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.

Learn to Pull Off a GREAT Surprise: This one took me a long time to learn. I was never very good at keeping secrets. But, in the past year and a half I have managed to pull off not one, but four epic surprises. Three of those involved surprise visits to a friend or groups of friends, and one involved my husband Scott’s 30th birthday party. It’s not easy, but the relational currency earned by being able to pull off a great surprise is well worth the time and effort.

Get Plenty of Sleep: This one is a must for me. I spent too much of my college years not practicing this one. Then, I would go home on winter or spring break and spend the whole time in bed sick from running myself ragged. I’ve learned since then to aim high on this one on a regular basis and to make sure sleep shortages are few and far between, usually under circumstances that are outside of my control. For me, the rule is to aim for 8+ hours whenever possible.

Learn to Cook: When I first lived on my own right out of undergrad, my cooking skills were pretty much limited to Spaghetti-O’s, Kraft Mac & Cheese, and pan-fried hot dogs. Learning some basic cooking skills in my mid- and late-twenties has been a life-saver, and probably a bit of a marriage-saver, too! You don’t have to be a wonder-chef, but be able to cut your own veggies, make a few basic dishes off the top of your head, and read a recipe. Cooking your own food at home will also keep you healthier and save you money!

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