Life Lessons at 30

Long time, no see! My summer has been a bit all over the place since I was excited to celebrate my 30th birthday on 31st of July but also sad since my grandmother turned ill and passed away. The stress of both things have made me have a large PEM-crash and I am only slowly recovering from that. However, having been a member of club30 for a month now, I have had time to think about what I have learned in life and what I wish I had learned sooner. I have had my share of ups and downs but still need to learn a lot. This list is made of personal truths and reminders to make my life be filled with my essence and some of them might ring true to you as well.

  1. Listen to your grandparents’ stories – even for the 100th time. There will come a day when they cannot repeat them.
  2. Sit down and eat, you are not a tourist.
  3. Don’t buy things on sale you would not buy at full prize. Keep a budget and pay attention to how you spend your money.
  4. Always have a savings account and enjoy the process of saving up for something you really really want. Because the feeling when you finally get to swipe the card makes you feel so proud and strong, and you know you will love the item even more for that.
  5. Follow your inner clock. Just because others at your age settle down, buy houses, have children etc etc, does not mean you are behind.
  6. Create a life with meaning to you which does not include a partner or children. We are never 100% sure of their arrival but that does not mean your life cannot have meaning on its own.
  7. Everyone knows something you don’t, so pay attention and listen for those lessons.
  8. Choose, don’t hoard.
  9. Kindness > Intelligence > Looks
  10. Floss and take care of your teeth. Always rinse off makeup in the evening.
  11. Spend on good underwear, shoes, and bags. These things will always make you look good and put together no matter the clothes or hairstyle. Same with skincare over makeup.
  12. Learn to mend clothes and repair things in your home.
  13. Always have some base ingredients for simple dinners, and learn a few recipes by heart.
  14. Keep at a creative hobby, even when you feel too busy.
  15. Always hug at goodbyes even if you are in a hurry. There is always a bus later but people might not be.
  16. Stop and smell the flowers and pet the puppies on your way.
  17. Consider what you spend on and what you indirectly support politically and ethically.
  18. Do not sell yourself short, especially with creative work. You have spent time learning and refining your skills, that costs too.
  19. Integrity > publicity
  20. Breathe from your stomach. Yes it expands but so what? You will feel grounded and connected to yourself.
  21. Learn your body’s ways. Respect it and learn to work with it and trust what it tells you, even if medical professionals explain it away.
  22. You cannot always convert people but you can always do what is right on your own. Always speak up about injustice.
  23. There will never be a time where you know everything. Always be willing to learn and adapt.
  24. Learn to say ‘No’, and learn to say ‘Yes’ to what you really want.
  25. Don’t be afraid of silence and being alone. Honour ‘me’-time and reconnect to yourself.
  26. Make firm handshakes and eye contact. Be on time.
  27. Collect good memories.
  28. Decorate your home in a way which makes you comfortable and happy.
  29. Always get explicit consent!
  30. Vote in elections, also local ones. Many people suffered for you to have this right, don’t throw it away.


These are the lessons I have learned or am trying to work into my life. Some of them will be life-long work for sure but my gut tells me these are worth it.

Do you have lessons you live by?


Image: from Samuji SS13 lookbook, photographer: Sanna Saastamoinen-Barrois, Stylist: Minttu Vesala
About Ann-Cathrine 39 Articles
Established 1987 in Aarhus, Denmark. MA degree in English and Art History from Aarhus University, Denmark. Loves books, art, writing, coffee, dandelions, paper dolls, and haute couture.