Today I am 30

When I was 20, I thought I’d have a serious break down when I turned 30. I felt like my 20s were my time to shine, a time to be miraculous for achieving things ‘so young’, but at 30 it would just be time to panic.

I’m so glad I was wrong.

Today my 20’s are gone. Today I am 30 years old. Just needed to type it out, say it out loud.

But I’m not panicked today. I’m not stressed. I’m not depressed. What I am is PROUD.

I’m proud of myself and the woman I have become. In my early 20s I had quite the tumultuous time with myself. I didn’t know who I was, or the person I wanted to be, sought too much external validation and never thought I could be good enough. Good enough for what, of course was the question. It wasn’t a pretty picture.

As I enter my 30s, I am just proud to have a better grasp on these taunting questions. I’m proud of what I’ve become, and the 30 years of work that went into this person. I’m successful. I’m independent. I’ve reached many of my life’s major goals. Most importantly, I’m happy. And that, of course, is the end game of it all. Life is good.

The Lindsay Adler you see today has taken a lot of effort. A LOT more than I let anyone see-- emotionally, professionally, and otherwise. I’m still a work in progress, but its more like putting on finishing touches, not trying to form something out of a mush of clay like in my early 20s.

I’ve taken a good, hard look at myself over the past couple of months. I realize that I like the person I am. Of course, I would be foolish to claim there were things I didn’t want to improve upon. All I can do is be aware of these weaknesses, and try to improve them.

But even with these changes, I am comfortable and happy where I am. Trust me, I am cherishing these moments. I feel on top, in control, and I’m not taking it for granted. So many incredible things have been coming my way all at once!

For my 30s? I want more of a good thing. Sure I have some hopes and dreams of what comes next, but even if I can just keep up the brilliant life I have now, that would be pretty freaking fantastic. Life is unpredictable, so I just want to maintain happiness.

Though 30 years certainly doesn’t make me endlessly wise, I did want to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way. I’ve made many more mistakes than I like to admit, but I try turn this mistakes into life lessons.

  1. No one can truly motivate you but yourself.
  2. Sometimes you just need to be held. Logic or words sometimes are irrelevant.
  3. Mistakes are not failures. They are often discoveries.
  4. Embrace what makes you unique, even if that is what some people criticize.
  5. You can definitely help someone too much.
  6. Life is filled with beauty. Seek it out.
  7. If someone else doesn’t value you, that doesn’t mean you don’t have worth.
  8. Add beauty to the world in any way you can.
  9. People don’t care about excuses. They care about results. Make it happen.
  10. Trying to make everyone happy usually leads you to be fake and unhappy.
  11. To be happy doesn’t mean having a life without issues. It means handling those issues and cherishing the blessings you have.
  12. Don’t be your own worst enemy. If you notice a destructive pattern, make a change.
  13. Dreams are nothing without action.
  14. Setting goals are not just about giving you direction. They are about giving you a sense of achievement when those goals are reached.
  15. If you don’t love yourself, then it is difficult for you to love another.
  16. Get rid of people and things that are poison to your life.
  17. If a situation is good, it will change. If I situation is bad, it will change. It is all temporary. Cherish the good, don’t stress the bad.
  18. Don’t compare your own successes to others. It does no one any good.
  19. Rejection is just part of life. If you try to avoid it, you close yourself off to opportunities.
  20. There will always be someone more talented or with more opportunities than you. All you can do is work harder.
  21. Don’t do things for people because you expect something in return. Do it to fulfill yourself.
  22. People change, but almost never how or when you want them to.
  23. Take time to figure out what makes you happy, and adjust your life’s course to move in that direction.
  24. Never stop learning.
  25. Spend your life doing what you love-- not working in order to do what you love in your free time.
  26. Trust takes a lot of work to establish, and a little carelessness to destroy.
  27. Procrastination is the best way to move backwards.
  28. One of the greatest decisions to make in life is when to fight and when to let go.
  29. Learning to be comfortable in your own skin is one of the greatest feelings in life.

Thanks everyone who has helped make me who I am. Looking forward to what the 30s bring for me!

  • Ceci

    So glad you are having a Happy Birthday and I love your life lessons learned. So very true! I hope your 30s bring you continued happiness and success; success being defined by each of us individually, for ourselves.
    At my age (older than dirt) I wouldn’t dare start a life lessons learned list – there wouldn’t be enough paper / screen space available.

  • Deb Schaller

    Happy Birthday, Lindsay! You have learned some valuable lessons and gained wisdom from them and that equals success. Your parents must be very proud of you. I am and I only know you through Creative Live and your online presence. Have a terrific day!!

  • Janice

    insight is a gift. so many go through this life and never find a way to have it. good for you. what a great way to arrive at 30. next year i will be 50, though as a photographer i am young and really just getting started. you are an inspiration and such a tremendous teacher. thank you so much for being such a wonderful role model.

  • Sara Lynn

    I turned 40 this year and your list hits me deep in the heart! Love your work. Hope to listen to you present one day! You are an AMAZING photographer and teacher. Just amazing!