Turning 30: Five Things I Learned in my 20s

30th birthday party

I remember once upon a time when turning 30 seemed a distant memory, not even a concern in the least. In my teens I remember talking to peers who said we were “old” now because we were graduating high school. I would tell them you’re only as old as you feel because I felt like I was 15 on a bad day (on a good day I feel 12). Most of my friends have always been older than me so I never concerned myself much with age and that it meant anything other than wisdom.

So tomorrow I’m turning 30. Today my partner says he’s planning something for me and that I need to be ready to leave for dinner at 5:30pm.

Update: David threw me a surprise party and I thought maybe it would be us, his mom and maybe my mom… But it was my family, friends and at my favorite place to eat (Saigon) and it makes me cry just thinking of how much trouble he went to… For me! I’m just in shock and tears as I write this and SO grateful to have these people in my life.

I’m just wondering.. how significant is it to turn 30? How do others feel about turning 30? Am I supposed to be preparing some big, bold change? Am I supposed to feel or act different? I don’t. I will tell you what I’ve learned by 30, though, and maybe it will help you no matter what age you are.

“You’re 30: You know stuff now. Your 20s were for ‘ducking up,’ as my auto-correct would say, and learning from those mistakes. (For instance, never again will I convince myself that sleep is for sissies and go straight from a party to the airport. You will not ‘sleep on the plane’; you’ll vomit in the security line. Go to bed.)” β€” Olivia Wilde

1. Don’t settle.

You’ll learn by now that settling to keep things nice now will not pay off. If you feel like your settling in your job, your relationship, your friendships, for something less than you feel is healthy and encouraging for you then you’re only delaying the pain of giving yourself what you need. Do it now, don’t wait another 30 years. If you don’t know what you want then take a few years to honestly find out what your purpose in life is.

2. Take care of yourself.

You probably stopped eating cake, dessert and chocolate for breakfast (unless it’s your birthday, ha!) with a side of a fast food lunch and little to no exercise because you’ve seen how you age when you care for yourself that way. You’ve seen how your body changes and becomes more sensitive. I can hardly even eat cheeses or most dairy products now without my body breaking out in hives and my throat closing! Our bodies become more sensitive to what is good or not-so-good as we age; to keep looking our best incorporating healthy meals and daily exercise is important. Trust me, I’m pretty petite and enjoy junk food.. but all of a sudden the combination was very apparently affecting how I felt and looked much faster than in my 20s. What I eat today affects my body much faster than it did as a younger woman. I can even tell how it affects my mood and energy quicker than that.

3. Explore yourself.

Similar to #1, find your purpose in life, what means most to you and find a way to do it. For instance one of my purposes is to inspire others to live a happier, creative life and I carry this online, in my family, in my work. Even just at home I spend a lot of my time doing crafty things with the kids, connecting with them and doing art journal projects. My spouse is a contemporary realism painter and when I am able to encourage him and give him more availability to work I am doing this. My other purpose is to LOVE love love with no reservations and this is something you can do no matter what you do for a living or where you are. You can donate to the needy, save animals from dying in shelters, so many options of things that are unrelated to your location, family, job, etc but the goal is ultimately to find your purpose and live it in every way. Start small and allow it to affect your whole life. When you’re living for your purpose you will feel it.

4. Know that personal style is ageless.

I am one of those women that doesn’t believe you have to change your style as you age. If you see me out and about you’ll think I’m a teen (until I get wrinkles I suppose) and be shocked to know I am married with children and a professional career. Does that mean I dress inappropriately for work? No. I do dye my hair pink, wear bunnies, frilly skirts and rainbows galore. I cannot stand reading articles (I saw a lot when writing this) that explain how women need to “dress their age” because that is different for everyone. If you love it and it makes you feel beautiful, wear it. If people don’t like it they probably aren’t good for your spirit.

amber renee

5. Family growth.

You always hear that around 30 your biological clock ticks louder.. Some women who didn’t ever want babies suddenly are warming up to the idea. Is this because they feel a time crunch or because they want to experience mother hood? Have a baby is a huge amount of responsibility, it’s the hardest and most rewarding job there is. Let alone having more than one. However if that is your dream you’ll probably hold that as important to you prior to turning 30. If you’re having babies because you feel like you should, don’t. Having a child requires you to be 100% in and even then it will be very hard some days. If you don’t want kids, embrace it. Don’t ever feel like you need to do something because you’re “supposed” to want to. I always wanted a child and fawned over the Cosby family.. low and behold I have 4 kids and it works for me; I’m extremely happy. I even consider having another sometimes. Would it work for you? I don’t know. I’ve met equal amounts of women who are drowning in their decision for a big family.

13-going-on-30
I don’t care how cliche it is, I will always adore this movie and it is one of the very few chick flicks I actually own (the other one is Riding in Cars With Boys which is good too). Plus it has Mark Ruffalo in it.

Articles

Freaking Out About Turning 30? @ The Guardian
What to Own Before You Turn 30 @ Harper’s Bazaar
Why No Woman Should Ever Be Scared of Turning 30 @ She Does the City
Quotes from Celebrities on Age @ POPSUGAR
22 Books Every Woman Needs to Read @ The Frisky

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1 comment

  1. 1

    I’m currently 21 but my mind fluctuates between several different levels of maturity depending on mood and who’s company I’m in. I look forward to becoming old because the majority of friends are ‘old’, wisdom is incredibly attractive to me. Happy belated birthday I wish you oodles and oodles noodles of knowledge and wisdom.Xx

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