30 Lessons I Learned Before 30

adviceVirginia Hart2 Comments

As I approach the big 3-0, I find myself reflecting on lessons I've learned so far in life. I'm the first to admit that no one has it all figured out (especially me), nor is there "the best way" to do anything in any role we're given in this lifetime. If I could go back, however, and give myself advice and reminders I've learned from either others' wisdom or my own experience, these are a few I would share:

  1. Listen to airline attendants. You can't take care of anyone else if you haven't taken care of yourself first. Never feel guilty for making your needs a priority.
  2. Happiness is simply a choice you make every morning when you wake up.
  3. Sometimes breaking up and growing as an individual is the main reason your love story will ultimately work out in the end.
  4. In a time of social media and online sharing, make sure there is a part of your life -- too personal or too meaningful -- that you only document inside your home and heart. On the same note, never assume you know what all is going on in someone's life based on what they choose to share online.
  5. Know when your Cinderella time is up and your taxi turns into a pumpkin. 99% of the hangovers aren't worth it. *P.S. Keep an eye out for the 1% ;)
  6. Always pay your credit card bill in full.
  7. Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but gets you nowhere.
  8. Speak less than you know, have more than you show.
  9. You can't make everyone happy, nor is it your job to do so.
  10. Your character is best seen in how you act when no one is looking or how you treat a stranger who has nothing to offer you.
  11. Never stop reading, taking classes, traveling, meeting new people, or making new friends.
  12. It's better to give than receive. On the same note, don't deny others that gift by never asking for, or allowing, help.
  13. Strive to be a better listener than talker.
  14. Always seek humor, especially in trying situations.
  15. Create and refine your own, unique personal style. It will be the first way you say who you are.
  16. Marry someone who brings out your silly side.
  17. With every interaction, you teach someone how to treat you.
  18. Comparison is the thief of joy. We're all on a different path. Choose to never derive sadness from others' happiness or satisfaction from others' misfortune.
  19. Aim for grace, not perfection.
  20. If you don't stand up for yourself in your job or career, no one else will. Negotiate your salary. Charge what you're worth.
  21. Doing nice things for people just because is the best reason to do them.
  22. Despite popular belief, not everything happens for a reason. Some things will just happen, and they will be nothing short of horrible. There is no justification, and the best thing you or anyone can say is, I'm so sorry. 
  23. Learn how to pick up a phone or walk up to a counter, introduce yourself properly, and articulate an issue without getting flustered. You'll forget sometimes. Re-learn.
  24. The world owes you nothing. You gotta work your butt off. The harder you work, the more luck you'll have.
  25. Live alone at least once in your life.
  26. You will actually have more time in your day if you take time to exercise, because you will operate more efficiently and sleep better in the remaining hours.
  27. People can either drain you or uplift you. Take note. It's okay to unfollow people in real life.
  28. Never underestimate kindness, the power of a handwritten thank-you note, or cookies.
  29. Take risks. You'll surprise yourself.
  30. How you do anything is how you do everything.

also, this quote:

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends, and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

-Mother Teresa

5 Things That Will Help You Get Organized

advice, books, organizationVirginia HartComment

I was in Staples the other day and witnessed a flurry of back-to-school shopping that put the biggest smile on my face. I even helped a girl choose which pens to purchase during a moment of indecision. (If you follow me on Snapchat and witnessed my awkward spiel on the best pens, you know I'm a huge nerd on the topic.) Although I'm no longer in school, this time of year will always represent an opportunity for a fresh start. In order to take advantage of a new beginning, however, I believe we must set aside time to get things in order, adjust any habits that need adjusting, and actually press the reset button instead of waiting for it to reset automatically -- it won't. I derive a sense of contentment and peace from feeling organized, and I've learned that having and using the right tools to facilitate the process is very important.

Below are five organizational tools that I've either been using for a while or to which I've been recently introduced ↓


1. If there's one thing we learned from Carrie Bradshaw - ya know, aside from the importance of girlfriends and cute shoes - it's to back up our computers. I use this external hard-drive and try and back up once every two weeks, sometimes more. I keep all files for clients for one year (sometimes longer for friends and family) and then I get rid of anything that I don't think I'll use again. I've also started using Dropbox to save and share a lot of things. I really love that it syncs with Carousel which backs up the photos on my phone. When you know that important files are both saved and easily accessible, it makes life a lot easier. (image via)

2. Part of my crazy method in feeling organized is mapping out a plan, and getting things transferred from my head to paper. Jumbo post-its are my jam for this. I use them for to-do lists, scratch pads for calligraphy, to sketch out ideas, and to write / draw freely to clear my head. I'm all about the neon, too. (images via)

3. I know I've mentioned this before, but Meg Biram's GSD (get shit done) notepad collection is incredibly helpful to break down your list into actionable items, fill out a calendar the best way for you (so many options out there are cluttered with quotes and other nonsense) whether that's divvying up times of day, individual people in your fam, or even planning meals. And I use her focus post-its when I need to prioritize three main things I want to accomplish in a day which is helpful when I'm feeling particularly scattered. (image via)

4. I spent a few days with my cousins recently which was such a treat. One of them commutes from his fraternity house at Stanford to code at a tech company in San Francisco. (#smartcookie) Although I'm somewhat tech averse with my affinity for all things paper, I definitely still rely on my phone and online calendar for certain tasks and reminders. So when I asked him what apps I needed, he told me about Trello. I love that I can easily drag things from one column to another, based on their stage of completion (seeing things on the "done" list is so gratifying!), and that I can share the lists with others for easy project management. It's kind of similar to Wunderlist, which I've mentioned in the past, so I'm in the process of figuring out which one I like the most. (image via)

5. If you're going to take any of my advice, please let it be to READ THIS BOOK. I started implementing the KonMari method this past weekend and I know this is cheesy to say, given the title and all, but it's already changing my life. There's a reason millions of copies have sold! Although I was a little peeved that "stationery" was misspelled three times in the book (c'mon, editors!), this is my must-read suggestion for the remaining weeks of summer if you haven't already done so. Mom, I mailed you my copy this morning ;) (image via)