Turning 30.

Brian Falduto
7 min readFeb 21, 2022

Thinking back, what are the highlights of my 20’s? Make a list.

Coming out.

My surprise Survivor-themed 30th birthday party.

“A very ferry surprise” (21st).

Discovering a love & a gift for songwriting.

Creating a band. Expanding my music network. Bringing talented people together for a purpose.

Deciding to become a life coach.

Developing a meditation/mindfulness practice.

“Wintering” in LA (3x).

Fortifying friendships, creating a “chosen family.”

Trips: Fire Island, Sunnywood, Vermont, Upstate, Montreal, New Orleans, Eureka Springs, Rainbow Mountain.

Enrolling at AMAW (Anthony Meindl Actors Workshop).

Investing in self-work, increasing self-knowledge, & living in alignment with my discoveries.

Performing in general but specifically at nursing homes, album release shows, & pride festivals.

Filming & releasing “God Loves Me Too.”

Getting to share my story publicly; the incredible support & feedback following my viral interview with Now This News.

Saving lives through my work at The Trevor Project.

Attending the International Gay Coaches Conference.

Exploring my sexuality & owning my interests; embracing my kinky nature.

Quarantining for 2 months with Molly & Shanna in Nashville (Survivor nights!!)

Concerts & other perks from my days working at NASH FM.

Moving into new apartments, building new homes: Hoboken, Upper West Side, Brooklyn.

Time in nature. Hiking.

What are the lowlights of my 20’s? Make a list.

Losing my favorite person in the world, Grams.

The 3 men who broke my heart.

Losing Kevin.

Losing Justin.

Losing Uncle Larry.

Being publicly outed before I was ready.

Getting punched in the face by a family member.

Struggling & coming to terms with anxiety.

The 2016 election.

COVID-19.

The tough work of sitting with the parts of me that feel unlovable & unworthy.

My Instagram getting hacked/extorted.

Waiting tables.

Getting fired.

Indecision as to what to do with my life, lack of purpose.

My body aging: physical injuries, muscle imbalances, a cyst.

Close friends moving away.

Outgrowing relationships, experiences, & living situations.

What parts of life can I get rid of? What dreams no longer serve me?

I’m no longer someone who does a thousand things at once all the time. I am a simpler, truer, more beautiful version of myself that is not attached to the outcome of my efforts. Rather, I am invested in the process of my growth & the unfolding of my life.

I no longer care if I’m ever in another movie. I am an artist & a creative & a storyteller — even if the gatekeepers never deem me as such.

I no longer care if I am “successful” on social media. I don’t have the stamina for it. I’m more concerned with being authentically visible than with playing the game, following trends, & accumulating followers.

I no longer believe in “the one.” I’m open to the many forms that relationships come in & the ways in which they morph. I’m embracing a broader & more unconditional definition of love.

I am no longer subscribing to a culturally defined standard of beauty. I am learning to love my body as it is & for all that it does for me.

What truths about myself are hard to accept (but necessary to)?

I am limited & imperfect.

I contain within myself the capability to be all that it means to be human, including aspects of myself that most terrify me: anxious, clingy, manipulative, demanding, lonely, angry, irrational, masculine, feminine, judgmental, selfish, obsessive, compulsive, paranoid, sensitive, vulnerable, avoidant, & more.

I am special & not special at the same time .. unique & not unique.

I am not living the life that “little me” envisioned for myself & he’s a bit disappointed in me for that.

I spend a lot of my life unconsciously & in a virtual reality, void of presence & trapped in the prison of my own thoughts.

I will never arrive at any final or complete version of myself.

I will continue to get older & I will eventually die.

What are some things I’ve learned in the last few years?

No mud, no lotus flower.

I am the ocean, not the waves.

Awareness, acceptance, & compassion are our greatest tools for change.

I do not need to do anything to earn love. I am worthy of love just by existing. I am love.

There is no right way to live other than in a way that’s in alignment with what you want.

Listening is often the only thing needed to help someone.

If something is true for you, it’s probably true for someone else.

The things we don’t like in others are the things we don’t like in ourselves.

It’s rarely the thing. It’s usually your relationship to the thing.

Healing isn’t linear.

Being an artist is a choice you make. Every day. Over & over again.

In coaching, the root of most of the challenges that people face is low self-esteem.

Gender is dead.

Racism is rampant.

We hold each other to unrealistic standards of consistency. True growth requires us to be flexible, malleable, & ever-changing.

What aspects of my self & life now do I want to take with me into my 30’s?

My integrity.

My creativity.

My community.

My growing self-awareness.

My appreciation for nature.

My appreciation for travel.

My meditation practice.

My active lifestyle.

My planning & organizational skills.

My ability to be with/by myself.

My capacity to hold space for people.

My enthusiasm for experience.

My commitment to my passions.

What essence, feeling, or vibe do I want to infuse into my 30’s that I haven’t been feeling lately?

I was recently reminded that it’s okay to have fun. It’s not unhealthy to avoid pain or find ways to distract ourselves. There are ways to healthily process & reflect without living a life that’s defined by our emotions. I want to infuse my 30’s with more fun.

What are the habits, practices, intentions, or ways of being that I’d like to invite into my 30’s? And in what ways do I want to change.

I want to continue becoming more present.

I want to get better at letting go.

I want to have a more embracing relationship with reality.

I’m in a process of trying to become more flexible & intuitive with my habits & practices — not pressuring myself to do more than would serve me in the moment.

I want to get back into yoga more regularly.

I want to travel more.

I’d like to believe I’m evolving into a more secure & unconditionally loving version of myself.

I want to trust myself more.

What do I want to know more about & learn more about in my 30’s? Where does my curiosity lie? What do I want to know more about that I don’t already know?

There’s a theory that being an artist is not about developing skill but rather, it’s about removing blocks to discover innate talent. That’s how I view my work as an artist but also in my work as a coach & in my personal life. I’m clearing the clutter to make way for authenticity. How can I be more authentically visible & present? What’s left to be uncovered?

I want to keep learning, particularly about psychology & mental health. I want to continue to follow my curiosity as I contemplate & explore what it means to be human. And I want to know more about how storytelling can connect us all.

Write a letter to yourself from your 40-year-old self that offers love, support, & guidance.

Hey Bri -

I know it’s tough to believe but in just 10 years, 30 suddenly won’t feel like that big of a deal. In fact, I know there’s a lot that feels like a big deal to you right now but all of it won’t matter as much one day. You put a lot of pressure on yourself to make the right decisions & do the right thing, as if any of it will be the ultimate fix for something that’s missing. You spent a lot of your 20’s wrestling with this core belief that there’s something wrong with you; dissecting yourself in search of errors so that they can be corrected. It’s not your fault that you feel that way & it’s not your fault the ways in which you try to compensate for the way that you feel. But what I think you fail to realize sometimes is that the only constant throughout your 20’s (& your whole life for that matter) .. was you. I don’t mean the fluctuating aspects of you that you get attached to such as your thoughts, your feelings, your circumstances, your looks, your relationships, etc. I’m talking about the truest, most beautiful version of you that is still here, 10 years later, writing you this letter. The pure you that’s always been here & who is greater than all the sometimes scary ways in which you get caught up in yourself. However, if you can be so brave, I think it’s time to finally start trusting yourself .. because at your core, you are loving, you are reliable, & you are honest .. & that those sound like the qualities of someone worth trusting. Stop looking elsewhere for what you already have. There’s nothing wrong with you & there never has been. There’s something right with you & at age 40 I can promise you: it’s not going anywhere.

I love you. Happy Birthday.

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