There are certain times of year that naturally push me to spend a bit more time reflecting than I spend doing. Those times of year tend to coincide with natural transitions–the turn of a new year, the change of seasons, and of course birthdays. This year, as I inch closer and closer to the three-decade milestone, I am finding myself feeling both nostalgic and reflective.

The result is this series of blog posts over the 10 days leading up to my 30th birthday in which I am sharing a total of 30 lessons that I have learned in 30 years of life.

Value and Be Good to Your Friends: The best friends are hard to find and even harder to keep. This is an area in which I am still growing, but I have learned over the course of the past 30 years that the best of friends are worth long-distance visits, the extra effort of keeping in touch, showing up when needed, and making sharing life a priority. So, show up. Visit. Surprise them. Make the effort to call, text, and write handwritten notes.

Treasure Your Family: I learned a lot about this when Scott and I moved three and a half hours away from home to set up shop here in Dayton, and again when my only sister moved to the middle of nowhere in Colorado for a couple of years. Family is important, and they are worth every ounce of time you can spend with them. Become friends with your parents. Call your siblings and your parents. Make an effort to be at family functions whenever possible. Invest in your spouse.

Treat Everyone With Respect and Dignity: Everyone deserves a basic level of respect and dignity. Everyone. It’s amazing that even though we are taught the Golden Rule from the time we are infants and toddlers, it is one of the hardest lessons to learn and continue learning throughout life. “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” Remind yourself of that next time you are in a sticky situation with another human. You never know what inner battle they are fighting.

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