30 Things I Learned By Age 30

turning 3030. 3-0. The Dirty 30. The Beginning of Middle Age. The End of the Best Years of Your Life.

I’ve heard people describe turning 30 in almost every way imaginable. So, why am I talking about this? Why does this matter? Well, you see… I turned 30 this year. A few weeks ago, actually (as I write this).

Before I get too far ahead, let me back it up a bit. Planning my 30th birthday party took some thinking… and much thought. A quick search on Pinterest brought up many different themes, but two seemed to dominate the page. “Death to my 20s” or “Cheers to 30 years.” That was it. Two very different perspectives for welcoming you to your third decade of life. Funeral or Party. Life or Death.

From a young age, many women my age were taught that you should be settled down by 30. This meant you were married, well-educated, had a nice home, a stable job, and one or two children — the whole shebang. The times have changed since the ’90s. Women have a voice. We have power. We are making waves and carving out paths for ourselves that would likely shock or inspire our great-grandparents. So to open Pinterest and see these two choices opened my eyes and I began to think about the last (almost) 30 years of my life. It led me to write the following 30 things I learned before turning 30.

  1. Time is the most precious gift you can give someone. It beats money 100 times over.
  2. Love your body — not based on its looks, but for its strength and what it is capable of.
  3. Always be kind, but do not be a pushover.
  4. You are never too young or too old to have a heart for service. Volunteer your time for a cause that matters to you.
  5. You do NOT need to be “settled” at 30 in order to be happy.
  6. Finding yourself is a journey… a very very very hard journey that rivals being a contestant on Naked and Afraid.
  7. Use sunscreen. For the love of God, use sunscreen.
  8. And Vitamin C drops.
  9. And retinol.
  10. Learn to say no. Boundaries are a girl’s best friend.
  11. Find gratitude in everyday situations — the good, the bad, the ugly. There is always something to be grateful for.
  12. Treat yo’ self (thanks, Donna and Tom).
  13. Kids may not be for you, and that is okay.
  14. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for the choices you make, especially when these choices do not impact them.
  15. The only expectations that you should be living up to or working toward, are your own.
  16. Perfection doesn’t exist. Society determines perfection and society is ever-changing. So be you — that is MORE than enough.
  17. Always forgive someone who does you wrong. Holding a grudge will only hurt you in the long run.
  18. Take the time to learn a new skill that is completely out of your wheelhouse. You will be surprised where it leads.
  19. Outside opinions should not dictate your actions. Welcome the advice, but limit what you choose to accept.
  20. Apologize when you are wrong. Your pride can be pushed aside in order to reconcile.
  21. Life happens. Death happens. When it does happen, take some time to handle it the best way you know how. There is no one right way to grieve, just healthy ways.
  22. There is no shame in going to therapy or taking antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications to help you get through the day.
  23. Pregnancy is not always beautiful. Complex pregnancies, traumatic births, and a NICU stay are rarely on the Baby Bingo cards.
  24. Fight fair, even when the other person doesn’t. It says more about them than it does you.
  25. There is nothing stronger than a mother’s love for her child(ren).
  26. Marry for love and compatibility, not convenience. Love brings passion. Compatibility brings communication. Life is not always convenient, especially with relationships.
  27. Travel while you can with whom you want and do it while you’re young(er), and start an annual trip with those closest to you.
  28. Learn to forgive yourself, even for the things you can’t say out loud.
  29. DO NOT BUY A WHOLE SET OF CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS AT THE STORE FOR YOUR TREE. Start collecting ornaments from trips, milestones, gifts, crafts, or experiences. At the end of the year (and over the course of time), you’ll have a collection of memories that are great conversation starters and can be passed down from one generation to the next.
  30. There are five things in life that you should ALWAYS look for: Your passion, your voice, your faith, your love, yourself.

The same person I am now is not the same person I was at 20, just like the person I was at 20 wasn’t the same person I was at 10. I’ve worn many hats over the last 30 years. Daughter, girlfriend, fiance, wife, mother, college grad (x2), nonprofit founder, and CEO. Each year I find myself building upon the person I was, just one lesson at a time. With every birthday, I reminisce and deal with the loss of the person I was a year prior. However, this year while turning 30, I realize it’s a new decade. Middle age used to scare me. I am still not where I want to be in many aspects of my life. But this year, as I blew out my candles, I realized that even though I said goodbye to my 20s, I get to meet this braver, older version of myself as I step into 30. Cheers to 30 years! 

How did you celebrate turning 30?

Brittany Hutto
Brittany Hutto was born and raised in a small (but fast-growing) town in Florida. She married her high school sweetheart and is the mother to the most kindhearted and adventurous little boy named Mark. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of North Florida where she majored in Public Health and Health Education. She served her community during her time working with underserved populations. After a complex pregnancy, she and her husband welcomed Mark to the world at 27 weeks and 4 days. She stepped away from her career to become a stay-at-home mom so that she could take her son to his many specialist appointments, therapies, and surgeries. She works tirelessly to ensure her son is happy, thriving, and meeting every milestone. Brittany enjoys many activities with her family. In her free time, you may find her reading a good book, spending time with her family out on the boat, DIY projects, and giving back to the local NICU. She currently manages her own blog which invites you to come along on her and her son’s journey from complex pregnancy, to the NICU, and every diagnosis and surgery in between. Brittany also manages a program called Mark’s Mission which gives back to local NICUs. She is an advocate for NICU support and research and is a current student pursuing her Master of Public Administration with concentrations in Nonprofit Management and Health Care Administration at the University of North Florida. Her dream is to establish Make Your Mark as a non-profit organization to give back to more local NICUs and serve as a resource for local parents with children who have superpowers.


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