Turning 30: Lessons Learned

Not training for a fall marathon has given me a wealth of previously non-existent free time.

Random things I do in my free time #534

Random things I do in my free time #534

But I’m totally taking advantage of it. (And not in the good way.) I feel like I’m basically wasting the gift of time.

I’ve gotten antsy. When I’m not working (which is mainly computer work) or exercising, I’ve found myself doing a lot of personal email checking, Instagram-stalking and TV-watching. I get wrapped up in videos from Marie Forleo and Ramit Sethi, which are such awesome learning experiences, but at the end of the day I’m consuming all this content and taking no action.


Hence why I feel less productive when I have too much time.

This is how I entertain myself.

This is how I entertain myself.

I feel no sense of urgency because “I’ll get to it later.” Needless to say, I’ve been feeling stuck in a rut lately. Stuck in my daily routine. With the NYC Marathon on the back burner until next year (I hope I hope I hope next year) I don’t feel like I’ve legitimately been working toward any personal goals.

Why the sudden freak out? I recently had one of those “What am I DOING with my life?!” moments. I remember the exact moment. I went hiking a few weeks ago and as I was standing on the top of the tiny mountain, I felt so invigorated and inspired. In that moment, I wanted to do EVERYTHING. I felt impulsive. I wanted to jump out of a plane (which is notable because I’m terrified of roller coasters. And plummeting to the ground in general.) I wanted to explore the world. I felt so empowered. I went home and immediately wrote a bucket list, which ambitiously included climbing Mt. Everest, until I read “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer and saw the movie Everest and decided I’d definitely not make it down alive. No freaking way. I mean, I get car sick. Let’s not even talk about what altitude sickness (and ice and avalanches and giant holes in the ground that suck you up forever) could do to me.

vasquez rocks los angeles

This is definitely not Everest.

What’s a girl to do?

It probably has to do with my 30th birthday coming and going. I’m prone to life crises. (<–I just googled “what’s the plural of crisis” and smarty pants Brendan over here was like DUH, CRISES.) I for sureeee had a quarter-life crisis. I’m confident I’ll have a huge mid-life crisis. Milestones that shine a light on the passage of time always provoke anxiety in me. (But also get my butt into gear!) A reminder that our precious lives speed right along and we need to LIVE THEM and that, as John Mayer sang, “in half the time I’ll be twice my age”. (YEAH I love John Mayer WHAT OF IT.)

Two months into my 30th year, I’ve found myself reflecting on the person I’ve become and what I’ve learned over the past 5 years.

I’ve learned to be selfish in a positive way. (Making time to take care of myself, recognizing true friends, doing what makes me happy.)

I know what “confidence” means. I have moments of confidence and humbling moments that bury me in humility, but I’ve found the moments of confidence occur much more often than they used to. At least when I compare my life now to being an insecure 25-year-old who was totally unsure about where she wanted her life to go. At 30, I’ve found it easy to believe in myself…for most things. I think I have a much better idea of who I am and care much less about what other people say or think of me. I’m confident in my decisions. Deep in my heart I do feel like I can accomplish anything if I’m determined. A quote I read recently that resonated with me:

confidence isn't they'll like me, it's i'll be fine if they don't

I’ve also learned to recognize excuses. I can remember career-based conversations with my dad in which he’d say “what about XYZ” and I’d say “no, I’d need to go to grad school or it’s too much work or I don’t have the experience, blah blah blah”. And he’d gently encourage me and I’d brush it off. SORRY DAD. I’m apologizing now for not being a better listener and for thinking I knew better. I’m finally learning my lesson: it takes hard work, but it can be done. We must acknowledge that everyone starts somewhere; everyone is a beginner at some point. No one starts off knowing everything.

This sounds like a great time for a wedding photo! (First look with Dad, awww)

This feels like a great time for a wedding photo! (First look with Dad, awww)

All things are difficult before they are easy.

A friend was recently telling me a story about a really tough decision she had to make in a short amount of time. Essentially, should she stay and make a choice that was comfortable and easy, or take a risk and do something that was scary but had the potential to be life-changing?

She dramatically and awesomely told herself “they don’t make movies about the people who stay!” and went for it. She had an incredible, life-affirming experience she’ll talk about forever.

My version of “staying” right now is continuing to feel like I’m wasting time. Continuing to feel like I’m not working toward anything that fulfills me. Honestly, I feel pretty great with life in general. I’m just ready for my next challenge.

