People always told me that life in my 30’s would be different.
“The 30’s are the new 20’s” apparently.
“It’s where you find yourself!” Okay then…
I just didn’t believe them.
But low and behold, as I entered and moved through my 30’s I DID find comfort in my own skin and a new perspective on life. I became that confident woman I’d always wanted to be! And that’s not all. According to pretty much anyone I’ve talked to over the years who is either going through their 30’s or has surpassed it, well, they all agree! Life in your 30’s is awesome and only gets better!
So here’s why I really do believe that life in your 30’s is an amazing period in life.
1. You realise what is truly important in your life
In your 30’s you realise what was seemingly so important in your teens and twenties is really insignificant, and it’s a huge reality check.
Those things that used to feel like the end of the world; that guy who didn’t return your text, the messy house, having way too much on your to-do list, not having good enough clothes, shoes or handbags, not landing that job you had your heart set on…well, you look back and laugh at how silly you were at making a mountain out of those mole hills!
I’ve found that as my 30’s progressed, things that had freaked me out before no longer bothered me or scared me as much. The fact was I now had bigger things on my plate. I had loved, I had laughed, I had lost. I had lived and learned. And I had survived.
2. You find your true path
In your 30’s you start to realise, if you haven’t already, what you really want out of life and start to make tracks down your true path – wherever it is.
Okay, so you might not be ON that path right away, but knowing what you DON’T want is a big part of the solution – and in your 30’s you really figure that out!
What you need to remember is that it’s never too late to change your mind, direction or path you’re on…so what better time than in your 30’s! Just get off your ass, try everything once (okay, almost everything…), and start crossing things off your bucket list (or even extending your bucket list).
3. You embrace who you REALLY are
In your 30’s you really do find comfort in your own skin. It’s actually freakily weird, but you come into your own and develop that inner confidence you wished you’d had in your teens and faked in your 20’s (well, I did)!
In your 30’s, suddenly being what everyone else wanted you to be doesn’t matter anymore. What becomes more important is who you really are deep down inside and what YOU really want to do. And if you actually wake up in your 30’s (if you hadn’t before), this is who you start presenting to the world. After all, there is no other you, so why keep YOU hidden?!
4. You call the bullshit
In your 30’s you tend to really hone your bullshit detector. I tell you, these days I can [mostly] sniff bullshit from a mile away. I’m no longer as naive as I was, but the problem is that this makes it really hard to hide my disdain when I sense it. This is especially bad when working in most corporate offices or attending networking events. I have such a low threshold for egos, fakes and wankers. I also have a face that shows everything… I should have been an actor.
5. You toughen up
Yep, the princess in you toughens up when you hit your 30’s.
You (finally) develop that tougher skin and drop some of your sensitivities. You also find that what people say and think about you doesn’t affect you as much as it once did, leaving you a lot more time and head space to tackle the most important things in life.
6. You realise it’s not too late to make a change
In your 30’s (and even before) a lot of people will tell you that you are running out of time for a lot of things. Relationships, marriage, babies, more babies… And if it’s not that it will be that you’re wasting your time barking up the wrong tree, after the wrong man, job, dream…
There will always be a critic. A naysayer. A gossip.
Don’t listen to them.
What they don’t want you to know. What they are terrified of you finding out, is this;
It’s NEVER to late.
And that they are probably too scared to chase their dreams.
The truth is that it’s never too late to make a change, to do something new, to break out and just do something crazy! You only live once so why not?
Your 30’s are the perfect time to make some well-needed changes in your life – especially those you’ve been putting off. That new job, the course you wanted to study, ending that relationship, travel. Just do it! After all, a change can really be as good as a holiday!
7. You find your voice
In your 30’s you learn to speak up for yourself. Voice your opinion. Disagree even…maybe a little too much for some people…gosh I’ve got myself into trouble in my 30’s. But I’ve also accomplished more in the last 6 1/2 years than I did in the previous 29.
As a young-un I was as shy as a mouse, labeled boring, an introvert, a snob…but in my 30’s I finally discovered and started to use my voice. Okay, now I possibly speak too much on occasion, sometimes my opinions aren’t welcome, and sometimes I need to learn to shut up – but after years of suffering in silence I have so much to say!
