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Being In Your 30s: Everything You Need To Know

Being in your 30s is great. And I’m not just saying that. It really is! The best part is that you’re old enough to know what you want in life but young enough to still go after it. You still have lots of energy and now some money to go after your dreams and goals. It’s really a sweet spot of enjoying the foundation you built in your 20s and now seeing growth for the rest of your life.

There are a few things that change once you hit your 30s, though. That much is true. For one, your metabolism starts to slow down. You might also start to notice some wrinkles and gray hairs (but don’t worry, you’re still young). Maybe you’ll also notice a night out sets you back a week. You enjoy staying home a lot more. And you’ve got a few more responsibilities than you once did.

When you’re in your 20s, turning 30 tends to get a bad reputation. A lot of people dread turning 30, but there’s really no reason to. Is it a little sad to say goodbye to your 20s? Sure, it is. But there is a lot to look forward to as well.

Let’s dive into your 30s more deeply.

Why are 30s the best years?

You might have heard “your 30s are the best years of your life!” before. And, you know what? It’s true.

Okay, maybe not completely true because your 40s, 50s, and beyond are pretty great too. Every decade has its benefits. There is truly a lot to look forward to in this decade.

Your 30s are a time when you’re old enough to have some life experience under your belt, but you’re still young enough to enjoy it. And that’s one of the best things about the whole decade! You can learn from your mistakes and make the most of your opportunities.

What’s more, in your 30s you’re usually in the prime of your career. You’re making good money, you might have some great benefits, and you’re still learning and growing in your job. All of this means that you can afford to live a little better than you could in your 20s.

What does being in your 30s mean?

Being in your 30s means being at a point in your life where you’re old enough to know what you want, but young enough to still go after it.

You have the energy and the resources to make your dreams a reality. It’s a time to learn from your mistakes and make the most of your opportunities.

In your 30s, you’ll finally decide if you want kids if you don’t have them already. You’ll go after big dreams and goals that once felt like a pipedream. You’ll spend quality time with the people who matter most to you.

How does your body change in your 30s?

As you get older, you’ll start to notice some distinct changes in your body in your 30s. Things just get… different. Let’s explore how.

Your metabolism slows down.

Your metabolism (how you turn food into energy) begins to slow around age 25 but we don’t begin to see the effects of it until age 30. Your food choices will affect you more than they used to. You might start noticing in your early 30s for the first time or it might not hit you until your late 30s. That could depend on lifestyle and also genetics.

You can try to combat this by eating a healthy diet, weight training, and staying hydrated. Your physical health is one of the most important things in life. Focusing on your health is focusing on positive change. You really learn that in your 30s. One of the best ways to take care of yourself is to take care of your body. A healthy lifestyle is key.

A slowing metabolism means it is easier to put on excess weight than it used to be. If you have concerns about weight gain (or loss), talk to your health care provider.

Increased sex drive.

One of the most unexpected changes in your 30s is an increased sex drive.

This is due to a combination of things, like being more comfortable with yourself and your partner, having more time and energy for sex, and enjoying a better overall sense of wellbeing. Plus, hormonal changes take place too.

Your brain size changes.

Did you know our brains begin to shrink in our 30s and 40s. Your brain has been changing your whole life. From birth through the toddler years to the teenage years and beyond, change is inevitable.

We can protect our brains by eating well, sleeping, continuing to learn, exercising to increase blood flow, and eating brain and heart-healthy foods.

You might notice some wrinkles.

Your skin might also begin to show signs of aging around 30. You’ll start seeing laugh lines, slight wrinkles, and a loss of elasticity. Some things you can do to combat this include eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, and using high-quality skincare like night creams and eye creams.

You may start to see gray hairs.

Gray hair may start to pop up in your 30s, maybe even earlier if you have darker hair! But this is truly nothing to fret about. Stress can cause grey hair but it is also a normal part of aging. Your options are pretty much to dye it or to embrace it!

Increased stress.

Unfortunately, stress is a part of being an adult. In your 30s, you might find yourself worrying about things like your career, your finances, and your personal life.

You can combat stress by taking some time for yourself every day to relax, whether that means reading, taking a bath, or going for a walk. You can also try stress-relieving activities like yoga or meditation.

With a growing list of responsibilities, your mental health can really suffer if you do not make time for yourself.

You don’t recover from a night out as fast.

Remember those days when you could party all night and still feel great the next day? Yeah, those are gone. Now, a night out means being completely exhausted the next day.

It takes your body longer to recover from alcohol and late nights. Be sure to give yourself time to rest and recover after a night on the town or a special occasion.

You’re more confident in yourself.

One of the best parts of being in your 30s is being more confident in yourself. At some point in your 30s, your confidence just sets in. You lose the insecurities you might have had in high school and your early 20s.

Confidence, of course, takes time to build, but it does blossom in this new decade.

You realize middle age isn’t that big of a deal.

When you’re in your 20s, your 30s feel like the end of an era. But they’re not. You have plenty of time left in your life to make positive changes, to meet new people.

If you feel stressed about the future, this might be a good time to work with a life coach. One of the best things about a life coach is they can help give you clarity and go over important considerations when you’re having a hard time. The outside perspective can change everything.

