By Taylor Swift for ELLE
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.
ONE: 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 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.
TWO: 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.
THREE: 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.
FOUR: 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.
FIVE: 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.
SIX: 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.
SEVEN: 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.
EIGHT: 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.
NINE: I learned how to make some easy cocktails like Pimm’s cups, Aperol spritzes, Old-Fashioneds, and Mojitos because…2016.
TEN: 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. 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.”)