We live in a time where social media accounts (of people we don’t even know) make the rest of us feel inadequate more often than not. With that being said, I decided to write a post on the “Top 5 Things To Learn Before You Turn 30” because in the chaos of our day to day lives I think many of us forget to celebrate who we are and what we’ve accomplished thus far.

Happiness is a choice. 

How we perceive things and how we act in various situations varies depending on how happy we are as individuals. Life  has been known to throw a curve ball or two along the way. I have learned that waking up each day and making a conscious decision to be happy in whatever I do that day has helped my self esteem hugely. I choose happiness on my busiest days. I choose happiness on lazy Sunday’s when I’m curled up on my couch watching a movie with my cat. It is important to constantly challenge yourself, but it is equally important to know when to be content and happy.

Being healthy is the greatest gift you will ever receive in this lifetime.

I have faced many health battles over the years so trust me when I say that if you are in good health you have the world at your fingertips. I by no means go to the gym every day or obsess over my calories; in fact there’s lots of people in the world who do those things and aren’t healthy. However, I do make a conscious effort to make choices that are appropriate for me – I go for multiple walks a day; I rarely drink alcohol (and if I do I have a 2 drink maximum for the day); I don’t smoke or take drugs; and I try to keep my daily intake of sugar and salt to a minimum. Your body is a temple so treat it well.

You can be friends with everyone, but you definitely don’t need to be.

Throughout my life I have always been the social butterfly. The girl who can walk into any room and feel totally comfortable and talk to any and everyone about any and everything. I have learned that despite this illusion of popularity, there is nothing more valuable than a solid and intimate group of friends. Quality over quantity. Surround yourself with positive people. People who support each other’s dreams and want greatness for you. Keep these people close as not everyone is lucky enough to find great friends.

Don’t compare yourself to others.

I find that this happens quite often, specifically when discussing the topic of careers. No one knows what is best for you. You know what’s best for you. When I was fresh out of university, I did what everyone told me I was supposed to. I got a 9-to-5 auditing job for one of Canada’s largest corporations. It had great benefits. I even had my own office. But it wasn’t for me. I often skipped lunch to get tasks done. I drank way too much coffee. I was ill a lot. But most importantly, I was extremely unhappy. After a year and a half I quit my job, start my own company, and allowed the creativity I had locked away to shine. For some people, things like job security and great benefits is enough to keep them in a situation like that, and I respect their decision. But I am healthier and happier than I have ever been and it is because I trusted myself and wasn’t afraid to do something different.

Don’t live to work. Work to live.

This has been the greatest lesson in the last few years for me. I have watched friends, colleagues, and family members, work their asses off to make and save as much money as possible; however, in the process they don’t make time to live and enjoy life. It’s almost as if they are merely existing. Indeed, financial security is important. But don’t wait 50 years to take a trip. Travel as much as you possibly can for as cheap as you possible can. Buy tickets when they are on sale. Consider volunteering with an organization that will cover your food and accommodations. Get up and go! The world is such a vast and beautiful place and you are doing yourself a great disservice if you aren’t allowing yourself to explore the cultures and adventures that await.