According to my birth certificate, I turn 30 this year. It's weird because part of me still feels 18 and part of me feels 283, but the actual age I currently am is 29. I've heard people say that your thirties are "the most fun!" So I'll definitely keep you posted on my findings on that when I know. But until then, I thought I'd share some lessons I've learned before reaching 30, because it's 2019 and sharing is caring.
I learned to block some of the noise. Social media can be great, but it can also inundate your brain with images of what you aren’t, how you’re failing, or who is in a cooler locale than you at any given moment.
One thing I do to lessen this weird insecurity laser beam is to turn off comments. Yes, I keep comments off on my posts. That way, I’m showing my friends and fans updates on my life, but I’m training my brain to not need the validation of someone telling me that I look ??????. I’m also blocking out anyone who might feel the need to tell me to “go die in a hole ho” while I’m having my coffee at nine in the morning. I think it’s healthy for your self-esteem to need less internet praise to appease it, especially when three comments down you could unwittingly see someone telling you that you look like a weasel that got hit by a truck and stitched back together by a drunk taxidermist. An actual comment I received once.
Being sweet to everyone all the time can get you into a lot of trouble.
While it may be born from having been raised to be a polite young lady, this can contribute to some of your life’s worst regrets if someone takes advantage of this trait in you. Grow a backbone, trust your gut, and know when to strike back. Be like a snake—only bite if someone steps on you.
Trying and failing and trying again and failing again is normal. It may not feel normal to me because all of my trials and failures are blown out of proportion and turned into a spectator sport by tabloid takedown culture (you had to give me one moment of bitterness, come on).
BUT THAT SAID, it’s good to mess up and learn from it and take risks. It’s especially good to do this in your twenties because we are searching. That’s GOOD. We’ll always be searching but never as intensely as when our brains are still developing at such a rapid pace. No, this is not an excuse to text your ex right now. That’s not what I said. Or do it, whatever, maybe you’ll learn from it. Then you’ll probably forget what you learned and do it again.... But it’s fine; do you, you’re searching.
I learned to stop hating every ounce of fat on my body.
I worked hard to retrain my brain that a little extra weight means curves, shinier hair, and more energy. I think a lot of us push the boundaries of dieting, but taking it too far can be really dangerous. There is no quick fix. I work on accepting my body every day.
Banish the drama.
You only have so much room in your life and so much energy to give to those in it. Be discerning. If someone in your life is hurting you, draining you, or causing you pain in a way that feels unresolvable, blocking their number isn’t cruel. It’s just a simple setting on your phone that will eliminate drama if you so choose to use it.
I’ve learned that society is constantly sending very loud messages to women that exhibiting the physical signs of aging is the worst thing that can happen to us.
These messages tell women that we aren’t allowed to age. It’s an impossible standard to meet, and I’ve been loving how outspoken Jameela Jamil has been on this subject. Reading her words feels like hearing a voice of reason amongst all these loud messages out there telling women we’re supposed to defy gravity, time, and everything natural in order to achieve this bizarre goal of everlasting youth that isn’t even remotely required of men.
My biggest fear.After the Manchester Arena bombing and the Vegas concert shooting, I was completely terrified to go on tour this time because I didn’t know how we were going to keep 3 million fans safe over seven months. There was a tremendous amount of planning, expense, and effort put into keeping my fans safe. My fear of violence has continued into my personal life.
I carry QuikClot army grade bandage dressing, which is for gunshot or stab wounds. Websites and tabloids have taken it upon themselves to post every home address I’ve ever had online. You get enough stalkers trying to break into your house and you kind of start prepping for bad things. Every day I try to remind myself of the good in the world, the love I’ve witnessed and the faith I have in humanity. We have to live bravely in order to truly feel alive, and that means not being ruled by our greatest fears.
I learned not to let outside opinions establish the value I place on my own life choices.
For too long, the projected opinions of strangers affected how I viewed my relationships. Whether it was the general internet consensus of who would be right for me, or what they thought was “couples goals” based on a picture I posted on Instagram. That stuff isn’t real. For an approval seeker like me, it was an important lesson for me to learn to have my OWN value system of what I actually want.
