30 x 30:

A Tough Love List of Res­o­lu­tions for Your Thir­ti­eth

Hello Mr. Magazine - - 30 X 30 - text by Kevin Der­rick pho­tos by Cait Op­per­mann

Con­grat­u­la­tions, and wel­come to the big 3-0. At this point you’ve seen some of the world, made a bit of life progress, and gen­er­ally have a good han­dle on things over­all. You’re an adult in so many ways, but…you’re not quite there, not yet. Likely you’re hold­ing onto mul­ti­ple trap­pings of youth that keep you from reach­ing your true po­ten­tial. Some are mi­nor habits read­ily changed, while oth­ers are deeply-in­grained traits not so eas­ily shed. To live life to the fullest you have to move past them all though. You’ll feel bet­ter, peo­ple will like you more, and you’ll fi­nally be on the path to be­com­ing a fully-fledged adult… This a good thing.

With that, be­low are a few no­table in­sights gleaned from my tri­als/er­rors and those of my 30-some­thing co­horts. They are meant to give you a head start on what will be the Best Decade of Your Life. Make no mis­take, the items be­low rep­re­sent some real chal­lenges but re­mem­ber this: I only want what’s best for you…Some­day that’ll make sense.

NO MORE WELL LIQUOR.

Things start to fall apart af­ter 30. Mus­cle mass be­gins a slow de­cline, your hair­line be­gins (or con­tin­ues) to re­cede, and your liver ba­si­cally gives up on you. And no won­der – you’ve been drink­ing for a decade at least and likely have hit the bot­tle hard. If you haven’t ex­pe­ri­enced an all-day hang­over, you soon will. Be good to your­self. I’m not say­ing scale back on the booze, but at least make sure it’s qual­ity stuff. Your body and mind will thank you.

LIMIT YOUR SO­CIAL ME­DIA.

In­crease real-time in­ter­ac­tion, talk to strangers, and gen­er­ally get your face out of a screen. It’s not about count­ing the num­ber of your friends but rather about the friends you can count on (or so some smart per­son said once, I think). Any­way life is frig­gin’ beau­ti­ful, go see for your­self.

STAND UP STRAIGHT.

Not just pos­ture but be aware of your body, both the feel and the con­tours (on the train or side­walk, in bed…) Be­ing present and con­fi­dent in your form is a good thing for sure, and peo­ple will no­tice. Be proud, stand tall.

GET PRO­FES­SIONAL WITH PER­SONAL HY­GIENE.

Sure, you can cut your own hair, trim your nails, shave your neck­line, and ask your boyfriend/friend/f-buddy for a mas­sage. And most of the time, that’s fine. But there are pro­fes­sion­als who do all those things and more, even bet­ter. So go ahead and treat your­self – it feels good, helps the econ­omy, and you de­serve it.

START COOK­ING. FOR YOUR­SELF AND OTH­ERS.

A great way to en­ter into your 30s is by em­brac­ing your in­ner foodie. Not just try­ing new things – like you know, eth­nic cui­sine, veg­eta­bles, non-Star­bucks cof­fee – but re­ally fig­ur­ing out how to cook well. You needn’t buy ex­pen­sive kitchen equip­ment to start, just your ba­sics will do for now. Be­gin with an online recipe or two and a healthy cu­rios­ity. Your goal should be mas­tery of a nice, well-rounded meal. Once you’re con­fi­dent enough on your own, you can cook for roomies, friends, lovers. Don’t worry about mis­takes as peo­ple are ex­tremely for­giv­ing. Just try not to poi­son any­one and you’ll be fine.

BUY REAL ART.

You’re a thought­ful in­di­vid­ual who ap­pre­ci­ates nu­ance, cre­ativ­ity, and the finer things in life. Say it with some art in your home. While you may have a flim­sily-framed copy of a fa­mous work on the wall, the real in­tent of this res­o­lu­tion is to have a cre­ative work fash­ioned by hu­man hands in your abode. Paint­ing, sculp­ture, draw­ings, prints, let­ter­press, and orig­i­nal photography all ap­ply. And if it’s 2D, get it framed.

TRY YOGA.

Give the prac­tice a chance – it’s not all hip­pies, chant­ing, and tam­bourines, you know. The ben­e­fits of strength, en­durance, flex­i­bil­ity, bal­ance, and agility can all be yours, ei­ther as a solo ven­ture or a sup­ple­ment to some other fit­ness gig you have go­ing on. If you need any more rea­sons, here are two: you’ll get real bendy and be sur­rounded by beau­ti­ful, healthy bendy folks, too. So there.

