7 lessons to learn before 30

As you approach 30, this milestone will come with a lot of expectations that may better be left ignored.

When I made the trek from Mandeville to Kingston for university just over a decade ago, it was the first step on my proverbial journey of a thousand miles. I would have my undergraduate degree by age 23, my Master’s a couple years after, a luxury vehicle,  my dream job and looking to buy my first apartment all by 30 years old. *Cue 30*

Needless to say, perhaps I should have measured my expectations. Many of us have that stark moment of realisation where the things considered measures of success become constructs of a society and social media driven age that foster comparisons of individuals’ achievements without context. As an aside, let’s clear up one thing, no one is sharing their failures on social media, OK? Good.

As we strive to live our best lives, free of unrealistic expectations, here are some things that have helped:

Ask for that raise or promotion

You work well with a team and always exceed the expectations of the job. There’s no reason you shouldn’t make yourself available for that promotion.

You know you’re a team player, have put in the hours and delivered results so why should Robert from Human Resource fill that recent better-paying vacancy when you are just as qualified? Put yourself out there and ask for what you want. And also be prepared to not get it because life just isn’t that easy. Be ready for everything that is coming to you and also to accept those that are not meant for you.

Don’t feel pressured to have a child

Children are great but admittedly, they’re not for everyone. Don’t feel pressured into having them just because people want you to.

Children are great but they aren’t for everyone. Don’t let societal expectations convince you that you are somehow less than because you don’t have or don’t want children. There are seven and a half billion other people on this planet; there is no need to feel rushed into creating a mini-me just to check a box on someone else’s list.

Learn a new skill

It’s never too late to learn a new skill. Online courses are available and often free of charge. (Photo: Global News)

If forty is the new thirty then thirty is a pimple-faced teenager about to step into the world. Do not limit yourself to what you have done and what you think you are capable of doing. If you want to learn to swim, take lessons; learn a new language, buy Rosetta Stone; start a business, then write that plan and hustle all your relatives into investing in it.

Take your vacation, ALL of it

Take your vacation, everyone needs to relax and reboot.

God forbid you die tomorrow, your job will likely be advertised before the nine night. Work is important but it isn’t everything. Time well-spent with family and friends, participating in a favourite hobby or binge-watching Netflix are the things that will bring you solace. We are not machines, and even those need to be rebooted sometimes. Always remember to make time for you.


There are so many things to see and do in the world, explore beyond your little dot in the sea.

I have repeatedly told ‘town’ people that Kingston is not Jamaica. By extension, Jamaica is not the world. There is so much to see and do. Take every opportunity to have a life well-lived. Contrary to one cousin, Kathmandu and Timbuktu are real places, why not explore them? See beyond the limitations of your circumstance and situation and make decisions that “spark joy”, to quote author and television host, Marie Kondo.

Forget your job and focus on your career

If you are working for the sake of paying bills, we can almost guarantee that you will be unhappy.

Your job gets you from one month’s bills to another. Your career does that plus allows you to save, invest, vacation and plan for retirement but, most importantly, be happy. If you wake up dreading the office daily, maybe that’s not the place for you. Maybe an office isn’t for you. This is the perfect time to reflect on all the things that have ever truly made you content and work towards making that your long-term goal.


No one is telling you to work towards being a Calvin Klein model or the next Naomi Campbell, but exercise has amazing health benefits. It rejuvenates your body and mind. Plus, nothing makes you smile quite like fitting into those jeans you bought on sale but had no realistic shot at wearing.