8 Surprising Things That Happen When You Turn 30

I’ve never felt cool, young, or particularly “hip”, even when I was a teenager. My main hobbies include knitting, baking, and staying out of the sun. In other words, being “basic” is very me. Yet when I turned 30, I was shocked at how hard the big birthday hit me. So for all you “old at heart” 20-somethings out there, here are 8 surprising things that may happen when you embark on your third decade.

  1. You start to feel old. This may seem obvious (and a bit ridiculous), but it’s true. The big decade birthdays before 30 are pretty easy. I hardly remember turning 10, other than hoping for a Reading Rainbow marathon to come on. Turning 20 is exciting because you’re one year closer to legal drunkenness. All that comes with 30 is a sudden slam into being a real adult and knowing that macaroni and cheese for dinner every night should no longer be an option.
  2. You feel like you haven’t done enough with your life. Whether you spent your 20s in a drunken stupor or studied every day for your doctoral degree, you still won’t feel like you’ve accomplished enough. Everyone expects you to be a screw up in your 20s, but in your 30s? No way. You should have a house or family or great job (or all three) and everything figured out. Even if you’ve never wanted any of those things, a mean little 30-something voice in your head reminds you how your mom and how she had three kids by your age! If you’re not saying those things to yourself, other people start feeling very free to ask a variety of awkward and obnoxious questions.
  3. Everyone else seems so young. Hanging out with 22-year-olds used to feel cool and fun, but now it seems like I’m talking to an alien species. First of all, how do they all look like babies, and second of all, how are they unaware of Belinda Carlisle? She was the lead singer of the Go-Go’s and sang the transcendent “Heaven is a Place on Earth”!
  4. You wish you hadn’t spent so much of your 20s being scared. So much of my 20s was spent scared about what other people would think, scared I’d fail, or scared I’d look stupid. So basically, my I spent my days of youth in complete fear when really, everything that troubled me didn’t matter at all in the long run. I wish I would have just relaxed, been myself, and told my fear to GTFO.
  5. You have to seriously start thinking about having kids.miscarriage and complications. At 30, the decision to start a family becomes more real and you have to treat it seriously. That’s not to say you can’t adopt a child in your 50s and have an awesome kid, it just means you have to actually think about the “mom” part of your life that you may have been putting off.
  6. You feel stronger. There’s something about 30 that makes you feel like you’ve survived. You lived through college years, stupid hookups and nights drinking butterscotch schnapps. You made it! It’s not to say there won’t be future weird relationships and poor alcohol choices, but this time you’ll avoid so many more mistakes. You’ll feel like a conqueror of youth and new warrior into the battlefield of adulthood.
  7. You stop giving a damn what anyone else things. Now that you have some actual life experience, you don’t have the patience to worry about how the people in your life will react to every little thing. So you can start giving your actual opinions, sharing your ideas with freedom, and start telling people off if they aren’t respecting you.
  8. You don’t want to hear an 18-year-old’s opinion on anything. I realize now that I offered way too much advice to people when I was under 21. The reality is, no one under 21 has anything worthwhile to add to any conversation. No matter how “wise for your age” you think you are, you’re just a child. Every day older I get, the more I realize how little I knew and how much more I have to learn. Which is exciting… but annoying when you have to sit through Miley Cyrus’s life advice.

So as you turn 30 and adapt to this new age, know that the shock of adulthood will fade. Sure, you might feel a little old, but now you’re ready to really take control and sail into the next phase of your life like a pro.

Amber is an improviser and actor in LA. She also has celiac disease, but wouldn't force a gluten free diet on anyone else and loves to knit. Recently starred in 50 Shades the Musical! Off Broadway, feel free to ask her about musical theater or erotic novel parodies.