I learned how to make some easy cocktails.
The easy cocktails are like Pimm’s cups, Aperol spritzes, Old-Fashioneds, and Mojitos because…2016.
I’ve always cooked a LOT, but I found three recipes I know I’ll be making at dinner parties for life: Ina Garten’s Real Meatballs and Spaghetti (I just use packaged bread crumbs and only ground beef for meat), Nigella Lawson’s Mughlai Chicken, and Jamie Oliver’s Chicken Fajitas with Molé Sauce.
我總是會下廚，做很多菜，但我發現有三種菜是我在晚宴上永遠都會做的：Ina Garten的牛肉丸意麵(我只用袋裝的麵包屑和碎牛肉做肉丸)，Nigella Lawson的莫格萊式雞肉(北印度菜式)以及Jamie Oliver的墨西哥式烤雞肉卷。
Getting a garlic crusher is a whole game changer. I also learned how to immediately calculate Celsius to Fahrenheit in my head. (Which is what I’m pretty sure the internet would call a “weird flex.”)
Recently I discovered Command tape.
And I definitely would have fewer holes in my walls if I’d hung things that way all along. This is not an ad. I just really love Command tape.
Apologizing when you have hurt someone who really matters to you takes nothing away from you.
Even if it was unintentional, it’s so easy to just apologize and move on. Try not to say “I’m sorry, but...” and make excuses for yourself. Learn how to make a sincere apology, and you can avoid breaking down the trust in your friendships and relationships.
It’s my opinion that in cases of sexual assault, I believe the victim.
Coming forward is an agonizing thing to go through. I know because my sexual assault trial was a demoralizing, awful experience. I believe victims because I know firsthand about the shame and stigma that comes with raising your hand and saying “This happened to me.” It’s something no one would choose for themselves. We speak up because we have to, and out of fear that it could happen to someone else if we don’t.
When tragedy strikes someone you know in a way you’ve never dealt with before, it’s okay to say that you don’t know what to say.
Sometimes just saying you’re so sorry is all someone wants to hear. It’s okay to not have any helpful advice to give them; you don’t have all the answers. However, it’s not okay to disappear from their life in their darkest hour. Your support is all someone needs when they’re at their lowest point. Even if you can’t really help the situation, it’s nice for them to know that you would if you could.
Vitamins make me feel so much better!
I take L-theanine, which is a natural supplement to help with stress and anxiety. I also take magnesium for muscle health and energy.
Before you jump in headfirst, maybe, I don’t know...get to know someone!
All that glitters isn’t gold, and first impressions actually aren’t everything. It’s impressive when someone can charm people instantly and own the room, but what I know now to be more valuable about a person is not their charming routine upon meeting them (I call it a “solid first 15”), but the layers of a person you discover in time. Are they honest, self-aware, and slyly funny at the moments you least expect it? Do they show up for you when you need them? Do they still love you after they’ve seen you broken? Or after they’ve walked in on you having a full conversation with your cats as if they’re people? These are things a first impression could never convey.
After my teen years and early twenties of sleeping in my makeup and occasionally using a Sharpie as eyeliner (DO NOT DO IT), I felt like I needed to start being nicer to my skin.
I now moisturize my face every night and put on body lotion after I shower, not just in the winter, but all year round, because, why can’t I be soft during all the seasons?!
Realizing childhood scars and working on rectifying them.
For example, never being popular as a kid was always an insecurity for me. Even as an adult, I still have recurring flashbacks of sitting at lunch tables alone or hiding in a bathroom stall, or trying to make a new friend and being laughed at. In my twenties I found myself surrounded by girls who wanted to be my friend. So I shouted it from the rooftops, posted pictures, and celebrated my newfound acceptance into a sisterhood, without realizing that other people might still feel the way I did when I felt so alone. It’s important to address our long-standing issues before we turn into the living embodiment of them.
Playing mind games is for the chase.
In a real relationship or friendship, you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t tell the other person how you feel, and what could be done to fix it. No one is a mind reader. If someone really loves you, they want you to verbalize how you feel. This is real life, not chess.
Learning the difference between lifelong friendships and situationships.
