30 things I learned before turning 30

November 27, 2019


Hola! It's been a very long time since I wrote here last. In this period, a LOT of things have happened. One of them being my turning the big 3-0. I'll be honest, I'm the type of person who always gets the birthday blues. I'm usually overcome by a general feeling of sadness on my birthday. It's not something I can control, despite my hardest attempts. Have you ever experienced this? Doesn't it suck?

This year I was adamant to keep the birthday blues at bay. On that note, we gathered all the people dearest to me and had a big celebration! It was one of the best days ever! Initially, I was dreading leaving my 20's behind but, looking back, I accomplished so much in that decade: I entered and finished medical school, matched into a general surgery residency program, got married, got a puppy, traveled, became an aunt, and so much more. And to keep the ball moving in the positive direction this new year of life, I've decided to share a list of things I've learned in these 30 years. Here they are (in no particular order):

1. Don't take yourself too seriously. Guys, life's too short to be worried about what other people are thinking. If you feel like going to the movies in sweats, do it. If you feel like dancing in the plaza, do it. If you want to belt out all your favorite oldies with your friends on a night out, do it.

2. Family is the most important. Make time to spend with them. My grandfather has Alzheimer's disease and I recently interviewed him using StoryCorps but all I could think about was how I wished I would have done it sooner.

3. Your parents are cooler than you think. Dude, I'm serious. One day the most called person on your phone will be your mom.

4. Don't skip your skincare routine. I'm guilty of being "too tired" and skipping my nighttime routine one too many times. I promised my 30-year-old self to never do so again. Moisturize! Use sunscreen! Your skin will thank you!

5. Do what makes you happy. Short and sweet.

6. Challenge yourself daily. Whether it be with a harder workout routine or learning something new to cook, challenge yourself.

7. Giving is better than receiving. Hands down! There's nothing more gratifying than seeing someone's face light up as they open a meaningful gift.

8. A to-do list is the procrastinator's best friend. How satisfying is it to check things off?

9. Quality over quantity when it comes to friendship. I've had the same group of girlfriends since high school with a few added along the way and I couldn't be prouder of the women they've become. We barely talk nowadays because we all lead such busy lives but, you can bet that we'd be there for each other in a millisecond if they needed us.

10. Time mends broken hearts. There's a saying here in Puerto Rico: "Lo mejor que hizo Dios fue un dia tras otro". This basically translates into: The best thing God did was one day after another. It means that no matter how sad or heartbroken you feel today, tomorrow will be a new day and you have to trust that you'll feel a little better.

11. Nobody's perfect.

12. Time waits for no one. Take advantage of every day and live it to the fullest!

13. "I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become." You might remember this quote from my post on what I learned in medical school. This is the quote that kept me pushing through when I failed my first board exam. It was one of the hardest things I ever went through but it was one of the things that made me stronger.

14. Learn to forgive. Holding on to anger and grudges can only weigh you down.

15. You can't change how other people act but you can change how you respond to them. 




16. Keep your home organized. An organized living space leads to a clutter-free mind. Plus, losing things sucks.

17. Love your body. Love every inch of it. Every scar. Every stretch mark. Every once of cellulite.

18. Laugh as much as possible.

19. Travel often. We aren't all able to do so for so many reasons (e.g. economically, schedules, etc.) but you don't need to fly to India to learn something new about culture or yourself. Find some time to explore locally. You never know what new magical place you'll find.

20. One healthy choice leads to another. One morning you're going to the gym next thing you know, you're skipping that pizza you had your eye on for lunch and opting for a healthier choice instead.

21. Everybody needs a hobby. Find something that keeps you inspired. Learn a new language, go hiking, start a blog!

22. Do what works for you. What works for your friend may not necessarily work for you and that's FINE. You do you.

23. Be present. Let go of your phone at the dinner table and have conversations. No moment happens twice.

24. Be grateful, count your blessings. "Blessings" by Florida Georgia Line is playing in my head right now.

25. Someone else's success doesn't diminish yours. Coming from a very competitive field (medicine and surgery on top of that), this is one that I constantly have to remind myself of.

26. Record your life. Take photos, record videos. Have them to look back on and smile, to show your future children and hopefully grandchildren, to cherish.

27. Always take off your makeup before going to sleep. ALWAYS!

28. Be honest. With your loved ones, with the world, and with yourself.

29. It's okay to binge-watch Netflix in your PJs eating ice cream.

30. Life is a gift.



What is one thing you've learned over your life that has changed you? Let me know below.

Con amor,
Maria Eugenia

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