Some people say that your 30s is the decade where life truly begins. While those in the twilight of their twenties may not believe this as they have spent the previous decade trying to establish themselves in an adult world, the thirties are that sudden shift of awareness where things start to make sense and groundedness takes place. Now that I’m in my 40s, I look back and remember those lightbulb moments.
That said, each decade of our lives has its own defining factors. But, it is the thirties that provide us with that much-needed sense of newness and established self-discovery.
Here are some of the things that nobody tells you about this pinnacle decade in life. Below are the good, the less good, and the downright weird.
You’ll feel neither young nor old
During your thirties, you will desperately cling to the carefree nature of your youth. Some of those moments to remember from the previous decade are the nights out with no consequences the following morning (ahem, no headaches!), exploring what job suits you best, and establishing your style. But by thirty, you may feel as though you should have all of your stuff figured out-or at least what you want, with a good idea of how to get there.
There will be a stage when you might feel “oldish.” Especially when you notice that so many celebrities, athletes, and musicians are now much younger than you.
The same goes for people in authority, such as doctors. This will feel heartbreaking if a little weird at first, but you soon get over it. There are some people who are actually much better at things than you at a younger age, and it’s okay.
At thirty, you don’t feel “past it.” You feel ready.
Strange things might happen to your body
If you had a baby in your twenties, you may have experienced things that didn’t happen before. That could include slight bladder weakness that leads you to start googling the best kegel machine to help strengthen your pelvic floor (and has other useful benefits). Or, one day, you might go to the bathroom mirror and notice a stray facial hair that you could’ve sworn wasn’t there that morning.
Hair will randomly appear uninvited when you thought no more could appear. Yup, there it is. You might get some additional aches and pains too.
They’re there just to remind you that you’re still alive and well. All of these things are completely normal, even if you’re too embarrassed to talk to people about them!
But you’ll get your mojo when it comes to feeling attractive
Your feelings and comfort within yourself and confidence will start to manifest in how you will feel about your appearance. Soon, you’ll stop pulling yourself apart and start to appreciate your own natural beauty while embracing what you see in the mirror.
This means you’ll feel confident in wearing whatever you want, however you want. That’s partly because you no longer care as much what people think of you based on your appearance alone. Attraction goes much, much deeper than that.
People will love you based not only on your face and body but all of you. Your mind, strength, intelligence, and your soul. In essence, they become attracted to everything you have learned to be in your previous decades.
But dating is a whole new ball game
Unfortunately, the world of dating doesn’t get any easier, in spite of your new-found confidence. The problem is that you’re having to compete with a whole range of people available at the swipe of a screen. You’re competing with possibility.
Gone are the days of sitting at a bar waiting for somebody to approach you. It’s all highly edited, filtered photos that we may be partial to partaking in ourselves. However, the competition is not only with others but the idea of a smooth-skinned, large sparkling eyed version of yourself.
But the good news is simple. This alternate reality will never live up to the real, true version of you. In your thirties, you’re more aware that your youth (including your youthful looks!) doesn’t last forever. The competition won’t be any better off by the time they reach your age.
As a thirty-something, you will have experienced some of the joy of having your worth measured on who you are as a person over how many likes or matches you get on socials.
There’s no shame in being you
In your thirties, you leave behind the people-pleasing nature of your former years. You soon realize that you can’t control how people react to you and your life—and you stop caring as much.
You will start to care much less about what the people around you think of you because you know who you are with much less fear or shame than in the previous decades of your life. Your thirties are all about getting where you want to be.
That means that you will start to gravitate more towards what drives you rather than what others have said you should strive towards. There’s no one quite like you, and your thirties are the time to let her shine.
You’ll realize that everyone is winging it
When you set aside life’s expectations, your truth will soon be that the only necessities in life are food and shelter. Being an adult is realizing quite how much everybody around you has absolutely no idea what they’re doing. Really, we’re all good at “winging it” and making it look easy as we do so.
Sure, we all see hundreds and thousands of images on our news feeds depicting the perfect life. But those pictures are the showreel, not the behind-the-scenes reality. Your thirties are the time for you to chill and have some fun.
People will live in this world for up to and around 100 years before it all comes to end anyway. The length of your life is not guaranteed, and there’s too much to pack into it to be held back by fear of any kind.
Your thirties are the time to choose happiness. Don’t let others’ expectations form a narrow path for your life.