30 days to 30

By Shruti Ganguly

A month before my 30th birthday, I had finished both an MBA and an MFA, produced two feature movies, was asked to move to Los Angeles (from New York) to make films there, and I was single and not mingling. (I had ended a long relationship the year before). I found myself at this crossroad, ready to make some big decisions.  So I started to write a list of what I had learned in my 29 years of life, things that I wanted to maintain, and things that I wanted to change.  I made a list of 30 things, a thought every day for me to keep in mind that a "3" was suddenly going to crop up in my age.  This is what I wrote to myself.

30 days to 30

1. Create some type of structure even if you break it
2. Don't look at your phone during meals
3. Know your worth but don't let your ego be the final judge
4. Don't pull out money from your savings account
5. Let yourself be vulnerable in love
6. Lose yourself in more bookstores, museums and parks
7. A good guy isn't always a good boyfriend
8. Give yourself a new challenge every month or every other month
9. Make your bed every morning
10. "I'm too busy" isn't a good enough excuse
11. Your mentors may not be in the same business and that's okay
12. Take on projects not for the money but for the experience
13. Do a few things for free. But keep it to a FEW things!
14. Keep working with the same people
15. Your friends groups may change and that's okay
16. It's okay to be alone, and that's different from being lonely
17. Do something unthinkable (like run a marathon!)
18. Teach, share knowledge
19. Never get too comfortable but you need stability
20. Happiness is within, and therefore within reach
21. Be absolutely honest with yourself about yourself
22. Live within your means, but dream and love without barriers
23. Never lose your sense of wonder (my favorite line from Sophie's World that I read in high school and always remember)
24. Compete with yourself, not other people
25. Make the time for your teachers and former bosses
26. NYC doesn't get easy, you just know how to deal with her better
27. Don't reach out to people only when you need something and always stay in touch
28. Take leftovers to give away
29. Live life in karma points
30. Keep creating and stay creative

When I was turning 31, I looked at this list again and added this:

31. Clear and curate the clutter, re-organize.