Don’t Be Scared Of Your Thirties—That’s When Life Gets Good

If you’re nervous about turning 30 because you think life is all downhill from here, I’m here to tell you that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m well into my fourth decade now and to be honest, this is where the real fun begins.

  1. You know who you are. You’re no longer living in your insecure twenties. You’ve lived a bit of life, you’ve known love, you’ve had jobs, and you’re ready for what comes next. You’ve been refined by life, by your choices, by actions and consequences and you know who you are now. By the time you hit your thirties, you know what you like, what you don’t, and why you have those opinions. You don’t feel like you have to act or look or speak a certain way to get attention. You just command attention by being your true, awesome, confident self.
  2. You know what you want. By the time you hit your thirties, you’ve been around the block a few times. Maybe you’ve taken enough diverse classes to earn a degree in a major that’s now defining you; maybe you’ve had enough jobs to know what makes you tick on a professional level. The fact is that you’ve had enough adventures and late nights to know what you want out of life and how to get there. You’ve done some soul searching, maybe some therapy, and you’re ready to go after the things you want and deserve.
  3. You have enough life experience to not be scared about the future. Your twenties can be a scary time because you don’t know much. You think you know everything, but then you get laid off because of downsizing or your boyfriend dumps you and tells you to be out of his apartment in 24 hours. What do you do? How do you cope? All of those experiences give you knowledge so by the time you hit your thirties, you know how to handle yourself. Sure, you may get scared, but you know what to do to get your life back in order.
  4. Your friendships are stronger. We tend to have friends in our age range, so by the time you get your life together, your friends are probably doing the same. You may have fewer friends at this point as careers and families cause people to exit your life, but this is the decade when you really learn that quality is more important than quantity. The friends that you do have really get you. They understand your work plights and your relationship woes. They understand where you’re at in life and they know how to listen and help you with a better suggestion than going clubbing to forget your troubles.
  5. You don’t care about other people’s opinions quite so much. This is the best part of your thirties, ladies. The talkative guy on the airplane next to you who tries mainsplaining how to do your job? Not interested. Your financially irresponsible friend trying to tell you that you’re not handling your money well? You couldn’t care less. You listen to those in your life who have earned your respect and trust. Strangers, internet trolls, co-workers who want to see you fail? You tune them out and trust your gut.
  6. You’ve made peace with your body. OK, maybe you haven’t made peace with what you see in the mirror, but you at least know that your body isn’t something to be ashamed of. In your thirties, you see your body as something that can be changed if you want to change it and left alone if you’re happy with it. You no longer lose weight to make other people happy and you don’t try to shove yourself into too small jeans because that’s what the magazine covers tell you. You don’t punish your body with crash diets and pills. You love your body and you know how to take care of it.
  7. You understand self-care. And not in the bath bomb and face mask way. You understand what it means to nurture your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. That might mean skipping the get-together on Friday night so you can recharge your batteries or maybe it means volunteering at the dog shelter because giving back makes your heart overflow. Whatever it is, you know exactly what raises your frequency and you make sure you find time to take care of you.
  8. Your priorities are in order. You may have put off opening up a retirement fund in your twenties because you figured you had plenty of time. Maybe you called your parents every once in a while instead of every week like you promised them you would because you thought they’d always be there. However, as you get older, you tend to put the things that truly matter in the right order. Finances, family, and friends take priority over fun and flippant behavior. Your thirties aren’t boring, they’re just a more responsible decade.
  9. Your dreams are bigger. This is the best part. Because you know who you are and what you want and because you’re responsible and know how to take care of yourself, suddenly your future is limitless. You can now do literally anything you put your mind to and because you have that confidence, you dream bigger. No more limiting beliefs like just getting a higher position in your company. Now you get to dream about running the whole show yourself. And these thoughts aren’t the pipe dreams of your twenties, either. In your thirties, everything you dream of is a real possibility.
Toni Hammer is an author, freelance writer, and comedian. She's married to Luke, her college sweetheart, and is the tired mom of Lily and Levi. They all live in Portland, Oregon where they sometimes see the sun.