I turned 30 a few weeks ago, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the lessons I’ve learned up until now. It’s been amazing to be able to kick off our round the world trip with such a milestone birthday. I feel like you’re in one of two camps when it comes to turning thirty— either you’re dreading getting older or thrilled to have your twenties in your rearview mirror. I am definitely in the latter camp. To me, thirty feels powerful and exciting.
The day itself was special for a number of reasons, and Anthony pulled out all the stops, hiring us a beautiful speed boat for the day to take us around Capri and the Amalfi coast. The day was spent lounging on the front of the boat sipping prosecco in the sun, getting taken to a hidden beach club for lunch that is only accessible by boat, and spending hours swimming and floating in the warm sea. It was an amazing and beautiful way to welcome thirty, for which I am incredibly grateful.
During the magical hours spent floating weightless and gazing at the sky (mostly while Anthony stayed on the boat as he has a small phobia of the sea… and sharks) I spent a lot of time dreaming about what the next decade might hold, but I also thought a lot about what I’ve learned so far, which brings us to this list, in no particular order:
10 Life Lessons From 30 Years
1. Find the beauty in the everyday. And if you can’t find some, make some.
Life is long, and meaningful moments of great accomplishment are few and far between. To be truly happy we must enjoy the process, and the surest way I’ve learned to do that is to strive to both find and create beauty and meaning in the little things. Make the effort to surround yourself with objects you love, to stop and stand still with a loved one no matter how busy or crazed your schedule, and to take the time to imbue your daily routines with a sense of care and ceremony.
2. Always have an emergency bottle of champagne in the fridge.
Make sure you’re ready to celebrate those moments of accomplishment when they do come, and be sure to pop that cork for the little victories as well as the big ones.
3. Travel light.
I’ve learned the hard way that no matter how long your journey, a weekend or a year, almost any trip can fit into a carry-on and you will thank yourself for it. It’s incredibly freeing to travel light, from the freedom of movement in airports and train stations, to how much less there is to repack, which is especially helpful when your trip has multiple stops.
4. Live light.
Declutter at least once a year. Don’t let the weight of years slowly accumulate until one day you wake up to find yourself buried under the weight of your past.
5. Love should never be a guessing game.
Someone who is genuinely interested in you and has your best interest at heart will never leave you guessing as to their feelings for you. Anyone who leaves you guessing is either uninterested or manipulative– run, don’t walk, in the opposite direction. And while we’re on the subject, kindness and humor are hands down the two most important qualities to have in a partner.
6. Focus on your own side of the street.
The only person you can control is yourself, don’t waste valuable energy trying to fix others and use that energy to improve yourself instead.
7. Learn about investing, and start early.
Learn about the Miracle of Compound Interest, why you should invest in standard index funds, and how much the hidden fees of mutual funds and variable annuities can add up over a lifetime. Money is a powerful tool for freedom, learn how to use it.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Sometimes bad things in life happen. Terrible, horrible, confusing, traumatizing things. Don’t let them define your life, instead reach out for help early and often to get through to the other side.
9. Life is too short to feel ashamed of your body.
Hollywood and the Fashion Industry indoctrinate women from an early age to feel ashamed of our bodies if we don’t look like Victoria’s Secret models, and even if we do. This fake beauty construct is ultimately an insidious tool used to control and keep women from investing our energies in more meaningful pursuits and owning our abilities. Let go of needless shame and embrace the body, and more importantly the gifts and talents, you have.
10. Throw away the script and create your own adventure.
Don’t live according to society or anyone else’s script or expectations. Don’t be afraid to start over if you need to. Create your own adventure and embrace the unknown.
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Carina Covella is a writer and currently working on her forthcoming memoir, Love Dogs, detailing her six month transformational journey from Hollywood through India. Carina graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University cum laude with a degree in Art History. She also attended the Sorbonne in Paris and studied opera at the Manhattan School of Music through the university exchange programs. Until recently she lived in Mill Valley, California with her wonderful Welsh boyfriend Anthony in a house nestled in the trees, but now they’re off on a two year adventure around the world. When she’s not writing or traveling, she loves to cook for her friends and family.