Something about “we’re in our young twenties!” hurls people together into groups that can feel like your chosen family. And maybe they will be for the rest of your life. Or maybe they’ll just be your comrades for an important phase, but not forever. It’s sad but sometimes when you grow, you outgrow relationships. You may leave behind friendships along the way, but you’ll always keep the memories.
Fashion is all about playful experimentation.
If you don’t look back at pictures of some of your old looks and cringe, you’re doing it wrong. See: Bleachella.
How to fight fair with the ones you love.
Chances are you’re not trying to hurt the person you love and they aren’t trying to hurt you. If you can wind the tension of an argument down to a conversation about where the other person is coming from, there’s a greater chance you can remove the shame of losing a fight for one of you and the ego boost of the one who “won” the fight. I know a couple who, in the thick of a fight, say “Hey, same team.” Find a way to defuse the anger that can spiral out of control and make you lose sight of the good things you two have built. They don’t give out awards for winning the most fights in your relationship. They just give out divorce papers.
I learned that I have friends and fans in my life who don’t care if I’m #canceled.
They were there in the worst times and they’re here now. The fans and their care for me, my well-being, and my music were the ones who pulled me through. The most emotional part of the Reputation Stadium Tour for me was knowing I was looking out at the faces of the people who helped me get back up. I’ll never forget the ones who stuck around.
I’ve had to learn how to handle serious illness in my family.
Both of my parents have had cancer, and my mom is now fighting her battle with it again. It’s taught me that there are real problems and then there’s everything else. My mom’s cancer is a real problem. I used to be so anxious about daily ups and downs. I give all of my worry, stress, and prayers to real problems now.
I remember people asking me, “What are you gonna write about if you ever get happy?”
There’s a common misconception that artists have to be miserable in order to make good art, that art and suffering go hand in hand. I’m really grateful to have learned this isn’t true. Finding happiness and inspiration at the same time has been really cool.
I make countdowns for things I’m excited about.
When I’ve gone through dark, low times, I’ve always found a tiny bit of relief and hope in getting a countdown app (they’re free) and adding things I’m looking forward to. Even if they’re not big holidays or anything, it’s good to look toward the future. Sometimes we can get overwhelmed in the now, and it’s good to get some perspective that life will always go on, to better things.
I learned that disarming someone’s petty bullying can be as simple as learning to laugh.
In my experience, I’ve come to see that bullies want to be feared and taken seriously. A few years ago, someone started an online hate campaign by calling me a snake on the internet. The fact that so many people jumped on board with it led me to feeling lower than I’ve ever felt in my life, but I can’t tell you how hard I had to keep from laughing every time my 63-foot inflatable cobra named Karyn appeared onstage in front of 60,000 screaming fans. It’s the Stadium Tour equivalent of responding to a troll’s hateful Instagram comment with “lol.” It would be nice if we could get an apology from people who bully us, but maybe all I’ll ever get is the satisfaction of knowing I could survive it, and thrive in spite of it.
I’m finding my voice in terms of politics.
I took a lot of time educating myself on the political system and the branches of government that are signing off on bills that affect our day-to-day life. I saw so many issues that put our most vulnerable citizens at risk, and felt like I had to speak up to try and help make a change. Only as someone approaching 30 did I feel informed enough to speak about it to my 114 million followers. Invoking racism and provoking fear through thinly veiled messaging is not what I want from our leaders, and I realized that it actually is my responsibility to use my influence against that disgusting rhetoric. I’m going to do more to help. We have a big race coming up next year.
I learned that your hair can completely change texture.
From birth, I had the curliest hair and now it is STRAIGHT. It’s the straight hair I wished for every day in junior high. But just as I was coming to terms with loving my curls, they’ve left me. Please pray for their safe return.
My mom always tells me that when I was a little kid, she never had to punish me for misbehaving because I would punish myself even worse.
I’d lock myself in my room and couldn’t forgive myself, as a five-year-old. I realized that I do the same thing now when I feel I’ve made a mistake, whether it’s self-imposed exile or silencing myself and isolating. I’ve come to a realization that I need to be able to forgive myself for making the wrong choice, trusting the wrong person, or figuratively falling on my face in front of everyone. Step into the daylight and let it go.