This is me on my 30th birthday, and although I’m smiling and on the verge of laughing – I remember feeling nervous and a bit depressed on the inside. “Why” you might ask? Because like most people, I hadn’t accomplished nearly half of the life goals that I had set for myself before turning the Big 3-0 and in some ways I felt like I was “behind” in life. I was still figuring out life and felt a little ashamed because of it. Looking back I think it’s funny that I was so hard on myself (thank you quarter life crisis), because the further I get into my 30’s I realize I’m not the only one that has felt this way and no one else has figured out life yet either so I’m off the hook (whew!).
It’s amazing to me how so many twenty something’s think turning 30 is this dreadful period of life that symbolizes the beginning of the end of for their youth and good times. And I think that stems from rumors of others saying “how old” they feel now, and how they just “can’t hang like they used to.” Look your 35 not 75 so stop it! The truth is – your thirties will change you, just as your twenties did, and every other decade of your life until the clock stops ticking. Change is a part of life! So I wanted to take a moment to share some of the important changes/lessons I have encountered since the moment the above picture was taken.
- You Care Less About the Opinion of Others – I remember when I was 29, a friend of mine in her mid 30’s said “Girl you’re going to love being in your 30’s”….”Why?” I asked…”Because you stop caring about what other people think.” I remember thinking that this couldn’t be possible because I ALREADY didn’t really care about what people think and have always been able to march to the beat of my own drum! But I did quickly learn…It is is possible to care even less. This will at times be a Catch 22 – because on the one hand it will be liberating to realize how little you rely on others input for your life decisions. However on the other hand it will indefinitely hurt some of those closest to you when your “I give zero f*cks” attitude goes too far (and trust me sometimes it will).
- You get over heartbreak faster – Now to be clear when I say that you will get over heartbreak faster I am not proclaiming that it will be any easier (heartbreak will always be absolutely and wholeheartedly painful *pun intended*). I’m just saying that you will have matured enough by now to learn not hold onto it longer than necessary. Because every minute you spend holding onto the past is a minute lost enjoying your future.
- You redefine your criteria for friendships – During our adolescent years we naturally develop our friendships based on the various environments we are forced to interact with others such as where we live, learn, play, and pray. Since this pattern of socialization is ingrained in us we carry this same practice into our early adulthood and even define the “closeness” of our relationship to others based on how many years we’ve known each other since adolescence. I can’t lie I’ve been guilty once upon a time of saying “Me and so and so are such good friends we’ve known each other since Junior High!”. It might be true that you have known each other for a few decades, but if your childhood bonds or tenure is your primary basis for your friendship, it’s probably not a very solid one. When I entered my 30’s and things shifted entirely (I’m talking even the day of my birthday!). It was like all of a sudden a switch had been flipped inside of me and I started re-evaluating why I was maintaining certain friendships and realizing how much effort it took to have quality friendships. It was an epiphany for me to not just realize that I didn’t have to be friends with someone just because I had “known them forever,” but to also no longer have the fear to cut people out of my life that were toxic, I had outgrown, or just didn’t vibe with anymore. Seasons change, friendships change, people change, and that’s okay.
- You value your”me time”– I swear that I have always been an introvert from the day I was born (ask my mom), which means as much as I love spending time with others I have to recharge alone. Yet I am a bit surprised at how much more “me time” I need since turning 30. This valuable time isn’t just limited to recharging as it’s now a part of my self-care. I regularly take myself to dinner, the movies, museums, spa days, and hikes by myself. I even travel alone occasionally. I enjoy doing all of those things with other people as well, but there’s a special sense of bonding and self-awareness I gain when I get to live in the moment uninterrupted. **Side Note: I find even my extroverted friends have come to appreciate me time during their 30’s so this definitely is not only applicable to introverts***
- You start investing in your health –Everyone knows that if you don’t eat right and exercise your health will be affected, but it isn’t until you leave your 20’s behind you that you start to feel the difference. Your metabolism decreases, the side of effects of stress become more apparent physically and mentally, you don’t bounce back from hangovers as quickly as you used to, You start yawning around 11pm Friday nights (unless you chug a red bull) because work kicked your butt again, playing with babies and kids wears you out within an hour or two and the list goes on! With that said you are by no means old, but you recognize that if you don’t cut back on the junk food, drink your water, take your vitamins, and at least get in a moderate workout 2-3 times a week….you have less engery and are ultimately shortening your life span. Suddenly those fruits and veggies mom used to force you to eat don’t seem so bad after all do they? The exception to that is Quinoa and Grape Fruit, I have really tried to like both but they are just bitter and disgusting to me and therefore I have decided they are of the Devil, and if sin had a taste it would taste like Quinoa with a side of Grape Fruit. End of story. Moving on…
- You understand that sometimes you have to be selfish in order to be selfless Often times we are amazing at showing up for others whether it be our spouses, children, family, friends, or co-workers but we don’t show up for ourselves; that is until now. Somewhere along the way in this decade you will realize that in order to be of service to others you have to take care of yourself first! What good is a helping hand if it isn’t strong enough to pull you up?
- You realize you can have it all, but not all at the same time – Your childhood through your early 20’s is like living in the field of dreams. Life is all about what’s next? And what you hope to happen, and then in your mid to late 20’s when all of those dreams haven’t fallen into place the quarter life crisis starts to rear its early ugly head and turning 30 brings on a state of panic. But eventually your perspective changes and you accept the fact that every decision in life comes with a trade-off ,which is why we are all in different lanes running at different speeds. So stay in your lane, put in the work, and have faith that whatever is meant for you, will be brought to you.
So that’s my notion on what I’ve learned so far living in my 30+ year old skin, but now I’d like to hear from you! What are some of the life lessons you’ve learned so far? Leave a comment because I love to learn from others.