They make me happy.

  21. Emojis are necessary for text-based communication. Sarcasm and other emotions are completely lost in text-based communications. Emojis help to fill in the missing information.

  22. Crowds are scary. While I love gathering with my spiritual brothers and sisters at the assemblies of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I have terrible social anxiety and despise the large crowds. I still try to meet new people at each assembly, so my go-to trick is find someone with a relaxed expression not surrounded by a bunch of people. Older folks are usually a good pick for this trick.

  23. Publishing a book is easy; making money from it is hard. Self-publishing a book is actually not that hard. Maybe a bit time-consuming (going through an editor, getting a custom cover, checking and double-checking for typos) but once it's on the web, that's it. Now the real test begins: making people know about it and getting people to buy it and hopefully review it. If you like Young Adult Science-Fantasy, you might enjoy Element Unknown. You can buy an autographed paperback from me or head over to Amazon for the eBook.

  24. Journaling is a great way to relive awesome memories and to review hard lessons. I have been journaling for years, my earliest typed entry being from 2008. I like to reread some of my old entries and smile at the good times and cringe at the bad.

  25. Family dynamics will change as you age. Most know that the relationship with your parents will change when you get married. However, I have noticed that my relationship with my parents have changed despite my single status. While I am still their child, I am not a child and thus, they treat me as a fellow adult—most of the time.

  26. Invest in a good chair and a spacious desk. If you work from home or spend a bunch of time on the computer, invest in a big desk and a comfy chair with back support. I have no room on my little desk but I recently got a lightly used gaming chair from a guy on Facebook Market and it has saved my back.

  27. Your diploma means nothing, but the mastery of Google-fu is critical. I have a Bachelors in Computer Science and learned much about computing and math. Do I use much of the knowledge I gained during college? NOPE! Do I use Google nearly everyday to overcome coding issues? YEP!

  28. Someone's facial expression (or lack thereof) is not always a good indicator of their current mood. I have a strong case of resting-mean-face. When others ask me if everything is okay, I usually answer back, "Yes, I'm fine. It's just my face." Sometimes, a person is not upset. Sometimes, it's just their face.

  29. If I don't like the way a website works, I can probably make something that better suits my needs. My website currently uses wix.com and it served me well enough until I extended my website's focus. Wix unfortunately has slowed down significantly and makes updating my blog a bit painful. I will be moving away from it soon to something I build. In the long run, I think it will be easier for me.

  30. Be willing to take some well researched and calculated risks; never know how things will turn out until you try. Switching congregations, changing jobs, buying a house, traveling to Africa...all were risks but many turned out well. Wouldn’t have known if I didn't try.

Coming up with 30 things was hard! What are some things you've learned about yourself recently? See if you can do a 20 for 20, 30 for 30, 40 for 40, 50 for 50, etc. Until next time.


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