Self-Discovery: 10 Things I Know for Certain At 30

Self-Discovery: 10 Things I Know for Certain At 30

When you have a birthday the number one question people ask is:

“So, how does it  feel to be (insert additional year here)?”

Most of the time the answer is pretty straight-forward.

Me: “It feels the same way it did when I woke up yesterday.”  

However, I was asked a slightly different question this year as I turned 30, which made me really sit back and think.  I was asked did I ever think when I was younger that my life would be where or how it is now.  After pausing for a while, slightly shocked by the question, I answered honestly. No. Not at all. And I really don’t remember what I imagined my life to be like at 30. But, what I do know is the amount of personal growth I’ve had since age 20, 25 and really 29 if I’m being all the way real.  Here are a few things I know for certain now that I’m 30.

10 Things I Know For Certain At 30

Chars New Orleans Surprise-60

1. Saying NO is OK. This Will Not Kill the Person on the Receiving End

There is great power in the word NO. Yes, I’ve heard this before but I actually started to put this into action as early as this past Saturday morning (my actual birthday).  For the longest I was always the person to say no, but with a contingency. “No, but maybe we can revisit this later.” I hated disappointing people and letting them down.  The problem with that is when the incident comes back around, you have now somewhat agreed to whatever the request is; even though you know you were not interested. Standing my ground and saying NO in the beginning saves time and headaches.  And honestly, it is better to let people know your true intentions so you don’t waste their time and yours.  Practice saying NO sometimes, trust me it won’t kill the person asking.

2. Relationships Are Everything & Yes You Have to Work At Them

I’ve been out of college for a while now (8 years exactly) and what I’ve come to realize in the past few years is relationships with friends require a lot of work.  At 30 a few of my friends are married, some have kids and others are just as busy as me starting businesses.  In order to salvage friendships and those connections you really need to make a conscious effort to “date” your friends.  Schedule phone calls. Place a reminder in your phone to call someone on their birthday (vs just writing on their Facebook wall). Organize a girl’s trip. All of these things are the small details to ensure you maintain healthy relationships. Having a support system is so important for several reasons, which is a completely separate post, but remember people only support those who pour into them.  Nurture your relationships and watch them flourish.Chars New Orleans Surprise-54

3. Mistakes Will Happen. Own It and Move On

No one is perfect.  Similar to my problem with saying NO, I’m extremely hard on myself when I make mistakes.  I literally hate when something is wrong due to my part.  However; instead of deflecting to figure out what outside factor could have caused my mistake, I’ve started to just own it and move on.  This quickly allows you to regroup and focus on the solution instead of sulking over the problem.

4. Fulfillment Drives Me

I recently took a mental count of how many people I know currently working in an industry completely opposite of their college major. The number was pretty high, but not surprising.  What I love about my generation, millennials, is that we’re quick to hop to the next thing like a career if it kills our vibe.  Now to some that may sound immature or irresponsible, but why would anyone want to stay somewhere that makes them miserable? And for that reason, I’m all for this. Fulfillment is everything. Personally, I hate being or working at a place where I feel undervalued or where I feel my work doesn’t make an impact.  What this translates to everyone who reads this as BS is:

“I could be doing so many other things that I actually care about versus waisting my time, engery and brains doing nothing for a place that doesn’t care about me.”

Even if you can’t get out of your current situation, find something after hours and on the weekend that brings you joy as your side hustle until you can make it your main hustle.

5. Protect Your Energy

This one was hard for me to spot for a while, but at 30 I finally get it and I’m so glad that I do. Protecting your energy is one of the most crucial things you can do for peace of mind. First, surround yourself with people who lift you up and push you higher – mentally, spiritually, professionally etc.  Newsflash: this also means taking a social media audit of the accounts and people you follow.  I can not count how many people I’ve quickly unfriended and unfollowed due to some craziness on their page. Who has time for that?

6. Working Out Is Not An Option, It Is A Necessity

In the past two years I’ve gained about 10-15 pounds (thank you Texas food) and I literally almost lost it once I realized how out of hand my weight had gotten. So much, I hired a personal trainer for the first time ever to get my body snatched just in time for my 30th birthday.  Yes, at 29-30 you suddenly start to realize that Chipotle and Popeyes 2-3 times a week isn’t the best idea. And you start to realize it’s going to take a lot more work to lose those 5-10 pounds that used to just slide off. I’m talking hardcore meal-prepping, calorie counting and weight-lifting type of stuff.  The upside is I also figured out 30  mins of any type of activity every day is all I need to maintain my current weight and not go overboard.  Needless to say, I’ve finally got a grip on that area and I don’t plan on slipping again.