Your friendship circle gets smaller and deeper.

At this point in your life, you likely have a shrinking circle of really great friends and a best friend or two who you confide in.

You’ll care less about social media.

If your 20s social media can often feel like a competition but in your 30s it’s more about connecting. It becomes less about how many likes you can get and more about actually connecting with friends and family.

You’ll start to get more into your hobbies.

In your 30s, you finally have the time to invest in your hobbies and interests. Whether it’s painting, hiking, biking, cooking, or anything else, you can finally start to really explore the things you love. Even if you don’t have much time every day, you can still find time weekly to dedicate to your hobbies.

What are some downsides to being in your 30s?

Some people might say that the only bad thing about being in your 30s is that you’re not in your 20s anymore. But, let’s be honest, there are a few other downsides to being a bit older.

You have more responsibilities.

In your 30s, you’re likely working full-time, you might have a family life, and you’re shouldering more responsibilities than you were in your 20s. This can be tough to balance but it’s all a part of being an adult.

When you’re more established in life, it’s not just as easy to walk away from things. It requires a little more planning because people are counting on you more now than they might have in the past.

Having more responsibilities might feel heavy at times but I do think it’s a good thing. It means you’re being successful and you’re taking care of the people in your life.

You might not feel as young as you used to.

As you get older, you might start to feel like you’re not as young as you used to be. You might not have the same energy levels, you might not recover from a night out as quickly, and you might start to feel a little more aches and pains.

This is all normal! Just because you’re not in your 20s anymore doesn’t mean you can’t still do the things you love. You might just have to take it a little bit easier than you used to.

It’s harder to change careers.

In your 30s, you’re more likely to be settled in your career than you were in your 20s. This can be good and bad. It’s good because you have some stability and security but it can be bad because it’s harder to make a major change at this point in your life.

That said, don’t let it being hard stop you! Hard is truly subjective so what feels hard for one person might not be for another. It all depends on your situation, your experience, your network – don’t be easily deterred. You can start a new career if you really want to.

Dating can feel more difficult (but it’s not impossible).

The dating pool does get smaller in your 30s but it’s not non-existent either.

In fact, according to Pew Research, about 19% of women ages 30-49 are single. Additionally, 27% of men in the same age group are also reportedly single. So all in all, that’s a solid amount of people who are looking to mingle. According to the stats, a single woman has a better chance of finding a partner than a single man. But there are single people everywhere.

There truly are plenty of fish in the sea so to speak. Date people! And if you can’t find people in real life, maybe consider trying a dating app. There are also plenty out there to test out if you’re interested. And if you want to be single, that’s totally fine too. You’ll find the right person.

The average age people get married the first time is around 28 for women and 29 for men. You still have plenty of time to find a life partner. If your relationship isn’t what you think it should be, reach out to a relationship coach.

You still dread making a phone call.

My fellow meme-loving millennials might have a laugh at this one. It’s not that talking on the phone is bad… it’s just easier to make an appointment online, don’t you think?

What should you do in your 30s?

There are a few things you should definitely do in your 30s:

Save for retirement.

This is the time to start saving for retirement if you haven’t already. Even if you’re not planning on retiring anytime soon, it’s important to start putting money away. You can do this by contributing to a 401k or IRA.

Pay off your debt.

If you have any lingering debt from your 20s, now is the time to pay it off. This will free up more money for you to save and invest. You can do this by creating a budget and following a debt payoff plan.

Invest in your health.

Your 30s is the time to start investing in your health. This means eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. Taking care of yourself now will pay off later in life.

It’s probably more important to take care of your body in your 30s than it was in your 20s (in my unscientific speaking from experience opinion). Things start to wear down a little bit and it becomes easier to let yourself go. So, don’t! Try your best to maintain healthy habits now and you’ll thank yourself later.

Start thinking about your future.

Your 30s is a good time to start thinking about your future. What do you want your life to look like in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? This is the time to start making plans and setting goals. If you don’t know where to start, that’s okay. Just sit down and brainstorm a few things you’d like to accomplish.

Consider your will.

No one likes to think about their own death but it’s important to have a will in place in case something happens to you. This is especially important if you have children. A will can help ensure that your children are taken care of if something happens to you.

In Summary: Being In Your 30s

Overall, being in your 30s is really the best time. You might have 30 years behind you but you still have your whole life ahead of you. You’re old enough to be wise, but still young enough to enjoy life. Make the most of it!

Turning 30 is really not something to dread. It is truly something to celebrate! Sure you are going through a lot of changes. Contrary to popular belief, we are all in different places in life, even in our 30s. One person’s life and timeline does not look like another persons. And it’s still normal to feel like you don’t have it all together all the time. Even though we’re adults, we’re all just figuring it out day by day. You got this.

About the Author

Nicole Booz is the founder of GenTwenty and GenThirty. She is an entrepreneur, author of The Kidult Handbook, and most importantly, Mama to two beautiful little boys. She loves reading, organizing her home, and living a simple, less toxic lifestyle. You've seen her in The New York Times, TIME, Insider, Inside Edition, New York Post, NextAdvisor, Forbes, Yahoo, HuffPost, and U.S. News & World Report.


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