Tomorrow, I turn thirty. Like, years old. Thirty. I'm thirty.
I'm pretty sure it's true when they say "your thirties are better than your twenties," which, until now, I thought was just a ruse to make women feel better about themselves as they aged.
But in the last year, my 29th year, I began building a business that I love, I began meeting people who helped me push toward these big amorphous dreams that I'd always had, and I started figuring out what's really, really important.
And it boils down to two things:
a. People who love you.
b. Waking up every morning with a purpose
Despite 29 being a really hard year (moving three times, assuming I would be leaving Bozeman to go back to the east coast, not in fact being married by the time I was thirty -- which means I have a few gentlemen from middle school with whom I should probably make good on our "if-we're-not-married-by-thirty" pacts), it also was the best year.
Better than the time I left my job and traveled through Southeast Asia.
Better than the year I spend six weeks in a tent in the Himalayas.
Better than the year I made twice as much money as I'm making now.
And so, what wisdom can I bestow?
Behold. My list of what 30 years of partying (well, planning them anyway) has taught me.
(Also, be sure to read to the end for how I'm celebrating with you!)
1. There's no need to always go big or go home. Sometimes, you can go small, stay out late, and still end the night dancing in a group with your best friends. And you don't wake up with a hangover.
2. That said, when you plan to go big, you're usually going home before 9pm.
3. The best parties are the ones that are perfectly planned, then given up without expectation before they start.
4. Your legacy is more than your job. Your legacy is how you treat people. Yes, I realize the irony of stating that, at 30, I have a legacy.
5. If nothing else, wash your face, drink a glass of water, and put on soft pajamas after a great party.
6. They're right about that whole "You don't recover like you used to" thing.
7. Be overdressed. There are only so many times you'll be able to wear sequined leggings, so you should do it as often as you can now.
8. Just because everyone else is wearing cowboy boots to that party doesn't mean ballet flats aren't perfectly accessible.
9. Heels. They're totally worth it at 8pm.
10. It only takes one stranger on the dance floor to tell you that you're a really good dancer before you're full on reenacting the video choreography from NSYNC's "Bye Bye Bye". What I mean to say is that doling out sincere compliments often reap really great rewards.
11. Heels. They're totally not worth it at 11pm.
12. On that note, it's astonishing that no one has invented a solution to 11pm heel angst. Like, flats that expand in water seems like they should have been invented by now, right?
13. If you're hosting an event, remember: anyone who complains about being invited to your place to eat your food and drink your beverages has forgotten their manners. There's no such thing as a bad party, just a bad attitude.
14. It's okay to be the last one on the dance floor.
15. It's also okay to be the first one on the dance floor.
16. It's never okay to not be on the dance floor because you think you're a terrible dancer. Just stick close to someone who is a good dancer and you often get lumped into the "good dancer's club" by association.
17. Go easy on cocktail hour. Parties are a marathon not a sprint.
18. Repeat after me: Hydrate. Fuel. Repeat.
19. Dietary restrictions are hard. Do your absolute best, but most people are either extremely good at letting you know what they need, or extremely good at packing snacks.
20. You can take care of people to a certain point. After that, it's their responsibility to be adults and take care of their own needs.
21. Parties are only fun when you ask for help. So do that.
22. The best part of planning a party is the "What's done is done" part. The quicker you get there, the more fun you get to have.
23. Just because it tastes like fruit punch doesn't mean it's fruit punch. Remember that after your second one.
24. If you've ever planned your own party, try to refrain from judging how someone else plans theirs. At the end of the day, the sole mission is to have fun. So do that. You're off the clock, sister.
25. The best people at the party? The staff. They can do all sorts of things for you (like find you special alcohol or see if there's any more dessert in the back) so be nice to them.
26. If you're on the fence about going to a party or staying home, go. You never know what will show up when you do.
27. Sometimes, drinking wine on your couch with your best friends is just as soul-filling as spending all night in a club. Especially if couch parties turn into dance parties.
28. Invite everyone you can possibly invite and see who shows up for you. When you ask people to show up for you, they will.
29. That said, show up for them. Be there, even if you're tired and don't feel like being social. The greatest gift you can give someone is to be there when they need you.
30. Having fun is a choice. You should choose it more often than you don't.
In honor of my 30th birthday, I want to discount my Plan of Attack calls from $199 to $99. Want to ask me any burning questions for an hour? Need tips on how to find your perfect venue? And get templates, a sample agenda, and an action list of 10 steps you need to take RIGHT NOW to plan your event? Sign up for my mailing list below and you'll get instructions on how to do that straight to your inbox!