When you are in your early 20’s you look at people in their 30’s as if they are past their prime. The partying (often) slows, life becomes about building a future and perhaps even starting a family.
Just before I turned 30 my life turned upside down, with 2 children and a failed marriage I embarked on the world as a single-ton for the first time since I was 16 years old. With one child still in diapers and one about to start kindergarten, what would my 30’s look like for me? Now three years into my life stage as a 30-something, I realise that no matter what your relationship status, child status or financial status – there is going to be a massive change in the way you approach life when you reach this milestone decade.
One major shift you may experience is to do with your friendships. Time becomes more precious and choosing quality over quantity often becomes the focus. Loyalties are tested and tolerance for the dramas of high school are much lower. True friendships become less demanding, as everyone understands the juggle of balancing work and home commitments. You find out who you can trust and when you just don’t gel with someone you are more likely to just let it go. My Facebook friends list has reduced in size since being in my 30s. The other thing I’ve learnt is that just because someone is family, it doesn’t mean you have to put up with them treating you poorly. Just as you tend to put space between unhealthy friendships, the same can be said for blood relations. Even though they may always be in your life, it doesn’t mean you can’t have some space. While the way you view other people certainly changes, so does the way you see yourself. Sure, in my 20’s I was skinnier and my skin was smooth and wrinkle-free, but somehow I feel much more confident in the person I am now than I was then.
The clock starts to tick, and if you haven’t already found your future baby daddy, at some point during your 30’s it may cross your mind. With or without a feeling of panic. Personally, I always wanted to have children young – and I did. However, the funny thing about life is that having met my “second chance” – the nest is likely to grow….so there’s this new tick ticking of my biological clock loudly in my ear.
You tend not to bounce back as quickly after you hit 30, working with a hangover feels like torture. That super fast metabolism which let you eat a Big Mac after a big night out now feels like it struggles to burn off a piece of lettuce. Your knees of your back might start to hurt and you might even start to drink tea. Tea = bliss.
You are less likely to take risks, good or bad and staying in and binge watching Netflix on your Friday night sounds much more appealing than staying up past midnight. There is a realisation that you don’t have to say “yes” to every event, every time and you don’t feel guilty for occasionally putting yourself first. Your bills become a priority and spending a little extra on items that last, instead of always choosing the $2 bargain may start to bare importance. You may even find yourself becoming excited over a new washing machine! When making decisions you base it on research and personal taste rather than trends or imitating others. I ignored the hype and replaced my front loader with a top loader, and went from Samsung back to Apple – because I knew I hated what I had.
In your 30’s politics isn’t based on Tony Abbot’s Speedos or Bill Shorten’s hot looking wife, you begin to find yourself more politically engaged. People who don’t share the same view on Donald Trump as you do may become annoying, and you may even find yourself immersed in endless debates until you realise…you may be 30, but you still don’t care. You do, however, start to appreciate your vote and realise how lucky we are to have a say.
You will find many people will go through a career shift during their 30’s, it is trending to go back to uni as a “mature” student. I myself have been studying part time in a new pathway, something I wasn’t ready for 10 years ago. Whether it is a change of job, career or scenery – there is still plenty of time to start something new now that you have worked out who you are, and what you want.
The music you grew up with is now classed as retro, and even singers who you classed as “teeny boppers” such as Justin Bieber are now considered old.
And, while we may be comparing to ourselves to the youths of Instagram, out of all the decades of my life the 30’s is the best so far. I feel stronger, more motivated and content than I have in the past. And, while I may not have as many people in my life as I did in the past – I am blessed to have some really supportive friends and family who “get me”.
What changed when you hit your 30’s?