8. It’s all about the small things in life
When you’re in your 30’s you start to appreciate the smaller things in life so much more than you did before. A glass of red wine, a nice coffee, a square of chocolate, some nice shoes, a hug from a niece, a smile, or a good old guttural belly laugh. And then there’s a great movie and a night on the couch watching your favourite TV series. They all sound so good – especially all together!
9. True friendships blossom
In your 30’s you accept that friends come and go, that you will make lots of acquaintances through life, but that true friendship will last a lifetime even if you don’t see each other for a year or three.
I love seeing my good friends, because even though we may not have seen each other for a year, every time we meet up its like we saw each other yesterday.
10. You find contentment
The ‘c’ word, it was so freakin’ scary in my 20’s. Often confused with ‘settling’ it was the last thing I wanted. I was petrified about buying a house and being locked into a 40-year mortgage, and the thought of committing to a man, as in getting married. That thought would have me running for the hills. I was a free spirit. I would travel. Explore. Live!
To think that feeling content would be so wonderful.
These days I love nothing better than to settle down on the couch on a Friday or Saturday night with a glass of wine and a good movie, to then be in bed no later than 11pm. How times – and people – change!
11. There’s a certain beauty to reflection
Your 30’s are the perfect time to reflect on what you have learned throughout your life journey so far. You also become aware of your weaknesses and know how to put them aside to focus on your strengths.
You have tackled the struggles and the passage of the younger years and you are still young enough to enjoy life. Most importantly you have survived. Give yourself some credit as it hasn’t been a walk in the park.
Use all you have learned to make you a better you, to do some good in the world, to make a difference, and most importantly pat yourself on the back for how far you’ve come!
It’s time to stand tall and be proud of you.
12. Learning to embrace those laughter lines
Now this is a hard one for most people, but I encourage you to work on it. You need to realise that those fine lines developing on your face mean that you have lived, laughed and loved – they are the roads of your life. Why get rid of them with something derived from botulism? Why waste thousands on miracle treatments and creams that don’t work? Why erase the evidence of your life lived?
Embrace those laughter lines, baby!
White hairs on the other hand…that one I’m still struggling with! I finally embraced my natural red hair colour in my 30’s – and now it’s turning white! ARGH!
13. You finally realise what your parents meant back in the day
I actually never saw this one coming BUT I’ve had so many moments in my 30’s where I’ve been hit by the ‘oh…that’s what my parents meant‘ sledgehammer.
All of those times they told me to wipe that filthy look from my face. Yep. I now know what they meant. Short shorts. I no longer understand why girls wear them. Chicks who wear hardly anything going clubbing. I can’t imagine how I used to do that in winter? I’ve even caught myself saying the good old ‘youth of today’ catch-phrase [facepalm]. Oh, and my other half makes Dad jokes which are met with eye rolls as a response… you gotta laugh (otherwise you’ll possibly cry!).
14. The other ‘C’ word
I never saw myself as the type of person who would ever get married and settle down but there you have it. I also never dreamed of the white dress and the picket fence, but at the age of 38 I finally did AND I loved it. I loved wedding planning, I loved our wedding, and I love being married. I also love having our own home (no picket fence). I even have 2 step children… I’m a step mum! Admittedly, I’m still trying to adjust to the name-change thing but hey. That will come…
15. You’ve loved, lost and survived
Life isn’t complete without either love or loss, but they are what make us who we are. They make us stronger, wiser, more fragile yet more appreciative of what we have, including our own life and the lives of others.
Love and life don’t last forever so treasure every precious moment. If you haven’t been doing it, there’s no better time than in your 30’s.
16. Shit gets serious!
If you weren’t taken seriously in your 20’s (you were too young, not world wise, too naive, too inexperienced), then by the time you get to your 30’s people should be starting to take you seriously, especially regarding things like that promotion you’ve been chasing.
I looked really young in my 20’s – a blessing in my 30’s – so I found it hard to get people to take me seriously as a Project Manager in a male dominated environment. This made me really doubt myself, and so I felt like a fraud more times than not. Finally, in my 30’s I’m being taken seriously and people are listening to me. Perhaps that’s the confidence and self-belief talking also…but at least I’m not being called a kid anymore!
17. Getting rid of your excess baggage
Baggage. We all collect it.
Heartbreak, shitty jobs, broken promises, abandoned dreams.
Some of us have a ton of it, but by the time you hit your 30’s you really should start throwing out that excess baggage. I highly recommend it – you’ll feel so much lighter for it!
