When I was in my 20s, the last thing I wanted to do was turn 30. It just seemed so old and out of touch. After all, nothing could be more exciting than my 20s, right? Wrong—my 30s have been the best years of my life so far. Here’s why:
- The word “no” is a full sentence now. For me, this is one of the best parts about life after 30. After spending all of my 20s explaining myself to others only to be reluctantly pulled along anyway, it feels good to say “no” and stand firm in it. I’m not against hanging out with friends and being social, but sometimes a girl needs her alone time.
- I don’t feel pressured to keep up with trends. At this age, I’ve seen a lot of trends come, go, and come back again. I used to run to the mall with my maxed out credit card every chance I got to buy clothes that would keep me on trend. Nowadays, I wear what I like without the pressure of having to keep up. If I spot a trend I really like, such as the return of wide-legged pants, all I have to do is rummage through my closet and chances are I’ll find a pair that I owned from the last time they were the item to have.
- I know myself and my body better than ever and have embraced my own style. Speaking of trends, now that I’m in my 30s, I’ve pretty much gotten the hang of what works for me fashion-wise and what doesn’t. Certain things don’t look flattering on me and I’m OK with that. Instead of trying to force something to work, I fill my wardrobe with what looks good on me. Knee-length dresses are my jam—I can’t get enough of them. However, wrap-around dresses are NOT my jam because they aren’t flattering on my body. I know my body and style better than ever before and it feels great.
- “Savings” is my favorite word. I. Love. To. Save. Money. Not in an extreme couponer kind of way, but in an “if-some-serious-stuff-cropped-up-I’d-be-OK” kind of way. When I was younger, I could barely see beyond the next five minutes so I definitely wasn’t thinking about saving for the what ifs. Saving money was such a foreign concept for me and I got caught up in many a financial bind because of it. Now I’m a lot more responsible with my money and I pay attention to where it goes. Should a rainy day come my way, I’ve got my rain boots, umbrella, and raincoat.
- Like-minded people are easier to find. Growing older means I’ve outgrown some of my childhood friends for various reasons. In some cases, we just didn’t share anything in common anymore or life has just pulled us in different directions. I used to think it would be difficult to make new friends, but I was wrong. It’s actually easier to forge new relationships at this age because I’m comfortable with I am, what I do and how I like to spend my time.
- The only happiness I’m responsible for is my own. The majority of my 20s (OK, all of my 20s) were spent people pleasing and worrying about what others thought about me. I had to get burned a few times before I realized that making everyone happy is an impossible task. I started setting boundaries with people while putting my needs first and it feels like chains have literally been removed from my hands.
- I go after what I want. I wasted a lot of years waiting for others to give me permission to start living my life when the only permission I needed was my own. When I hit 30, it was like a light bulb came on and I realized that I had the power to create my own reality through hard work and belief in myself. To get to where I wanted to be, I had to leave behind my comfort zones and put myself out there. Though it was scary in the beginning, the thought of staying in the same mundane position in life was way scarier.
- I don’t always have to be on the scene. My 20s were filled with partying, drinking, nightclubs, random guys, you name it. I was always chasing the next adventure, most likely followed by a crash and burn. I used to get high off of being seen but now that I’m older, it all seems really pointless. It’s kind of like being that girl that gets a bajillion likes on Instagram but doesn’t have anything substantial going on in real life.
- My confidence is at an all-time high. Making myself my number one priority has been the best thing I’ve done in a long time. I respect my likes, dislikes, and decisions as well as my body and my time. My insecurities are melting away and I’m actually quite proud of the woman I’m becoming. I’d take this growth over my 20s any day!