Back when we were kids, we thought that we’d “really have it together” by our 20s. There’s something about the 20s that used to just scream “adulthood.” Maybe it’s the fact that our parents got married when they were that age and popped out kids shortly after being able to drink at a bar, but we just really thought that our lives would have aligned by then. We didn’t, of course. And now we’re 30.
We have to remember that things are way different than they were back in the late ’60s and ’70s. Nowadays, people wait until their mid-30s to have kids, or defer the whole marriage thing in favor of getting an advanced degree. However, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be growing as individuals. After you hit the big 3-0, there’s a lot of 20-something behavior that you should ditch, for your own benefit. It might have been cute then, but now? Not so much.
- Leaving dishes in the sink. Unless you want your whole house to smell like old meatballs the next day, you really should aim to get everything washed before you go to sleep – either load up the dishwasher, or wash by hand (with rubber gloves, if you’re afraid of getting your hands dirty). Old food is a major way to let flies and bugs know that they can invade your house to party. Also, remember that if a guest stops by to visit unexpectedly, a sink full of dishes is the perfect way to tell them “I haven’t cleaned the place.” Especially if you live alone, and have quite a pile-up in there.
- Forgetting to wash your sheets. You probably think about washing your sheets the second after flopping down in bed for the night. “I’ll do it tomorrow,” you say to yourself, knowing full well you won’t. Washing sheets can be a pain, but this small action will help you sleep much better at night. If your pillow cases are smeared with last night’s party makeup, remind yourself of how much you want to avoid a random face breakout. It’s definitely smart to invest in a few extra sets. Not only will they be super useful in case of incident (hello, Aunt Flo) but it’ll inspire you to change them up in a more timely manner. Why sleep on garbage sheets when a clean set is just a few steps away?
- Weekend benders. Binge drinking affects your health, as well as your wallet. Now that you’re in your 30s, it’s time to respect alcohol for what it is – a way to decompress and enjoy moderately, if at all. Don’t vomit your weekend away on nights that really aren’t too much fun anymore anyway. Try to have a healthy relationship with booze, and make sure that the days of absolutely mortifying yourself while plastered are in the past.
- Not owning a reliable vacuum cleaner. Cleaning in general is super important, but vacuuming is often something that gets forgotten about. Since it’s summer, we’re bound to be barefoot a little more than usual. Pick up a solid vacuum cleaner that’ll last a few years, and make sure you’re not constantly stepping on sand, pebbles, dog hair, and overall grime every day. Using that hand-me-down you got from Mom for college ten years ago is collecting more dust than it’s picking up.
- Skipping doctors appointments. It’s super easy to forget to schedule a pap smear, or not go to the dentist for 5 years (unless the pain is really agonizing.) Going to the doctor is a drag, especially if you don’t have insurance or have super bad insurance. Sadly, you just have to bite the bullet with this one. You’ll feel so much better knowing that you’re on top of your health before a major issue creeps up into your life. At the very least, make sure you have a reliable doctor that you actually like. If you find him or her to be condescending, focus first on finding a compatible match.
- Relying on Dad to pay rent. He wanted to help you establish independence, and offered to foot the bill to get you on your feet. But now it’s been five years, and you’re used to the financial support. Cut your Dad some slack, and make him realize that he raised a superstar – pay your own bills, and thank him so much for the support by treating him to dinner. Even though, honestly, him seeing you take control of your money is probably the greatest gift of all.
- Participating in risky sex. You know the consequences, but floated by on a “it’d never happen to me!” attitude. Well, you got lucky. Being a single girl doesn’t mean you have to sleep around to “test the field” or “have fun.” But even if you do, always make sure you’re protected, and insist the dude wears a condom. You might be on the pill, but the pill won’t protect you from chlamydia or other nasty infections. If he refuses? Respect your body, and ditch the loser. You’re too old to risk your health.
- Constantly ordering in. Some days just call for a pizza. I feel you, girl. But if you find yourself ordering food at the same frequency as you did in college, something’s gotta give. Not only will it catch up with you some day weight-wise, but it’s expensive. Start slow, by learning a few quick-yet-healthy recipes, and make sure you only call for delivery when it’s the absolute only option. Moving to a new place, studying for a test, or pulling a 12-hour day at work? Chinese food delivery. Too lazy to get off the couch and into the kitchen since you’re marathoning the new season of Orange Is The New Black? Nope.
- Waking up at 11 AM every Saturday and Sunday. Yes, beauty sleep is a real thing. But if you use that as an excuse for sleeping in every weekday morning, you’ll just throw yourself way off track and have an absolutely miserable Monday morning. Aim to complete a productive goal before noon, whether it be shopping for groceries, or even getting a much-needed manicure. You’ll feel like you really used your free time wisely.