30 Lessons at 30

I’m 30 today. People have asked how I feel about that, about getting ‘old’, if I’m freaking out, etc etc.

I’m not.

I mean, the existential thoughts always terrify me. But in terms of getting ‘older’… man, I’m only just getting started.

I think if I was in a poorer state of health, physically unfit, living a deadbeat job and had a miserable home life, then yes. I’d be freaking out.

But I’m not. I’m fit, healthy, I love what I do each day (and all the stresses with it) and I love my home life.

I am not lucky. I am completely responsible for my situation. I created my own good fortune. None of it ever ‘just happened’.

I am not special. I am not uniquely talented. I don’t have a freak born resilience to adversity.

I just suffer a never ending series of lessons that I chose to learn from. No more lessons than any of us would probably experience (I guess apart from those you learn when you have put yourself out there more or opened yourself up to more vast experiences).

I’m sure I’ve copped a tonne of those lessons over and over and it took until the 20th time before it stuck. I’m sure I’m still not tuning in to a message when I should be. But I have always made intent to try and learn from every win, every loss, every fuck up.

So now I’m 30 it means I can carry on as some sort of wise but still hip and with it douchebag. To kick it off, here are 30 important lessons I have learnt over the last 30 years of living. Enjoy!

  1. Don’t complain about what you can’t control.
  2. Instant gratification pales in comparison to the fulfilment of long term success. Be patient and work for it.
  3. Be generous.
  4. Travel, everywhere.
  5. If you think you can’t, you can’t.
  6. When you de-complicate things, when you just let yourself see them for what they are in their basic and simple form, when you take a few steps back to see it from another perspective… those things will become less overwhelming, they will be clear, the path will be clear. (Getting back into football again after 6 years away from it. After years of making the game so pressurised, so intense, placing all of life’s importance on it, being so tunnel visioned… By coming back and reminding myself every time that in its simplest form, football is just a game of play, where you move a ball across a field and kick it between two sticks, has made it my second most enjoyable year of football ever. *2007 u’18 premiership will always be no.1)
  7. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. You don’t have to have a house and a mortgage, you don’t have to work 9-5, you don’t have to put your kids in traditional schooling, you are never ‘stuck’ in a job, you are never stuck in anything… everything is whatever you want to make it.
  8. ‘Someday’ means never.
  9. Always be open about your weaknesses, be vulnerable and admit when you make mistakes.
  10. Don’t be a ‘yes’ man. In your attempt to do everything for everybody, yes men will never be able to deliver on all they have said yes to, and will end up letting most people down. ‘No’ men always deliver on the smaller number of things they say yes to, leaving those people thrilled, and those they said no to, a neutral. No one gets let down.
  11. Not everyone’s gonna like you.
  12. Respect all people (this lesson provided by Harper)
  13. Changing yourself in order to fit in is easy, but changing yourself will never bring the happiness or the belonging you seek. Having the courage to be yourself even with the uncertainty of acceptance is terrifying. But with patience, being yourself will always bring you to where you are supposed to be.
  14. Don’t be a pushover, Set boundaries.
  15. Don’t do things purely to get something in return.
  16. Don’t keep chasing the chance to relive a moment. That ‘moment’ will never be duplicated, bathe in the memories instead and chase new moments.
  17. The journey is so much more rewarding than the outcome.
  18. Define what you value most in life, live true to them. Remove the rest.
  19. Be open to spontaneity. They just might change your life for the better, or at worst, be a great story.
  20. Students… go overseas on an exchange program. Actually, everybody… live outside your bubble for a decent period of time. Let the experience expand your world.
  21. Don’t gossip, don’t judge.
  22. Embrace challenges and adversity. Without challenges and failure and adversity and let downs, life would be boring af.
  23. Renting a run down shack with a few mates on the cliffs of Mt. Eliza, as a 23 year old, in summer, was a brilliant decision.
  24. 99% of the time the story you tell yourself is not the true story. Find out the truth first before taking emotional or physical action. (That time that that guy looked at you funny and you decided that he must really not like you, and your weird looking face, and everything else you’re self conscious about, and that you’d better steer clear of him… he was actually just hungry, he wasn’t even looking at you, he was looking at your burger.)
  25. Put your wife first.
  26. Get comfortable having uncomfortable conversations.
  27. Don’t ever worry about what others will think of you (work in progress).
  28. Waiting 28 years for your team to win a premiership was worth every single bit of frustration, hopelessness, suffering and ridicule. It’ll all be worth it again the next time.
  29. Read books.
  30. Slow down, put your phone down and be in the moment.

These lessons aren’t just a mix match of inspiring shit that sound cool when you read them. These lessons have completely shaped much of my life. If only one of these lessons manages to have an impact on you, I’ll be stoked.

Stu.

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