I turned 33 yesterday and I love every minute of it. I remember being terrified of the 30s. Now, I keep thinking 30s is the most beautiful time of my life so far. You know how people often say “I wish I could go back in time?” Well, I don’t. Not because my life in my 20s was bad. On the contrary, I always ponder with fondness about my college and post-grad years, the excitement of finding a first full-time job and most importantly meeting the love of my life and getting married. However, there are many reasons why I think life in your 30s is generally better than your 20s (at least that’s how it is for me) so I wanted to share the “wisdom” with all those ladies who might think life ends after you hit 30 (again, that’s what I used to think in my teen years).
I’m More Confident
Not sure if everyone feels the same way, but the 30s has brought a certain feeling of inner strength to me that I significantly lacked in my 20s. I guess, by the time you reach the 30s you accumulate knowledge, small wins and big achievements which give invaluable experience and boost your confidence as a person and as a professional. I spend less time second-guessing myself and more time working hard towards my goals. Yes, it is a constant work-in-progress and I actively learn from my mistakes, but I know exactly what my strengths and weaknesses are, and what I need to do to improve my life in the future.
I’m Not Afraid to Speak Out & Ask Questions
More confidence means you are less embarrassed to admit if you don’t know something and ask questions that will help you grow. I think it is more important to show your willingness to learn than be afraid someone will think you’re asking too many questions. And one more thing – there is no such thing as a stupid question!
Likewise, I feel less compelled to keep my mouth shut if someone is treating me unjustly, and I most certainly feel more confident to openly stand by my beliefs and ideas. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge supporter of diplomacy and open, civilized dialogues. But I’m no longer afraid to speak up in support of ideas which might touch someone’s nerve and cause dissatisfaction of a certain group of people.
I Don’t Seek Validation
One thing that I kept hearing over and over again as I was growing up was “don’t do this, or don’t do that, what will others think?!” Well, guess what?! There will always be someone who doesn’t like what you do and how you think. You simply cannot please everybody. You do not need validation from society to do whatever you want to do as long as your actions are kind. Through the past decade, I have been criticized and mocked for working out, dating an American, moving to another country and leaving my mother behind, starting a blog, taking interest in and writing about the food industry, spending too much money on travel instead of valuable assets. The list goes on. I don’t think I’d ever become the woman I am today had I listened to any of these ridiculous viewpoints.
I’m Comfortable in My Own Skin
I feel more comfortable and confident in my own skin and am not afraid to show it. In my 20s, I had major insecurities in regards to my body which I came to realize was all in my head. For example, I never wore loose blouses because I thought they made me look fat; likewise, I thought maxi dresses made me look short. I developed a sense of my personal style, know my body better and know exactly what style works well and what is completely unflattering. It’s so important to love your body, embrace what you have and make most of it.
I Stopped Comparing
Ok, this is a hard one and I admittedly do still go down this rabbit hole from time to time. I have a terrible habit of comparing myself to people who are better at things than I am. It is a great motivator to improve, but also makes me constantly feel like I’m not “good enough.” Having said that, I’m slowly learning that while I might not be as good as my idols, my current achievements are good enough for today and worth celebrating too! I made the quote “don’t compare your Chapter 3 to someone else’s Chapter 20” my mantra and it has been keeping me grounded a lot.
Quality of Friends is Better than Quantity
It happened quite organically (perhaps because I moved abroad, away from my family and the original pool of friends) that by the time I reached my 30s I have had a handful of truly good friends left. But I also came to realize that quality is more important than quantity when it comes to relationships. I’m happy to have a few friends I know I can rely on and trust, than too many who don’t really give a thought about me. Priorities shift, and you look forward to focusing less on the shallow and more on the meaningful when it comes to friendships. I started investing my time and energy more wisely by staying away from negativity and hanging out more with the people who make me happy.
Grass Is Not Always Greener On The Other Side
This is perhaps the most important one. “Grass always looks greener on the other side.” Sounds familiar? Yup. We’ve all heard it and fallen into the same trap. Well, perhaps the biggest change in my mindset was realizing that my grass is also green, in its unique way. I gave up on the idea of “perfect life” because there is no such thing as perfection. I always chuckle when people sigh and say about someone “Ooh, their life is so perfect.” Grass will always look greener on the other side, but quite often it is just as verdant on our side. I believe that there is no such thing as “a completely and perpetually perfect life” and, no matter how glamorous our life looks from the outside, we all have our struggles cut out for us. My definition of life challenges might be drastically different from yours, but we all fight battles behind closed doors. It can be money, lack of love or understanding, work, bad friends, health, sex life, emotional or physical abuse, drinking or gambling problems, boredom, inexplicable depression. You name it. I think when God or Universe (depending on your beliefs) gives you one thing, it takes away something else. That’s life and balance for you. We all have incredibly happy days and some sad days. In the toughest times, it is paramount to look at all the things we are grateful for. Even the simplest things that we have others might not and that’s already a cause for gratitude. And while it is important to strive for improvement in every aspect of our life, I started appreciating every bit of what I have now because bringing myself down for what I don’t have instead of enjoying what I have is a waste of life!
In the end, no matter how old you are, your age doesn’t define you and life doesn’t stop being awesome once you reach a certain number. It’s your mindset, heart, and deeds that make you the person that you’re today and the person you want to become tomorrow. So here’s to the wonderful 30s and, hopefully, even better decades that follow. Cheers!
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