There are few celebrities more famous and more grounded than Taylor Swift. The Pop sensation has been making a name for herself around the world since she was just 15 years old, and in 2019, she will turn 30.
I, like so many millennial women, had the privilege of growing up with Taylor Swift. Whether she was writing songs about her High School Crush or her best friend losing her virginity, her songs became the soundtrack to our lives.
As we’ve grown, she’s grown with us. In a recent Op-ed for Elle Magazine, Swift took on a list of 30 things she learned before she turned 30.
“According to my birth certificate, I turn 30 this year,” the singer writes. “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.”
Her list is chock-full of wisdom and little nuggets about growing up to be a strong woman who loves herself and loves others. Of course, the list also has some goofy lessons mixed in—but we can’t disagree with the value of some of those either.
For example, Number Eleven: “Recently I discovered Command tape, and I definitely would have fewer holes in my walls if I’d hung things that way all along. This is not an ad. I just really love Command tape.”
Here are the top 10 things I want my daughter to take away from Taylor Swift’s 30 before 30 list.
1. I learned to block some of the noise.
Taylor Swift acknowledges that there are perks and pluses to social media, “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.”
She says her one piece of social media advice is to turn off the comments. That way the people following her can keep up with her life (the real reason we all want to be using social media) without needing the validation of someone else’s comments.
2. I learned to stop hating every ounce of fat on my body.
“I think a lot of us push the boundaries of dieting, but taking it too far can be really dangerous,” the singer says. She’s come to learn that a little extra weight on her body means “curves, shinier hair, and more energy.” It’s not a quick concept to adopt, so Taylor reassures fans that she works on accepting her body for what it is every single day.
3. I learned not to let outside opinions establish the value I place on my own life choices.
Whether you’re growing up in the spotlight, or living in a one-stoplight town, the opinions of others tend to ring louder than what actually matters. In the words of the 29-year-old herself, “people throw rocks at things that shine.” It’s a lesson the self-proclaimed “approval-seeker” has had to learn how to have her OWN value system, and determine what it is she wants.
4. Realizing childhood scars and working on rectifying them.
“For example, never being popular as a kid was always an insecurity for me. Even as an adult, I still have recurring flashbacks of sitting at lunch tables alone or hiding in a bathroom stall, or trying to make a new friend and being laughed at.”
Swift says these insecurities have manifested differently as an adult in that as she found herself surrounded by girls who wanted to be friends with her in her twenties, she “shouted it from the rooftops, posted pictures, and celebrated my newfound acceptance into a sisterhood.” What she’s learned from this though is that by doing so, she’s inadvertently caused others to feel the same way she did when she felt so alone.
“It’s important to address our long-standing issues before we turn into the living embodiment of them.”
5. Playing mind games is for the chase.
If there’s anyone who knows a thing or two about dating do’s and don’ts, I feel that the world would agree, it’s Taylor Swift. She says simply, “No one is a mind reader,” and it’s on us to share our real feelings with those in our lives.
“In a real relationship or friendship, you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t tell the other person how you feel, and what could be done to fix it.”
She continues, “If someone really loves you, they want you to verbalize how you feel. This is real life, not chess.”
6. Learning the difference between lifelong friendships and situationships.
I could not have said this one better myself. Some friends are forever, and some are just for a season.
“It’s sad but sometimes when you grow, you outgrow relationships. You may leave behind friendships along the way, but you’ll always keep the memories.”
7. I learned that disarming someone’s petty bullying can be as simple as learning to laugh.
“In my experience, I’ve come to see that bullies want to be feared and taken seriously.”
Drawing from her experience a few years ago when someone began a campaign calling her a snake on the internet, Swift says it was the lowest she had felt in her entire life. But Swift turned the hurt she was feeling into humor, making the theme and focus of her latest tour, a snake.
“The fact that so many people jumped on board with it led me to feeling lower than I’ve ever felt in my life,” she writes. “But I can’t tell you how hard I had to keep from laughing every time my 63-foot inflatable cobra named Karyn appeared onstage in front of 60,000 screaming fans. It’s the Stadium Tour equivalent of responding to a troll’s hateful Instagram comment with “lol.” It would be nice if we could get an apology from people who bully us, but maybe all I’ll ever get is the satisfaction of knowing I could survive it, and thrive in spite of it.”
8. Trying and failing and trying again and failing again is normal.
Acknowledging that her own failures have never felt normal thanks to the spotlight she lives under, in which, her “trials and failures are blown out of proportion and turned into a spectator sport by tabloid takedown culture,” Swift says it’s always good to mess up and learn from it.
She says failure is all a part of the searching that happens as we grow into young adults, seeking independence, identity, and success. Failure is good, and more than good, it’s normal.
9. Banish the drama.
Swift says the key is using discernment. “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.” She explains that this is just one of the ways you can pull yourself out of an unhealthy situation.
10. Apologizing when you have hurt someone who really matters to you takes nothing away from you.
“Even if it was unintentional, it’s so easy to just apologize and move on,” Swift says. But there is value in learning how to make a sincere apology. And it’s something the singer believes can help anyone avoid breaking trust in our relationships and friendships.
She’s come a long way since her Teardrops on My Guitar days, and it’s been beautiful to see Taylor Swift grow into the woman she is today. I’m praying these life lessons are just some of the many that my own daughters come to learn as they look to Taylor Swift for influence.