I’ve been a little depressed the last couple of weeks. Maybe it’s because I’m turning thirty and life didn’t turn out the way I expected.

I don’t own a home. I don’t drive a fancy car. I don’t have a wife, kids, or a dog. I’m not a New York Times-bestselling author.

Instead, I rent a townhouse with some friends. I drive a very economical car. I don’t have a steady job. My books sell okay. No wife, not even a girlfriend.

As I reflected on these things, I felt like a loser.

I expressed this to my friend Russ just yesterday over chicken wings and author talk. He turned 30 last year, so he knows the drill. Being the wise man he is, he told me not to be so hard on myself. Life never happens the way we expect. Besides, I’ve still done some great things and helped people in meaningful ways.

That made me feel a little better.

To commemorate this milestone, here are some things I wish I would have learned sooner. 20-year-old Aaron definitely could have benefitted from these things, so maybe you can, too.

  • Don’t date so much in college. Save some of that money and focus on yourself.
  • Don’t chase relationships with people. Those who want to be in your life will make time for you.
  • Don’t get defensive when people try to give you advice.
  • Surround yourself with people that inspire you.
  • You don’t need to prove you’re worthy of love. You ARE worthy of love.
  • When you smell BS, call it out. Don’t be an enabler of people’s lies and bad behavior because you’re afraid of confrontation.
  • Stop being afraid to fail.
  • You don’t have to be busy all the time. Slow down. Don’t burn yourself out.
  • Travel more. Visit places you’ve never been.
  • Always trust your gut and follow what feels right, even if it seems crazy.