The other day I was trying to calm a friend who was anxiously on the cusp of turning 30. The conversation got me thinking about how much I'm loving my 30s. Once you realize that each phase of your life brings you extraordinary gifts, it's easier to enjoy the process of maturing.
Here's my personal list of the things in my 30s that have surprised me and made me feel a lot more relaxed about life.
1. Being in your thirties does NOT mean you're old.
I used to think that hitting 35 would be like having one foot in the grave. Now, at 35, I feel younger and more relaxed than I did 10 years ago. In your thirties, you begin to settle into yourself and care less about what other people think of you. That release makes you feel so much lighter and more youthful.
2. Your heartbreaks are your best teachers.
Past relationships help form future ones. With time I’ve become grateful for the heartbreaks in my 20s and early 30s because they showed me what I really want in a partner, how I deserve to be treated, and the type of relationship that works for me.
3. You find your soul group of friends.
By the time you hit 30, the people who don’t resonate with you begin to drift away and you become even closer to those you truly care about. By this point, my close friends and I have faced so many tough times together and our bonds have grown tighter because of it. Cherish this group of friends or, as I call them, “the family you choose.”
4. You can loosen up on the timeline of your life and let life sculpt you.
What you thought were guarantees in your 20s may not materialize the way you had hoped in your thirties. You may be single, divorced, or in a vocation you had never planned on. But you’ll realize that life never really gets “done” and your ideas on how you think it “should have been” become less important. The more I’ve allowed life to sculpt me, the more satisfaction I've found with who I am and what I'm really meant to do in the world.
5. You will get a wake-up call when someone close to you gets sick or dies.
At this point in life, it’s likely you'll have experienced the death of someone you love, or maybe even seen someone your own age get really sick. These experiences are jarring, but they'll soften your heart once you give yourself time to process them. When this happened to me, I realized how fleeting life is and it helped me be kinder and more forgiving to myself and others.
6. You don’t have to put up with crap.
The more you understand that time is precious, the more you realize you don't have time for people who treat you disrespectfully or shred your heart. I’ve realized over the years that you just have to get up and walk away from people who are toxic to your well-being.
7. You enjoy your own company.
In your 30s, you really begin to appreciate who you are and enjoy spending time with yourself. And when you become friendlier with yourself, the world tends to become friendlier with you.
8. You’re an adult.
When you get into your mid-thirties, you suddenly feel like a full-fledged adult. You can make your own choices, do what you want, and be who you want to be. You also realize your life is your responsibility. You start making more long-term choices with your money and place greater value on your time.
9. You realize that everyone else is winging it too.
I always thought that the older I got, the more I would know. It seemed like people older than me always knew what to do. But as I became that older person, I slowly began to realize that we're all winging it and doing the best we can with what we know. We're in an eternal evolution with no endgame and there's no credential to earn that declares you a “master of life.”
Although it may seem disconcerting at first, it’s a lot more fun to realize you’ll always be growing, making mistakes, learning, and moving forward.
Even with your imperfections and flaws, you were always perfect and you always will be.
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