So, now our wedding is over and I’ve settled into marriage, 30, and my job (as Creative Director for a pair of yoga studios). I’m wondering what’s next. I’m ready to stop tolerating mediocrity. I’m ready to stop wasting my life away while scrolling through Instagram. I feel like I have the energy and motivation inside me to do something great, whether it be for myself or for one person or lots of people. I just don’t know what it is. I’m anxious to find out. But 30-year-old me knows that when the lightbulb flickers on, I’ll be ready.

What lessons have you learned in the past 5 years?


I’m a writer currently living in New Jersey and blogging about running, fitness, wellness, and motivation. I want every reader to laugh and feel empowered, balanced, and motivated! Subscribe by email to get 1-2 newsletters a month with post updates, my favorite articles, running playlists and more!


  1. October 7, 2015 / 1:07 am

    Girl, get pregnant and then see what kind of crisis you have! I already knew that once I got pregnant I’d feel like my life was ending (because I felt like that when I knew it was even around the corner), but now I want to do EVERYTHING and enjoy EVERYTHING as much as possible! I seriously relish in eating breakfast slowly at 11am because these days will be OVER! I need to go to Paris. I need to do all these things! The age has nothing to do with it for me. I love that confidence quote. I remember hearing when I was in my early 20s about how good your 30s are cause you know who you are by then and are comfortable with it, and I had no idea how being 30 could do that. But it does.

    • October 7, 2015 / 5:00 pm

      OMG Liz, I tell everyone about how I’m totally going to have a crisis whenever I have a kid, haha. It’s terrifying to me to think I might lose pieces of who I am. I mean, I still feel like a kid myself! But I’m hoping I just learn to adjust. I remember people telling me about my 30s too, and it’s so true. Time teaches us so much. I guess I just need to have a little more faith that I’ll keep learning and improving myself!

  2. October 7, 2015 / 4:25 pm

    I’m turning 30 tomorrow.

    I like your post and I know how you feel about wasting life. I won’t say that I’m complacent right now, but I am content. I guess it all depends on background, but I spent so much time pursuing goals in high school, then college, then to get my current job, etc… that the last few years of just working, slowing down, and enjoying life have been really nice. I still have a lot of things I want to do before we have kids, and we’re not getting younger so we’re gradually doing them, but I’m definitely not as high-strung about it as I once was, either :).

    • October 7, 2015 / 5:02 pm

      Amy! It’s so nice to hear from you. That’s such a great point…it’s good to feel content sometimes. I was loving it the past few months or so. I think I’ve just been content for too long and I’m ready for something new. Now that you say that, I think the having kids thing is also making me feel like I need to get everything done NOW. Something to think about!

  3. October 7, 2015 / 8:53 pm

    I’m still sad you’re not running NYC with me (and 49.999 others) but I know you’ll be there next year! I have had the same time of feelings that you’re having now before. I think what I took away from it is: you can do anything you want and no dream is too big but it’s also important to cherish what you have (if that makes sense?!)

    • October 7, 2015 / 9:37 pm

      Wahhh me too. Everytime I read or hear about it I feel so much sadness. Its my absolute favorite race!

      You are so right. Always cherish what you have! I know someday I’ll miss this downtime and this ability to do whatever I feel like doing. I had a convo with the husband last night and he was like…you have done so much! Don’t forget that! It’s a good reminder to not alwayssss be pushing myself :)

  4. October 12, 2015 / 2:48 pm

    I love this post so much! You just put into words what I’ve been feeling since I turned 30.

    • February 4, 2016 / 8:17 pm

      Thanks friend – so glad it resonated with you!

  5. February 9, 2016 / 4:23 am

    I don’t turn 30 until April of 2017. This list really made me think for the first time in a while what I want to know and learn by 30. Maybe even figure out who I should be. These past 6 years have been hard.

    I want/ need to work on confidence. Sticking to a workout regime. Finding my voice.

    It’s not meant to happen and won’t over night but hopefully in time. And by 30
    I will be a new person!

    • February 11, 2016 / 5:05 am

      I’m sorry to hear the past 6 years have been hard – hopefully, at the least, they’re only making you stronger! I hope you find the confidence you’re looking for…I’ve truly found that sports and fitness have helped me find it for myself. You don’t need to be a new person, just a stronger version of yourself that’s as happy as can be :) I’m here for you, girl! Always cheering for you!

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