Turning 30 is weird.
Society puts so much pressure on us to have certain things figured out by this age, like we’re supposed to have it all together – a house, a stable job, a spouse, and maybe even a baby on the way.
But for us 90s kids, that’s not how it goes for most of us, and that’s okay.
I just turned 30 a month ago, and I’m here to report that none of those things are checked off my list. I’m single, splitting my time between countries while patiently waiting for my dual citizenship process. I’m hustling with my startup and freelancing to make a living, and there’s definitely no baby in sight. But you know what? I’m good with all of that. It’s what I want right now, and that’s what’s important.
However, I can’t deny that turning 30 has definitely brought some clear changes to my life.
Turning 30 changes things
I mean, I’m not saying you hit the big 3-0 and everything magically changes overnight. It could be the build-up during your years in your late 20s with the end of the decade looming over you that brings about the difference. But let’s be real, by the time you hit 30 you start seeing things from a slightly different perspective.
Usually around this time, there comes a moment when you suddenly realize you are indeed getting older and that time isn’t slowing down for you. So you start looking at things in your life from a new angle. You question the way you’re currently living and think about whether that’s how you want to keep going in the future and what you truly want out of life.
It’s not just about the big things like your purpose, career, and relationships, but also the smaller things like your health and self-care routines. You start to understand the importance of taking care of yourself both physically and mentally because let’s face it, our bodies don’t bounce back as they used to in our 20s.
Now, I get that everyone’s experiences are different, but after chatting with friends who’ve also reached this milestone and some “older” people who have the privilege of hindsight, I’ve noticed some common threads. These shared insights give us a glimpse into what life’s all about at this stage:
In our 20s, we often sought guidance from others, relying on their experiences and the advice of authority figures like parents. We did things more on a whim, with less thought about the outcome, because time is on our side- this is important because that’s how we learn who we are, what we like, and what we want to do.
Once you hit 30, there’s this feeling of taking responsibility for yourself. You start to look back on what a decade of adulthood has brought you. And from there, you’ve got two options: keep on going if you’re happy, or make small adjustments to steer yourself in the right direction. Sometime around turning 30, there’s this realization that with every choice you make, you’re paving how your time will be spent, and as you’ve started to realize time is finite you bring a little more gravity to your decision making.
However, as we grow older, we’ve accumulated this wealth of personal experiences, and we are empowered to make decisions that truly reflect who we are. With this comes a sense of responsibility for the outcomes of our choices.
The other day, against my better judgment I found myself in the club where 20-year-old me, met my first “serious boyfriend”. While I was enjoying dancing, I couldn’t help but notice how everyone there (mostly early 20s) was so obviously insecure, they were all looking around to see who was looking at them rather than enjoying themselves. Nobody looked like they were actually having fun.
At that moment, while I was darting for the exit, I couldn’t help but appreciate the wisdom and confidence that come with age. It didn’t matter anymore whose eyes were on me; I knew who I was and I was fine with that, whether others liked it or not.
There’s also a sense of freedom that comes with this new age. You start caring less about what people think and become more comfortable in your own skin. You’ve made it through your 20s and you know who you are, what you like, and what you want. And that’s a pretty amazing feeling.
While this is not to say you won’t have moments of doubt and uncertainty, I don’t think that ever goes away, you have the tools to work through it and not let it stop you in your path. You value yourself over other people’s opinions of you, and that is nothing short of freeing.
As we get older, our priorities change. We start to focus on what truly matters to us: our health, relationships, personal growth, and making a positive impact in the world. We become more mindful of how we spend our time and energy, choosing to invest it in things that bring us joy and fulfillment.
When I was 20 it was about knowing the most people and having a non-stop social life. At 30, I would easily opt for solitude over spending time with people I don’t resonate with. This doesn’t mean I avoid meeting new people – as someone who moves around a lot, it’s important to put yourself out there, or there’s no social life. But I’ve become more selective about who I let in and how much time I dedicate to those relationships.
Although I began prioritizing my health in my mid-20s, it was only recently, around the age of 28-29, that I started shifting away from late nights that stretched into the early morning. Instead, I started prioritizing quality sleep and being able to fully enjoy the following day. I still love going out for a night of dancing, but I’ve also grown to appreciate the simple joy of waking up refreshed in the morning and fully enjoying the day. It brings a sense of fulfillment that goes beyond the excitement of nighttime escapades.
As I write this, I can still feel my 20-year-old self rolling my eyes and thinking it’s boring. But now, at 30, I’ve come to realize that it’s anything but dull. Real boredom is enduring a day-long hangover just for a momentary pleasure from the night before.
As we gain more experience, we also become more self-aware. We start to understand our strengths and weaknesses, our triggers and motivations. And with this understanding comes the opportunity for personal growth.
At 30, I have a better understanding of my values and what truly matters to me. I’ve learned to let go of toxic relationships, say no to guys with red flags as fun as they might seem, and prioritize my mental health. I’ve also become more comfortable with setting boundaries and saying no to things that don’t align with my values without falling into FOMO.
I’ve also made it a point to make habits of things that can help me grow into the person I want to be like, like yoga, meditation, and therapy. These practices have really helped me build a stronger sense of self and develop a more positive and resilient mindset. These practices help me stay aligned with my purpose and keep me motivated to keep moving forward and growing.
Embracing turning 30
While turning 30 might bring up some unwanted emotions that come with facing the reality of aging, here’s the thing – change is inevitable.
Instead of fighting it, we should embrace it and use it as an opportunity for growth. Maybe it’s time to try something new, take a leap, or step out of our comfort zone. Now you’ve got something you didn’t have at 20: life experience. Your possibilities are endless, and who knows what amazing things could come from embracing change.
Plus, if you ask anyone who’s been through their 30s, they’ll tell you it’s the best decade, so enjoy it!