When you’re in your 20s and younger, 30 seems like this insurmountable beast of a thing. You assume that you’ll no longer be “young” and “cool,” as if when the clock strikes midnight on your 30th birthday, your skin rapidly wrinkles like something out of a low-budget horror movie. As someone well into their 30s, I can assure it doesn’t work like that. Instead, you’ll be spending the big three-oh feeling the exact same as you did at 29, and 28, and 27…
Not only is there nothing to fear about turning 30, there’s actually a lot to look forward to. So, as your resident thirty-something, I’m here to ease some of your worry, you youthful sprites.
You’re not a husk of your former self.
Quit believing all that media around aging. Sure, you might be a little droopier as you get through your 30s, but also, so what? That’s just natural aging. And you aren’t going to be nearly as old-looking as you’re probably fearing. In fact, many of us thrive as we get older. I know my hair is WAY better now, and I have years of experience to thank for that.
You’re more comfortable with your body’s weird quirks–and you’re cool with talking about it.
Here’s something you might be horrified to learn: As you get older, you’re going to get hairier. I swear, every year I find a new beard hair. The cool thing is that, while my body is changing, I’m not hung up about it. It’s also fun to mention the beard stuff to my fellow thirty-something ladies and have them all commiserate, sharing what we do to get rid of it. (Hint: a lot of us shave our faces.) We’re all going through it, so why keep it a secret?
Your confidence is on the incline.
Okay, you might have read that last bit about facial hair and wanted to hide under your covers. Nah, there’s no time for that. Hang-ups can be left in your 20s. As you get older, you look around at all the other people getting older and think to yourself, “yeah, I’m great the way I am.” We all are. And since all of the “you have to look perfect” media out there is geared toward “young people” it won’t affect you as much when you’re older.
And your anxiety is on the decline.
Look forward to some of your anxiety quietly leaving you as you get older. Maybe it’s from life experience. Maybe it’s from worrying less about the people around you. It could be because of all the years you’ve now stacked up in therapy. Either way, things are looking up, babes.
You’re a lot less likely to put up with other people’s shit.
Remember all the guys who treated you terribly? And remember how you put up with them anyway? I’m telling you, it’s a lot easier to cut them loose as you get older. Why waste your time dating a dud or letting people bully you at work? You’re a boss babe in your 30s and have no time for that.
You’re better at listening to your gut.
Our culture often tries to dampen our instincts. We’re taught not to trust our gut, instead giving people chance after chance when they’ve already proven to be terrible. As you make your way through your 30s, you’ll start to listen to your intuition more. It turns out that your gut rarely steers you wrong as long as you give it the attention it deserves.
You’re more authentic to your real self.
“Fitting in” really isn’t a thing anymore, or at least it’s a lot less likely to steer your decisions in your 30s. I mean, what did all that conforming get you in your teens besides hobbies you didn’t care about and a questionable belly button piercing? In your 30s you can be authentic, do what you like, and not care about the repercussions. I have split-dyed pink and turquoise hair in my 30s because I want it, even though it’s not what people traditionally think of for someone my age. Take the “screw it” approach and do what you want.
You’re (hopefully) a lot more financially secure and stable.
Terrible pandemic problems aside, you’ll probably have more financial security in your 30s. Savings accounts grow. Raises and promotions happen. You learn better about over-spending and feel the consequences when you go on that impromptu trip to Boca with your friends. Aging means wisdom, and in the case of finances, things are looking up. It also means you can still go on those trips you love in your 30s if you just budget for it. No sketchy hostels for you anymore.
You’re learning that you can start new things at any age.
There’s this idea that whoever you are in your 20s, that’s who you’ll be as you get older. It’ll be too late to change careers, try something new, be someone else. Here’s the thing: life is long. You may not have yourself figured out in your 30s (or 40s, or 50s, or 90s), and that’s okay. It’s never too late.
You learn that you don’t have to follow the rules.
You’ve probably seen those lists in magazines or online about “things you shouldn’t wear when you turn 30.” Or maybe you have this idea that in your 30s you have to be married with kids and a house. But all of the experience and confidence you’re gaining help you realize that you don’t have to be on anyone’s timeline but your own. So wear those short skirts. Skip the marriage and the kids if you don’t want them. All those cultural rules for aging are arbitrary. Hurray!