18. The benefit of hindsight
I never saw myself as the type of person to attend a high school reunion but I grew some balls and went to my 20th high school reunion and really enjoyed it after almost freaking out and not going. I’m glad I went. It helped me to realise that high school hadn’t been that bad after all.
In your late 30’s you start to look back on your teenage years with fondness. Distance helps make things much less cringeworthy and even bearable!
19. You aren’t as old as you feel… sometimes
I’m 39, and for most of my 30’s I’ve felt like I was still 20 something. I also look like I’m in my late 20’s (bonus!). It’s when the aches and pains set in that you are reminded you are getting older and need to really look after yourself. You really should…
20. You start to look after yourself or know you should
We all know smoking is bad, drinking booze in moderation is good, eating fast food is not healthy, that moderate exercise is healthy, and that stress can kill us. It’s our personal decision whether we listen to our bodies, our minds, and the doctor’s. It comes down to choice. You either look after yourself or you don’t. Enough said.
21. You’re alive.
22. You learn to say no
That’s powerful shit. And life changing.
As a chronic people-pleaser, it took me until my 30’s to start saying no to people. It took me a lot longer to start saying no without stressing about it for days beforehand and ending up an anxious mess. It took me even longer to be able to say no to their faces…
21. You know you’re not perfect and that’s okay
Because no one’s perfect, that’s why! By now you know that. You know you aren’t, you know your parents aren’t, you know your friends and partners aren’t, and you know you’re bosses certainly aren’t.
22. Learning your own life hacks
By now you know what works for you and what doesn’t.
The key is not to follow the masses and to choose the life hacks that work for you, even if they aren’t ‘en-trend’. And if they are en-trend, don’t just do them because everyone else is. You know you’re not a lemming. You know what to do.
23. You walk to the beat of your own drum
Spend life in your 30’s walking to the beat of your own drum. After all, you’re an individual. You love what you love. You hate what you hate. You’re a mum, a sister, a daughter, a partner, a friend, a colleague… You’re also a dreamer, a closet nerd, a gamer, writer, an old-school rocker, a crafter, a wino, a cougar, a lover, a traveller, a cross between everything. Whatever, whoever you are. You march to the beat of your own drum, finally.
24. You have so many memories to look back on and many more to make
Personally, I love looking back at my old photos, even the daggy ones – and there are plenty. And by photos, I mean old-school print outs on photo paper and stuff. They look so retro and remind me of the days when you had to wait until you got your photos back from the developer before seeing the 5 photos out of 64 that you looked good in.
I love looking back on my memories with no regrets. Sure I fucked up plenty. I had depression. Some shitty stuff happened. But there are no regrets aside from one. Spending more time with my Nan in the last few years. That’s a biggy.
25. Getting happier as you get older
The realisation that you don’t have to grow old and grumpy, that you actually have a choice. AMAZING!
I’m learning that you fall on one side or the other – you either believe old people become grumpy or that as you age you can actually be happy.
I challenge you to be the later as according to a lot of people the former is how we all end up.
26. You stop chasing happiness
You also stop talking about it and start living it. Or rather, you should. Read this.
Make happiness a habit in your 30’s. I tell you, the moment I stopped chasing happiness, that was the day everything changed. It was the day I simply allowed myself to BE happy.
27. You have a life mantra
In my 20’s my mantra was ‘Carpe Diem’ (seize the day). Now it’s ‘fuck it’. I actually think they kinda mean the same thing so I haven’t changed much that way!
28. You own your story
Never deny your struggles as they are an important part of your story. Own it.
There’s no better time to do this than in your 30’s, because you would have been through some shit. I tell you, I could easily hate on my depression, anxiety and other shitty stuff but these days I choose not too. I own my story because everything that has happened to me has made me who I am today and helps me to give back to others.
29. The kids question
You have them, you don’t have them but plan to have them, you will never have them, you’re an aunt, you’re a grandparent, or you can’t stand them. By now you know which makes it slightly easier to answer the bloody kid question or to choose your social circle. Me, I fall into the ‘never wanted kids, adore my nieces, married a man with 2 kids, love them and am now a step-mum’ circle.
30. You’re still growing
And you will continue to do so. Embrace all that life has to give, and as you continue to do so you will continue to live an amazing life, even with its ups and downs. Think of it as a roller coaster 🙂
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