I Dreaded Turning 30 But It’s Already My Favorite Decade

I thought my life was going to end when I turned 30 and lost all the fun and excitement of my 20s, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Here’s why my 30s are actually the best decade yet.

I’m financially stable. Throughout my 20s, I was constantly strapped for cash. Even though I made sure to go out and have plenty of fun, there was always a nagging anxiety about having enough for the rent at the end of the month or groceries every week. Now that I’m in my 30s, however, my career provides me with a reliable income that allows me to go about my life without the constant worry of money.

I’ve established a core friend group. College friends are fantastic, but people move away, careers change, and marriages get in the way. Trying to establish a group of adult friends in my 20s was challenging, but now that I’ve reached 30, I can finally relax and enjoy the effort I put in over the past few years. The people I’ve surrounded myself with are friends for life and I’m so grateful to have them.

I’m finally on a career path I love. It can be really difficult to find your niche once you’ve been launched into the adult world of your 20s, and it took me a good eight to 10 years to figure it out. I spent so much time running around to job interviews and taking career leaps, but I’ve finally found a job that makes me happy that I want to continue for the foreseeable future.

I’m not obsessed with men. I’m pretty sure I was obsessed with boys from the time I was nine to the time I was about 29, and let me tell you, it takes up a lot of mental and emotional real estate. It wasn’t until I stopped obsessing that I realized how much time I wasted on it. Now that I’ve realized that there’s more to life than infatuation, I have so much time on my hands to think and care about other things.

I’m way more confident. Speaking of wasting time, the amount of energy I spent wishing I was different is downright embarrassing in retrospect. I was insecure about my looks, my body, the way I spoke, the way people thought of me—pretty much everything. Once you hit 30 and realize that there’s more to life than being physically attractive, a whole new world of possibilities opens up.

The dating demographic is much better. It’s no secret that guys in their 20s are the worst, but what you might not know is that men in their 30s are actually pretty great. Not only have they achieved some semblance of adulthood, but they’re also much more likely to engage with radical ideas like “commitment” and “love” that were unheard of in their earlier years.

I’ve stopped caring about my appearance as much. Life is way too short to be panicking about your lapsed eyebrow waxing regimen or visible pores. I’m no longer obsessed with what I look like, and it’s made life a lot easier. I get to sleep in a little later because my morning beauty routine has been radically simplified, I’m much less nervous about being seen makeup-free, and I exercise because it feels good, not because I want the ass I had when I was 19.

I’m treated with a lot more respect. I always thought I’d want to look 25 forever, but now that I look over 30, people call me “ma’am” and open doors out of respect rather than sexual interest. It’s a game-changer. The feeling of being respected for being a grown woman is so much more gratifying than being stared at for being an attractive twentysomething.

I’ve finally figured out the whole health thing. I used to experiment with all the diets and exercise fads, trying to find the magic formula for having a perfect body while still being able to have a life. Now that I have a fulfilling life and career, it’s much easier to make health a part of my daily routine. I exercise regularly and eat well, and it no longer feels like a struggle.

I’ve fully owned being a grown-up and it’s actually pretty amazing. Your 20s are for discovering your adult persona while lingering as much as possible in your childhood. Once I hit 30, I was done with missing being a kid and was ready to be a grown-up. Establishing a balanced life, making new friends, and embracing a new chapter has felt like the beginning of so many things, and I’m more excited about the future than ever.

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