I have been 30 for exactly 13 days 7 hours and 56 minutes and 20, 21, 22 seconds. So naturally this makes me a bit of an expert on the topic. Lots of newly minted 30 year olds have written advice columns disseminating their wisdom to the masses. Adele even dropped a new album for her 30th (trust me, that was my back up plan too). But to be honest, I don’t really feel like I have very much knowledge to expound. In fact I swear I’m only 19. But looking at my recently renewed drivers license, courtesy of the Redding DVM (aka a slow moving government office full of white people) I see that I was born in 1986.
The world was a different place back then. Ronald Regan was president (thankfully I don’t remember that). And as is our purview, the US was involved in some war in a country most citizens couldn’t find on a map. Gas was cheap. The music was good. The clothes not so much.
I am reminded every day how much I don’t know, so it seems silly to want to give anyone any advice. Plus after reading some absolutely vomit inducing essay entitled Advice from 30-year-old me to 20-year old me which said, “You have very little responsibility [in your 20s’] so go and travel.” Yea, fuck you. You didn’t spend your 20s in med school you asshole. You can appreciate why I’m kind of turned off from the whole "go and find yourself" shit. Its so 1997.
But in my last 30 years on earth I have learned some stuff and made some pretty epic mistakes (both fashion wise, relationship wise and in the amount of vodka I thought I could drink). You should learn from my mistakes gentle reader. Trust me—parachute pants are not making a comeback and no tequila is never a good idea (except when it is—trust me, you’ll know). Also considering that someone in my Doctoring group (em…Daniel Hernandez) called 30 middle aged—I get to dole out unsolicited knowledge. So in lieu of inventing facebook, or going on a world tour or winning an Olympic gold medal (all things people younger than me have done), here is everything I know about life thus far.
1. Spread good JuJu. Throw that shit around like glitter. Bring coffee, recycle, don’t be a jerk. In the words of Ram Das, we are all just walking each other home.
2. Shut up, dance it out. Dancing is just good for you and I think we should do more of it. Grab your hair brush, put on One Direction and the rest will take care of itself (this may be where the tequila happens).
3. Enjoy the simple things. For example, after a particularly awful winter quarter in grad school I spent the better part of winter break dressing my dog up in different outfits. Maybe you could read that book you’ve been wanting to pick up, or go out to eat with friends. Life is lived in moments, try to make them good ones.
4. Say nice things (including to yourself). The “Doc 3 peer evaluations” although a stupid (and totally not anonymous exercise) may seem like a waste of time—but think of it as an opportunity to tell a classmate how much they are loved. Let’s remind each other that we can do this.
5. Wear sunscreen. Just trust me.
6. The hospital is sacred ground. This building has seen pain, sorrow, despair, joy, and hope in unparalleled proportions. We would do well to feel the earth under our clogs and remember this.
7. Learn stuff. Push yourself to learn as much as you can every day. Maybe that means looking something up and maybe that means you learn how much amazing knowledge there is in the world and maybe that means you learn that a hot shower and a cold beer cure all manner of bad days.
8. Stay humble. The best, smartest, most amazing teachers I have ever had are some of the most kind and humble people ever. I have asked some really dumb questions, like the time in grad school I asked what a p value was (let’s just say people in the epidemiology graduate group should probably know that). But the good ones never let on.
9. We are all stardust. Our carbon has been around for eons and it just so happens that right now all of these atoms are perfectly arranged to make you. You little miracle.
10. When a kid hands you a toy phone you answer that shit.
There may be more things I know about life, but I’m 30 and starting to go senile so I can’t think of anymore. Thank you for making the first 13 days, 9 hours and 26 minutes of this decade so amazing. What do you say? Want to take this planet for a spin around the sun a couple more times? That’s what I thought. I’ll put the One Direction on.