7. It’s Not Always About Me

Every now and then you must take time to do nice things for other people – even though you might be busy as hell.  Working a 9-5, running a blog and a business there are very seldom moments where I’m sitting still with nothing to do. But, that’s the thing – there will always be emails that need following up and articles to write. However, when you make time for family and friends outside of work people take notice. The ones closest to you know how busy you are so they will also notice when you place things on pause and provide undivided attention to their needs. Whether it’s watching a movie, going to dinner or helping with an activity, people notice.

8. It’s not ALWAYS About Money

As a blogger, I know the first thing a lot of us think about is our coins. Rightfully so because it is not free to run this blog. But, there is so much exposure and so many opportunities I would have missed out on if I was only in it for the money. It’s not always about the money. Yes, value your skills and your work but also understand the trade off from a great opportunity that does not pay.

9. People Will Talk About You….Let Them

If for some reason you find yourself in a situation where you hear a person is talking about you behind your back and trying to obtain inside information – take it as a compliment. At 25 I would be upset, waste time investigating and eventually drain my energy attempting to have a meaningless conversation with the person. At 30, I believe if you have enough time to sit around and chat about me then I must be doing something right. In addition, because I am doing so many wonderful things, I don’t have time to entertain foolishness. People will talk about you. They will want to know how and why you are so successful. What makes you special? Let them talk, wonder and keep it moving.

Chars Nola Surprise

10. Happiness Is Not An Option

Stop doing things that don’t make you happy. Period. There were a few instances where I was doing things just for the sake of doing them.  Trying to keep up appearances and look like I had everything together. This will eventually take a toll on you.  At 30, I finally decided the idea of keeping up appearances is silly, especially if it’s causing you more stress than happiness.  At 30 if something isn’t bringing me happiness and not allowing me to work towards one of my goals it must be cut.  **Cue OT Genasis “Cut It”** lol 

What are some of the things you’ve realized as you have gotten older? Comment and let me know!

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Charlene Walton
Charlene Walton

Charlene Walton McCraney is a Dallas beauty and lifestyle blogger. After years of styling her and several friends’ hair as a hobby, offering advice and tips, she decided to combine two of her favorite things…writing and talking about natural hair! was created to promote healthy hair care for women of all textures and has since evolved into other beauty and lifestyle topics. Charlene loves teaching other aspiring bloggers on how to take their passion and turn it into amazing content to provide value.

Charlene is a previous beauty contributor to,, and

When she’s not blogging she is probably crunching numbers as a Senior Financial Analyst, dancing or figuring a way to meet Beyonce in person. :)

Find me on: Twitter/X | Instagram | Facebook


  1. July 19, 2016 / 1:30 pm

    Char – this post was everything! It truly does sum up the essence of entering the 30s 🙂

    • Charlene Walton
      July 19, 2016 / 7:51 pm

      Thank you boo!!! Love you 🙂

  2. July 19, 2016 / 7:53 pm

    I absolutely loved this. I caught most of these when I hit 31 this year. Fulfillment, self care, saying NO, letting folks talk they ish… Yep! Super hella on point! #BLMGirl

    • Charlene Walton
      July 19, 2016 / 8:08 pm

      Haha! Glad it was relatable. Thanks Christina!

  3. July 19, 2016 / 10:16 pm

    Loved this!! So spot on! I can tell I’m bearing around that corner bc a lot of things are finally clicking for me too!! All exciting!! 🙌🏾🙌🏾💞 Great post boo!!! 😘😘

    • Charlene Walton
      July 20, 2016 / 10:42 am

      Thank you!!! Love you too 🙂

  4. July 21, 2016 / 2:32 pm

    These are all great things that you will continue to add to and apply over and over again. Happy Belated Birthday, Charlene. Continue to learn and grow.

    • Charlene Walton
      July 24, 2016 / 3:57 pm

      Thanks Tamara!

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