Questions that can guide your 30s to be your best decade yet:
During our invincible 20s, we were all about the fun—this decade was our preparation for a future we dreamed of. We probably felt like we had all the time in the world.
Now, not so much.
We know time waits for no one. So yes, now that we’re hitting our 30s, maybe life feels more stressful. But this can also open a door: a big, redwood door to mindfulness.
How many times has someone said to us, “With time, things get better?” My question in return is: what things? This is a nonsense concept. Time does not make life better or worse. Things get better when we make better choices, when we start to question what is really important to us.
Maturity does not show up simply because we are older.
What happens when we don’t pay much attention to what our days look like? I mean, it’s just another day, right? In reality, how we spend most of our days is the compass that will guide us to where our future is heading.
So yes, our habits matter, the people we spend our time with matter. Our daily choices, what we eat, and how we speak to ourselves and others matters. Every choice creates energy—and this energy can be joyful, purposeful, or fulfilling, but it can also be useless, sad, or empty.
Questions to inspire that mindful spark in our hearts:
1. Do we feel like the life we are living makes sense?
Last year, when I asked myself this question, I instantly whispered, of course not—ouch! I didn’t have to think about it. I knew this, and had for quite some time, yet I wasn’t doing anything about it.
2. Is what we do (job/career/activity) fulfilling? Does it provide for us without taking most of our time?
3. Does our heart smile when we review what our day-to-day looks like?
4. What are our priorities? And more importantly, do they reflect what we honestly wish for our life? Does our calendar reflect our priorities?
Mahatma Gandhi said it best: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Bravo, this couldn’t be more precise.
5. Are we being kind to ourselves? (So we can learn to genuinely be kind to others.)
6. Do we lean into what we are feeling, or do we run away from it as fast as we can?
7. Can we be in complete silence, and feel peaceful, without having to play music, or check Instagram, or watch something, or call someone?
Silence is the medium for our heart and soul to communicate through. Listen to you, no one knows you better.
8. Can we accept that our life is our responsibility, but also our right?
We have the freedom of choice, yet many things in our life can feel like they’ve been chosen by someone else. Like Spider-Man’s uncle Ben said: “With great power, comes great responsibility.”
9. Are we spending time with people who add to our life? Or do we feel like they suck the life out of us?
Being selective does not mean judging, it means having standards, and choosing what is healthier for us.
10. What can we start doing today to be more present?
Not ruminating about the past, or feeling falsely hopeful for a future we are not even building, but to stare at the present with everything in it, and start where we are with what we have. Can we breathe and pause to focus on what is happening right in front of us?
11. Is our busyness keeping us from the pain we would feel from not doing what we wish we were doing?
We certainly don’t have to be Vincent Van Gogh to make this world better—we all have love, kindness, and care to add, in our very own way. What a treasure would be to offer our future family an example of how we can live a mindful life, the best we can, so they can do the same.
My favorite question, or what I call a not so gentle slap to the face:
12. What the hell am I doing with my precious time on this earth? How can we do what we love, in a way that is of service to others?
Life is not found on top of any mountain—it is right here, right now, with your beautiful beating heart asking you: what is it genuinely what you care about?
Maybe these questions don’t bring any bright, gold awakenings to you, and that is okay. But, maybe one of them will speak to you kindly, and that is my hope today.
Listen to what your heart has to say. This voice can be a compass. It can help us see inside of ourselves and find our own true north.