30 Things That I Learned In My Twenties


My 30th birthday

This Friday, I celebrated my 30th birthday. Say what?! I’ve been having an incredible weekend with my family and today I thought I’d share some of my thoughts and the things that I’ve learned in the past decade. I can’t believe my twenties are behind me. 

  1. Being raised in a loving home by incredible parents and having a wonderful relationship with my siblings is something very rare and I will cherish it always. I used to think that it was normal to grow up with a family like mine. I hope I never take it for granted.

    Our family. My siblings and my parents at our parents' house.

    Our family. My siblings and my parents at our parents’ house.

  2. My relationship with God is very personal, very real and a part of every aspect of my life.
  3. I started out my 20s with a bang – graduating from college, starting my career as a Registered Nurse, getting married, losing a child, almost losing my life and struggling to regain my health for most of the remaining decade. I think I’m ready to settle into my 30s with fresh spunk.
  4. Life holds many surprises,  both good and bad. If I would have described the next 10 years of my life when I was 20, it would have been completely different than what it is today. So many things didn’t go the way I imagined them.
  5. Living in the tropical weather is wonderful. I never pictured myself living in Florida, since I adored the different seasons that I grew up with in upstate NY. I love the warm weather, the sunny days, palm trees, sandy beaches and clear blue waters of the Gulf Coast. Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 12.16.07 PM
  6. Relationships are more important than anything. They take time to cultivate but are worth the effort. You don’t need a passel of friends to be complete. You only need a few very dedicated, caring and true friends that really matter.
  7. It’s also important to choose the right friendships, because they will play a big role in your own life.
  8. Marriage is a partnership, a combination of two lives into one, but where each person still remains an individual. A great marriage is a combination of daily decisions and sacrifices to make it wonderful. It has emotional, challenging, romantic, humorous, trivial and both monotonous and priceless moments. When you don’t look for what you can get out of the relationship but what you can give the relationship, you get so much more in return. IMG_9654
  9. I have a type A, choleric personality (fast paced, task oriented, introverted). I figured it out in my mid twenties, and was very shocked, because I’ve always been very shy and quiet.
  10. I am a country girl at heart. There is nowhere that I feel so at peace and content as when I am surrounded by nature. Summer NY Trip-1-45
  11. Comparison is the thief of joy. Don’t compare yourself to other people. They are living different lives and have different circumstances. Besides, what we see on the outside is a very tiny sliver of the full picture of their life.
  12. Don’t try to be somebody else. It’s discouraging, tiring and useless. Be the best version of you.
  13. Never take the simple blessings of life for granted, like waking up healthy, being able to take a shower, savor and enjoy tastes and smells. When we look for things to be thankful for, we discover so many more blessings that we may not have noticed otherwise.
  14. True happiness and joy have nothing to do with outer circumstances.
  15. Being a mother is a dream come true and I still thank God every day that I get to experience it. The moment I heard my son’s first cry and the moment I first held him in my arms are forever stamped in my memory.Nathaniel-1-9
  16. The more I learn as a parent, the more I realize how much I have yet to learn.
  17. Our experiences with foster care and adoption were life changing. It opened our eyes to the needs that surround us in our own community and all around the world. Giving birth to our son made those experiences so much more meaningful and someday we hope to be a part of it again.
  18. The medical field is so incredible, it amazes me. I am so thankful that I became a nurse. Being a nurse is is definitely not easy, but is very rewarding. I also got to experience it as a patient too and it opened my eyes in a new way to the medical world.
  19. Books are a wonderful way to learn, grow, be challenged and to relax.IMG_6739
  20. Suffering is a difficult school to go through, and it can make you bitter or make you better. It grows your character, your patience and compassion.
  21. Old fashioned movies are my favorite. Give me Little House on the Prairie and Road to Avonlea any day:).
  22. Cooking has always been a passion of mine. It’s my way to relax, be creative and my love language to my family and friends.
  23. I DO NOT get bored as a stay at home mom:). Before I got married, I thought I would be a career gal, but when I was forced to stay home due to health reasons, and now work from home as a stay at home mom, I am very happy to report that I LOVE it. Being a homemaker is very rewarding and fulfilling.Homemade Vegetable Broth-10
  24. Living a healthy lifestyle is very important to me. Not only does it make you feel better, it allows you to enjoy life more.
  25. Being able to prioritize is one of the biggest keys to success.
  26. Integrity, honesty, and good values are more important than talent and skills. “Talent is a gift, but character is a choice.” ― John C. Maxwell
  27. A positive attitude is one of the most powerful tools that we can have. It takes practice, but it plays a huge role in being happy. “The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.” ― John C. Maxwell
  28. Traveling is so much fun. I’m so thankful for the opportunities that we had to visit the places we’ve already seen and look forward to experiencing more of the world in the future.

