30 Things I’ve Learned in these 30 Years…


Recently I celebrated my birthday and I have to say, I’m really loving my thirties. I feel wiser, I look slightly older which I love but feel young enough that nothing hurts (yet). I am independent in a way I wasn’t in my 20s and I’ve finally found my rhythm in life. One of my favorite expressions is “If I only knew then what I know now”… so I thought I’d just write it down. The things I’ve learned in the thirty-some-odd-years for anyone younger listening and for anyone older who might like to share with me their lessons so that my next 30 years are just as bright…

1. Have a dream. Follow your dreams.

2. Failures are not mistakes, only the lessons that give us stories.

3. GO WITH YOUR GUT. Always, always, always.

4. “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” That is what I think every time I get a “little nervous”. We don’t know what is about to happen so we can’t live our lives as if we do.

5. You never know what someone is dealing with personally so be kind.

6. Knowledge is power and opportunity. Opportunity is everything. 

7. You may end up loving the things you once hated.

8. Do what you love for a living so you can love what you do. It’s the only time we’ve got, might as well spend it as well as possible.

9. Money does not define happiness.

10. It is the things that people make look easy that are the hardest to do.

11. A great photograph needs no caption because it has an idea, story or message within it.

12. Never be afraid to try something new.

13. Talk about what you love.

14. Giving is better than receiving.

15. Best friends are the keepers of your life’s memories.

16.  You are not the clothes you wear.

17. I would rather be in a room full of kings, than be king of the room.

18. There’s no free lunch in nature.

19. Life is too short for bad: beer, wine, coffee, food, people.

20. You never stop learning.

21. Your dreams can and should change.

22. Women get more beautiful with age.

23. The world is not as bad a place as the news can lead you to believe.


25. Don’t be in a hurry to graduate college, get a job, get married, have babies. Have the freedom to spend your 20s exploring yourself and the world around you.

26. “He who does not take risk, does not drink Champagne.” Risk = reward

27. Perfection is boring.

28. Like attracts like. Create the kind of work you want to keep creating. Work with the kinds of people you want to keep working with. Surround yourself with people you believe in.

29. Only the best is good enough.

30. Treat your first like your last and your last like your first.


Thank you so much to my darling friends, travel companions, creative collaborators who constantly keep me inspired, dreaming, and quite entertained. I’ll never forget this birthday party of gowns, Champagne, lobster pasta and French chocolate cake you gave me on Oscar Sunday. It was one of the best nights of my life, spending this birthday with y’all.

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29 thoughts on “30 Things I’ve Learned in these 30 Years…

  1. Jamie, from the bottom of my heart thank you for continuing to inspire and enrich all our lives with posts like these! I’m in my mid-20s and this is beautiful advice <3 Cheers to the next 30! XO

  2. Thank you for this post 🙂 I’m not that much younger than you, but lists like these encourage and reassure me on my own path. And happy belated birthday greetings!

  3. You are such a beauty, and what a majestic photograph of you!

    Being in my upper 20’s, I’ve realized some of these things on your list the hard way, and am still in the process of/looking forward to learning the others. Thank you always for sharing, and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that we all look forward to seeing all the wonderful opportunities that come your way in your 30’s! You have so many wonderful things ahead of you!

    Happy belated birthday to an ever so elegant woman! <3

  4. I’m 35 and I have nothing figured out yet. So I guess my one bit of advice is that things happen to people at different times in their lives. I’ve spent a lot of time being worried that I don’t have what others do at my age, but think I’ve finally worked out that I should just live the unique life I’ve been given – and that goes for everyone else. Happy Birthday – enjoy your 30s! xoxo

  5. This is beautiful! Thank you for this, and Happy Belated Birthday!!! #4 was especially reassuring to me as a 25 year old:

    4. “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” That is what I think every time I get a “little nervous”. We don’t know what is about to happen so we can’t live our lives as if we do.

    So true!

  6. Wonderful lessons! I’m 47 now and have experienced things I never saw coming…good and sad. But my aunt sent this poem to me the day after one of the most difficult days of my life. To me, it sums up what I’ve learned. I have no idea who wrote it, I’ve seen it attributed to different people. There is an incredible amount of truth to it!

    After a while you learn the subtle difference
    Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,

    And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
    And company doesn’t mean security,

    And you begin to understand that kisses aren’t contracts
    And presents aren’t promises.

    And you begin to accept your defeats
    With your head held high and your eyes open,

    With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child.
    You learn to build your roads

    On today because tomorrow’s ground
    Is too uncertain for plans, and futures have

    A way of falling down in midflight.
    After a while you learn that even sunshine

    Burns if you get too much.
    So you plant your own garden and decorate

    Your own soul, instead of waiting
    For someone to bring you flowers.

    And you learn that you can really endure,
    That you really are strong

    And you really do have worth
    And you learn and learn … and you learn

    With every goodbye you learn.

  7. I loved this article. But I don’t understand this point

    “18. There’s no free lunch in nature.”

    I speak french so I’m quite not sure of the meaning.. Does it mean something like “nothing comes without effort”?
    Thank you for your reply,

  8. Happy Birthday…I love this list. But I have to say, regarding number 25…just because you get married young and have babies, your adventures don’t have to end. I married at 24, had my first and second baby at 27, and 29. I’m 31, have traveled the world with my sons, including a recent month exploring India. I just signed my second book contract. I love my husband fiercely. I am living my dream- and my kids and husband have only enhanced that. I traveled the world before kids, and although it was easier (!), sharing it with my family has only enhanced the experience. Being married and having kids young isn’t for everyone- but being a young, energetic mom is the best thing I’ve ever done.

    Just my two cents!

  9. Happiest of birthdays dear Jamie. Your list is one to live by. A few things I’ve learned so far include living the life you want immediately. Before I got sick, I was always waiting for the ‘right’ time to do things: travel, spend money, share my work, etc. But once I got sick I realized how truly fragile life is and unless we truly live it, it will just go to waste. I also have learned not to let negative comments define you.

  10. So many great lessons here, Jamie! I loved this post. Happy Belated Birthday. This was my favorite and really spoke to me: Like attracts like. Create the kind of work you want to keep creating.
    Work with the kinds of people you want to keep working with. Surround
    yourself with people you believe in.

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