STOP SMOK­ING.

Or I will per­son­ally smack you. Out­side of all the ridicu­lous health rea­sons, it makes you look trashy and in­se­cure. Chem­i­cal stink and leath­ery skin, no thanks…Don’t smoke? Give up another vice: it’s good for the soul.

DO­NATE. VOL­UN­TEER.

In no small part, turn­ing 30 means giv­ing up your self­ish ways. By this age, you’ve made some de­cent progress in life with the help, love, and sup­port of oth­ers. Even if you’re not quite where you thought you’d be at this point, your for­tu­nate po­si­tion is a plat­form from which you should give to those in need. Char­ity is great in all its forms and feels su­per great, too.

TAKE SOME TIME OFF, JUST YOU, IN THE WOODS.

Maybe it’s the lure of a by­gone pas­time, but the na­ture-plus-soli­tude com­bi­na­tion is kinda trans­for­ma­tive. You have time to un­plug and de­com­press, get some fresh air, and find some real per­spec­tive. Make no mis­take, there’s a hur­dle of bore­dom/anx­i­ety (mad­ness?) that comes with not hav­ing tech­nol­ogy, a set sched­ule, or a con­stant stream of in­for­ma­tion at hand. Be­ing quiet is hard work, but only at first.

CRE­ATE A TIME CAP­SULE.

Let me ex­plain. Your take on the world is both highly im­por­tant and ex­tremely tran­si­tory. Some­times you catch a glimpse of a truth and at other times you can’t see the for­est from the trees. Write a lit­tle note to your­self about what you know and what’s hap­pen­ing right now and how you feel about things. When opened at some des­ig­nated point in the fu­ture you’ll re­al­ize how very wise (and how very fool­ish) you can be all at once.

BE­COME A GOOD HOST.

Few things ready a home for an ed­i­to­rial mag­a­zine spread like the ter­ror of hav­ing peo­ple judge you through your decor. Not only will you check off those stub­born lit­tle items on your to-do list, but you’ll pull in all va­ri­ety of skill sets as well: cook­ing, drink mas­tery, ap­pro­pri­ate light­ing, a well-made bed, a wellplaced stack (no fan­ning, please) of smart reads, and more. En­deavor to not have guests BYO if pos­si­ble, but you needn’t go luxe. A good party isn’t based on a bud­get, but rather how mem­o­rable you made it.

TAKE UP A SPORT.

Worth say­ing that be­gin­ning around 30 you’re no longer given a free pass when it comes to gen­eral health, mus­cle mass, re­cov­ery, or a flat stom­ach. Did you know that if you do noth­ing you’ll lose 10% of your butt by the time you reach 40? It’s true. Bik­ing, weights, run­ning, some­thing with a ball…Meet peo­ple, get mov­ing. Stay perky.

GET DE­CENT BED­DING.

For your­self, and es­pe­cially for “guests.” In­cludes frame, mattress, sheets, down com­forter, and a va­ri­ety of pil­lows. Don’t ig­nore this last part! As an in­som­niac with a va­ri­ety of sleep po­si­tions, I can’t tell you how much I’ve ap­pre­ci­ated op­tions on sleep­overs. It means the dif­fer­ence in a hasty exit ver­sus break­fast made for you in bed. No, re­ally.

DO SOME­THING THAT TER­RI­FIES YOU.

I’m not say­ing put your­self in harm’s way, but rather that not ev­ery­thing is as harm­ful as you think. Afraid of heights? Go rock climb­ing. Hate pub­lic speak­ing? Give a pre­sen­ta­tion at work. Emo­tion­ally scarred by a loser ex? Get vul­ner­a­ble and fall in love, damn it. Life’s too short to be ruled by fear. Get brave.

READ A BOOK. A PA­PER ONE.

There’s just no sub­sti­tute for get­ting lost in a real book – it’s a con­scious ef­fort at slow­ing down and re­lax­ing. Al­ter­nately, you might read a printed jour­nal or even just a pa­per news­pa­per. The point here is to get some ink on your hands…En­deavor to browse used book­stores, too. Trea­sures await.

WEAR CLOTHES THAT FIT.

No, no, this isn’t a cri­tique of any par­tic­u­lar body type, not at all. Rather it’s sim­ply say­ing that af­ter ten years-plus as an adult you should have a sense of what looks right on you. Steer to­wards that, and know that in­vest­ing in fewer, higher-qual­ity items will win out over cheap vol­ume ev­ery time.

START YOUR OWN BUSI­NESS.

