As I approached thirty, I knew that there were some great things to look forward to. I won’t lie to you, I really enjoyed my twenties. As I’ve lived for almost 5 years into ‘the thirties life,’ I’ve found a few things to be fact…
Rest is Implied
It wasn’t until right around thirty that I noticed a slight slow down. For example, it isn’t unusual for my friends and I to have plans for dinner and drinks. However after dinner, we all look stuffed and tired. Finally someone admits that all they want to do is go home, get comfy, and crash. We all raise our hands in agreeance and the night ends there. My bed is more of my buddy than in the past as well. After a long day of work, the idea of ripping off my clothes and hopping in my bed excites me more than a delicious meal.
What I’ve learned is if you want a night one the town, start with the drinks and see where the night takes you. You might just end up at the diner getting breakfast at 2:16am. Don’t sleep on your hours of sleep. Make sure you’re getting at the [absolute] least 6 hours.
Hangovers will hang you
I never realized that in my twenties I had the serious bounceback. I could day drink and night drink, and wake up the next morning and have a productive day. The strangest phenomenon began to occur in my thirties, my hangovers would knock me down. I’m not talking about the nights that I have had a bit too much to drink, it could just be a few strong drinks that lead to a pounding headache the next day.
What I’ve learned is you must truly drink a full glass of water in between every drink. You must also make sure that before bed you’ve eaten something to absorb whatever else lingers inside. I’ve heard of people popping an Advil, but I don’t cosign taking meds unless it is absolutely necessary.
Schedule your social life
How did we all get so busy? I have found that making time for your social life has become more difficult since approaching thirty. Everyone is starting to thrive in their career. We have the means to try new hobbies or activities. Many of us have an intimate relationship. Some of us have kids. I don’t remember having to put a conscious effort into getting together with friends in my twenties. We just spontaneously found ourselves somewhere together.
What I’ve learned is to nurture your friendships with time. Be sure to schedule something monthly with your friends in the area. For me, these are group friend gatherings. I also try to get together every quarter with my individual friends who live outside of my area.
Appreciate where you are
There are so many different places that one could find themselves in during their thirties. Some people are seriously dating on the cusp of engagement. While others are married with small children. I know several people who are divorced, and so happy knowing exactly what they want this time around. It is easy to look around and compare your life to others, but don’t do it. Women marry and have babies in their 40’s.
What I’ve learned is there is no ideal place that you must find yourself in during your thirties. You can be free to explore, and don’t worry if you feel you’re behind. None of my thirty year old girlfriends actually look their age. And it’s 2020, eggs can be frozen.
Take ownership for your mistakes
Gone are the days where you can brush off your faux pas without apology. In our twenties we were just figuring out this adulthood thing, and we made tons of mistakes in doing so. Those days are long gone. In our thirties, we all should’ve allowed life’s little lessons to evolve our maturity. We should know how to own where we have gone wrong. Pride is a terrible beast, and it will literally make an ass out of us if we allow it to do so.
What I’ve learned is that I can accept my imperfection, be transparent about it with others, and give an appropriate apology when needed. It may be hard to put on your big girl panties, but we always can and we will be respected so much more for it.
Go to therapy or coaching
If you haven’t had the luxury of sitting on someone’s couch and spilling the experiences that shaped you into who you are today- you are missing out. Yes, I’m biased because I am a both a counselor and a life coach. However, the majority of my friends have sought out professional help at some point in time in their twenties or thirties. By our thirties, we should have an idea of who we are, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t struggle with our self-identity and personal development. The world today puts out so much info that can make us feel like we aren’t where we should be in some area of our lives. We cannot lose our confidence and self-esteem.
What I’ve learned is that therapy is the most underutilized resource that the average person has access to in 2020. It is covered in every health insurance plan. By chance if someone doesn’t accept your insurance, you can make small changes to your everyday living to afford to self-pay.
Knock out those student loans
Just about every thirty something I know has student loans. It’s not a surprise, many people aren’t lucky enough to have had the wealth or aptitude to have their college fully paid for. Several of my friends have graduate degrees, which is really where the money piled up. As we are starting to make more money, and combining our lives with others, it is a good idea to get aggressive with paying off your student loans if you can.
What I’ve learned is that student loans will remain that pain in the pit of your stomach, until you actually get serious about getting rid of them. They will hold you back in ways that you may not have thought about like getting a mortgage, a business loan, or a new car.
Settle into your spirituality
Wait, I’m not talking about religion here for those who may not be religious. I am talking about the spirit that lies inside of everyone. You have to begin to nurture it in your thirties. The rush of your twenties made it hard for you to really care for your internal self [and probably external]. Having a healthy self-care routine will keep you in line when thirties life throws you an unexpected dagger.
What I’ve learned is that I need to take out time everyday to connect with my spirit. I do this through reading, journaling, prayer, and exercise. However, there are so many acts that can be done to nurture this part of who you are.
Travel the world
I was lucky enough to do some travel in my twenties, but it was always limited. Limited by my finances, or friend’s schedules, or whatever other factors kept us down. In my thirties I have been able to take some amazing trips to so many different areas of the world. At this time in our lives, we finally have the means and time off to do so. Most of my friends [including myself] don’t have children yet, so we are really free to go wherever. How inspiring!
What I’ve learned is to maximize my time and use my freedom to my advantage by traveling to wherever it is that I want to go. I’ve learned so much and become way more open-minded having traveled to other parts of the world.
As a thirty something, you have probably learned what you like and what you don’t like. I think that it is time to start being assertive and advocating for what you need. Whether it is in the workplace or in your intimate relationship. You have to realize your self-worth and set boundaries so that others see your worth as well. By our thirties we have learned lessons about life, self-corrected issues, and should have an idea of how wonderful we are for doing those things.
What I’ve learned is that if I don’t think I am worthy, no one else will. This has been a tough realization at times. However, I’m always able to immediately set boundaries and start valuing myself, even if I haven’t in the past.
Make your career work for you
We spent our twenties trying to figure out what it is that we would like to do for our long term career. Many of us went to college and invested in our vocational future. We studied [or worked] very hard to get to where we are today in our careers. It is time to start tailoring that work to something that we really would like to be doing. I realized at 31 that I no longer loved managing the other counselors who worked for me, so I let them all go and went back to being a solo practitioner at my private practice. I couldn’t be happier.
What I’ve learned is that I don’t have to follow the status-quo. I can make my career into what I want it to be, because I know what I like and I know what I don’t like. The possibilities are endless.