Today is my 30th birthday.

In my mind, 30 years is a long time…and I’ve seen and done a lot over these three decades.  Some things I regret: crying over silly boys, not sticking with piano lessons, and giving up on competitive swimming. Some things I don’t, like traveling to Europe, learning to scuba dive, and running the Chicago marathon.

I wasn’t quite sure how I would feel or think about entering the “30 zone.”  To tell you the truth, it’s been a bit of a roller coaster. One minute, I’m freaking out at the thought of leaving my twenties and bidding farewell to my youth. The next, I’m giddy at the prospect of my 30’s turning out to be the best years of my life.

Well, today, I’m ready to turn 30. I’m ready to start a new chapter in my life. But before I exit the “20’s ramp”, I thought I would leave you with 30 things I’ve learned over the years. Some are obvious, some funny, and some I hope are worth carrying with you.

1. Take risks. Big or small.

2. Don’t wear wrinkled clothes. It makes people frown and makes you look frumpy.

3. Display fresh flowers in your home. You should never have to dust your plants.

4. Windex really does clean everything.

5. Hang real art in your home. Even if you drew it yourself on Big Chief paper.

6. Compound interest is your best friend. Save your scrilla.

7. You always have a choice in the way you respond to any situation…good or bad. But don’t detract points from yourself – be kind.

8. Take an acting class at your local performing arts center. Your soul will thank you.

9. Prep for airport security before you get in line (i.e. take off your belt, take out your laptop, and remember, you can’t carry on a liter of shampoo!).

10. Chew gum while you cook: it will keep you from snacking.

11. Sometimes reading a magazine from back to front is the right thing to do.

12. Carry a small flashlight in your purse. You never know when you’ll be in the Costa Rican rainforest and it will be your only light source for 12 hours.

13. A cute pair of pumps and a killer bag will dress up any outfit.

14. Dirty gin martini with blue cheese stuffed olives.  Amen.

15. Cover up the goods. Everyone likes a little mystery when it comes to the unmentionables.

16.  Practice good posture. Your 90-year-old self will thank you.

17. The word “no” can solve a lot of problems and relieve unwanted stress. Say it.

18. If you ever find yourself in a super awkward conversation, like, at an office work party, ask the other person about their life. People love to talk about themselves.

19. When using a restroom at a bar, pee quickly. Others will thank you.

20. Everyone is insecure about something. Even Gordon Ramsey.

21. Say please and thank you to people in customer service. They are people, too.

22. Don’t forget the dining room table is actually a piece of furniture. Step away from the couch and TV and eat a meal on it.

23. Relationships aren’t 50/50. Each person has to give 100%.

24. Have an OPINION!!! Ask why! You don’t have to follow the heard.

25. Stroll – don’t walk – through a park. You’d be amazed at how different the world looks.

26. Ryan Gosling is hotter than Ryan Reynolds.

27. Travel somewhere new every year, even if it’s just to the little town down the road. You never know what adventures await.

28. Drink a glass of champagne for no reason.

29. Trust your gut.

30. Sometimes Plan B was Plan A all along.