A few years back, whenever someone mentioned turning 30, I felt truly sorry for them.
30’s. That’s real adulthood. Blah.
I could always reassure myself that I had several more years until it was my turn . . . until it was only one more year away. Age 29 proved to be a challenge, because I was constantly reminding myself that “30 is just around the corner,” and “This is my last year in my 20’s,” along with all of these other thoughts, wondering if I had done enough and was successful enough in life to be confident and worthy of ever-looming 30.
When I turned 27, I wrote the blog post 27 Things to Do Before You Turn 27. Today, it remains one of my most popular posts, routinely receiving the most hits each month. Looking back, it was an interesting time to reflect – sandwiched between the two notable ages of 25 and 30. But seeing as the post is constantly being searched for and shared, I was not the only one thinking about some 27th birthday inspiration! Obviously, writing is very therapeutic for me, and this post at 30 should really come at no surprise ;)
The onset of entering into this new decade was really rattling for me, as much as I didn’t want it to be or need it to be. Many emotional thoughts mechanically bounced around in my head as I evaluated my life’s choices and regrets over and over again.
I remember the days in my earlier 20’s, always looking for something to do on a Friday and Saturday night. In fact, if I didn’t have several plans in place I would feel like “one pathetic loser” (see clip).
These days, however, if a Friday night rolls around and I have no plans made, a level of euphoria is evoked that can’t really be put into words. A weekend with no plans?? Sign me up, please!
I was never the kind of person who always had dozens of friends. There was even a time I felt I didn’t have enough friends, despite efforts trying to remedy that such as joining numerous extracurriculars in university like two dance teams, the school paper, and even the juggling club!
This is just one example of how my priorities have changed for the better over the years, such as placing more value on quality over quantity. The number of friends is meaningless. What matters most of course are the friendships I currently have – the friends I reach out to when I need the advice of someone who knows me inside and out with my best interests at heart . . . not the friend who was super fun in university but conveniently unavailable when I needed them most.
Adjustments like this are quite literally an indication of becoming wiser, but perhaps one of the most important is recognizing and cutting out those from my life I know are not good for me.
Surround yourself with people who lift you up. Part of self-love is having a higher standard for your inner circle.
For me, letting go is the most difficult concept I’ve faced over the years – my sensitive and emotional nature making it quite the challenge. I naturally struggle with fully letting go, compared to dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
Practicing mindfulness has enabled me to better appreciate and live in the present moment – perhaps one of the most beneficial and valuable lessons I’ve learned over the years. Thank you, yoga! ♥
There are a lot of changes that happen around this age that can cause confidence to waver. A big one are the wrinkles around my eyes that linger long after I’ve been laughing. But when I take in all of me, i.e. fresh from the shower – makeup-less and clothes-less – I am very content with what I see. I suppose I can thank an active lifestyle for that!
Even as my body starts to age, other things are just beginning to blossom. The self-confidence that comes with growing older has been one of my happiest discoveries.
The only hint of sadness I feel as I turn 30 comes from the realization that I’m not going to be able to do everything. I was a big daydreamer in my earlier 20’s, many of my dreams centered around what I was going to be or where I was going to live – a permanent, full-time elephant sanctuary volunteer in Thailand sounded pretty appealing. Who am I kidding, it still does!
The process of accepting that life is too short to do it all has not been an easy one. I know I won’t be able to live everywhere I want to live, meet everyone I want to meet, see everything I want to see, or do everything I want to do. But the important thing is, I’m never going to stop trying.
I don’t want to be that person who has a meltdown upon turning 30. I want to be grateful for my health and my family’s health and stand by any of the tough decisions I’ve ever had to make. When I write down pen to paper what I consider my accomplishments, it’s a pretty impressive list! If there is an accomplishment missing from this list, there is still lots of time for me to do something about it. I also realize how much I’ve stayed true to myself, steadfast in resisting societal expectations and opinions/beliefs of others to guide my way.
And so it is with confidence and thankfulness that on Monday I, too, will join the ranks of 30-somethings. Thankfulness, because 30 is a privilege.
For now, from someone who is just on the brink of this incredible new decade, I have officially come to terms with leaving my 20’s behind. I enjoyed them. I did some things right, and screwed up plenty of others. But I won’t miss them. My 20’s, much like everyone else’s, were about growth and self-discovery. Some discoveries made me proud, and others, not so much.
But it is with this knowledge that I hope to be in my 30’s everything I wasn’t yet prepared to be in my 20’s.
(I’ll let you know how that turns out at 40).