    Lake Como

    Our trip to Italy

  29. Faith comes in many forms and there isn’t a mold that it fits into. Sometimes, we experience miraculous, unexplainable and supernatural things in life. It builds our faith. Other times when we don’t receive the answers that we think we should,  it’s our faith that carries us through. I think that during those times our faith and trust in God grows even more.
  30. 30 seems like such a big change from 29. It feels like an end of an era. Let’s be real though, I don’t feel any different than I did a few days ago:). It also feels like just the beginning of my life, with so many more wonderful decades stretching before me. “The best is yet to be.”IMG_1106


  • Adriana

    Thank you for sharing, I 100% agree with all 30 things!
    Happy birthday Olga!
    May God continue to bless you and your family!

  • Vitaliya

    Happy birthday again Olga! Truly blessed to have you as my sister in law! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! The picture of all three of you at the end is just so so so cute with Nathaniels super cute smile!!!! You guys should frame it!!!

  • Tracee

    Excellent words of wisdom! I have some friends in their 50’s who haven’t learned much about life.

    I just lost my husband in December to a massive heart attack. I am grateful he wasn’t at home, or behind the wheel, or in front of our daughter. He was on the way to pick her up from a party and he made one stop which is where it happened. Because it was so unexpected, I didn’t have passwords to his iPhone where he kept a lot of info.

    I struggle each day to find joy but we are so busy purging rooms and closets, ripping up carpet and painting walls that I’m to tired to wallow!

    Your baby boy is so squeezable!!

  • Zoya

    Happy birthday Olga!! I agree on your 30 things!! Your baby boy is adorable! May God continue to abundantly bless you and your family!!!

  • Barbara Rita

    Dear Olga, Many happy returns – what a lovely birthday! And the list is very interesting read!
    Love it as always! Thanks

  • Olena@iFOODreal

    Happy Birthday!!! You are so right, especially about family and friends. Not everyone is blessed with a family like yours.
    30’s are wonderful! Much better than 20’s – still young but with more wisdom and life experience.:)

  • Vita

    Happy belated birthday, Olga!! Thank you for sharing your life lessons and delicious recipes with others! Your gentle spirit has touched my life in many ways, and you have inspired me in many ways!! 🙂 <3 May you and your family always be blessed, because you are such a blessing to others! Shine on!!!! 🙂

  • Irene

    You gave a lot of thought to your past decade. Very well written!
    It also made me reflect on my past decades! (I’m in my seventh!) Your words are very true and can be applied to most decades. With some changes, of course.
    Can’t resist passing on some words from my first mother-in-law. When I turned 30, she said those were the best years. And when I turned 40, those were the best years. And so on!!
    Enjoy each decade!

  • Tzivia

    Happy belated dirty 30 Olga darlin many more beautiful golden years ahead btw ha don’t look 30 thirties are also a great time for discovery wow love all the deets about your time during the 20s tells a whole life story and how it connects with food too you should do a cooking documentary

  • Milana

    Olga, You are definitely one of a kind! You are loved by so many people.
    Ha! You definitely need time off from everything you’ve been through.
    I’m so thankful that you are my oldest sister. Can’t believe you’re already 30😜
    May God continue to bless you in every way possible!
    your baby sister (one of them) haha

  • Tanya

    Olechka, Happy belated Birthday!!!! I love your list of reflection, so much thought, faith, love and hope! I’ve been were you’ve been, and it’s very hard to build up your health….it’s a daily struggle. Like you, I look up to my God for my faith, my hope, and healing. The Bible says: “…nothing is impossible for Me-says the Lord… I am the true God and I still raise up, save and heal…”. I love your positive attitude, your stories and amazing recipes that actually work. I thank God for you, because of you I am a better cook, mom and person. Thank you for sharing your life and your talents with us!

  • tanya

    i loved reading this post! thanks for sharing. God is so good! awesome 30 things learned. keep sharing God’s amazing work and love!! and of course your wonderful recipes! love u! God bless you.

  • AJ Paradis

    Many returns of the day to you! What a beautifully written post, and so much truth in your words. It’s making me wish that I had forced myself to reflect on my 20s. And thanks for reminding me of my love of both the Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Avonlea. The stuff of my childhood.

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