Be­lieve me when I say this: You’re ta­lented and have some­thing to of­fer the world. Whether it’s in cre­ative or ac­count­ing, as a for-profit or a non-, you will learn so much about your­self and the world when ven­tur­ing off on your own. Be­ing an en­tre­pre­neur isn’t easy, but noth­ing great ever was.

STOP GOS­SIP­ING. BE KIND.

Enough with this. It’s not coy or funny, and be­ing a bitch is never, ever a good thing. Point in fact it re­flects more on you than on the per­son you’re tar­get­ing. Be nice, I prom­ise it’ll come back to you three times over. Truth.

LEARN HOW TO MAKE A SIG­NA­TURE COCK­TAIL.

To be clear, this does not in­clude any­thing that ends with “-ini,” is the color of chil­dren’s ce­real, or that comes with a straw. Also, no more drink­ing from a straw. Just, no.

NO MORE TV. TAKE UP A HOBBY.

This is a two-part res­o­lu­tion… First, quit the TV shows (i.e., all that net­work and cable pro­gram­ming that’s not a film). They’re not ed­u­ca­tion­ally worth­while, cul­tur­ally sig­nif­i­cant, and/or so­cially nec­es­sary. Peo­ple got along for mil­len­nia with­out them and you will too! With all your new­found free time you’ll now be able to pick up a hobby or maybe even some skills. The idea here is to do some­thing that is ed­u­ca­tion­ally worth­while, cul­tur­ally sig­nif – you get the point.

GET A DE­CENT PAIR OF SHOES.

You have no idea – NO IDEA – what a dif­fer­ence qual­ity makes in your ev­ery­day life. When you don’t wince at ev­ery step and/or when peo­ple com­pli­ment your hand­some-ass, good-look­ing shoes. In all things fash­ion, re­mem­ber to shop around and try many pairs on. Bet­ter one pair of solid shoes that you love and feel good about than a dozen lame ones you never wear.

RE­DUCE TAN­NING. MOIS­TUR­IZE.

Let’s be hon­est and agree that 1. Skin can­cer isn’t fun, and 2. We’d like to age grace­fully. Do­ing th­ese things is not van­ity or self-ab­sorp­tion, it’s just smart livin’.

MOVE. TO A CITY, SMALL TOWN, ANOTHER COUN­TRY… SOME­WHERE DIF­FER­ENT.

Most peo­ple die within 60 miles of their birth­place, how sad is that? En­deavor for that 61st mile and be­yond. You’ll find that world’s chock full of won­der­ful folks and things.

STOP BRAND­ING YOUR­SELF.

You’re not a prod­uct, you’re a per­son. Of course you have your fa­vorite things, a col­lec­tion you’ve no doubt de­vel­oped through trial and er­ror over time. But we don’t need to be re­minded of them.

TELL YOUR FRIENDS, FAM­ILY, PART­NER, ETC. THAT YOU LOVE THEM.

You’re not al­lowed to be scared by or cyn­i­cal about it any­more. Growthe­fuckup. No mat­ter your style of emo­tional at­tach­ment, love is one of the truest, most grat­i­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ences in ev­ery one of its forms, from pla­tonic to ro­man­tic and ev­ery­thing in be­tween. Say­ing those three lit­tle words means “You make me happy,” “I like hav­ing you around,” and “Thank you” all at once. Who doesn’t like hear­ing that?

PUR­CHASE AN HEIR­LOOM.

Not a tomato. A piece of fur­ni­ture, or rug, or ob­jet d’art (Say it again: ob­jet d’art… mmm). In the strictest sense, this is some­thing that you’ll pass down to your chil­dren one day. Find some­thing that’s a clas­sic: some­what time­less, sturdy and in de­cent shape, of good pur­pose/util­ity, and that makes your lit­tle heart go pit­ter pat­ter. Bonus: En­deavor to re­place an Ikea-qual­ity piece with some­thing of high qual­ity on a yearly ba­sis. Yes, please.

RE­SOLVE TO DO MORE.

Look­ing for­ward, there may be some things you want to do in the next ten years. Any­thing is game, re­ally. Here are some sug­ges­tions: Fall in love, visit your childhood home, get into pol­i­tics, learn to swim, delete those com­pro­mis­ing pic­tures of you online, learn to cook Szechuan cui­sine. Again, any­thing works.

TAKE THIS LIST WITH A GRAIN OF SALT.

As much as this is a com­pen­dium of some of my own in­sights, I def­i­nitely don’t have all the an­swers. Deep down you know what’s best for you. Fol­low that feel­ing my friend, you’re wiser than you know.

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