I turned 30 in August 2023. Leading up to this milestone birthday was not feelings of excitement and wonder, like most birthdays tend to be. Instead I was feeling fear and dread. I did not want to say goodbye to my twenties.
In this article I’ll tell you my story and how my mindset about being 30 ended up changing.
Why I Was Scared To Turn 30
In the months and weeks leading up to my birthday I was mourning my twenties before they even ended.
I consider myself a bit of an overthinker, so it was all that consumed my mind. I felt as though I hadn’t truly lived my twenties, so they couldn’t possibly be ending, could they? I found myself scrambling trying to think back on the past ten years and come up with exciting adventures and fun memories. While I had plenty of them, it didn’t seem like enough.
Then I realized why I wasn’t content. I hadn’t achieved/made it to the “big moments.” You know the things like engagements, dream careers, etc. that you see all your friends celebrating.
I truly felt like my time was running out when it was really just beginning. I blame societal expectations for the panic and dread I felt. I’m sure I’m not the first, and won’t be the last, to struggle with those thoughts and feelings.
How I Took My Mind Off My Fear
I decided to make a big deal about turning thirty – in a good way. I knew that would distract me enough to enjoy my birthday. So I decided to combine two themes I’ve been waiting to do for a party. I combined a death to my twenties theme with Taylor Swift’s reputation album.
Because I have to add some pops of color, and I love all things Taylor Swift, I added the Lover album too. It was perfect because Lover is my favorite album, it was released in August, and it would represent a change in perspective on my thirties.
I had a blast planning and decorating my party. The fear of turning 30 had disappeared, for the most part. By the time my birthday came and went I accepted my new age for what it was, just a number.
The Doom of Society’s Timeline
Society has a way of telling us exactly when we should reach certain benchmarks in life. Then throwing it in our faces when we are nearing one the age of one of those benchmarks. When I used to think of a woman in her thirties I used to see someone with an accomplished career who is married and has a kid or two. Now I know that your age doesn’t determine when certain events in your life are supposed to happen. It’s such a breath of fresh air to know that truth.
What I Think About Being Officially In My 30s Now
At the time of writing this I’m months into being 30, and I’m happy to say that I’m content. While I can’t get my twenties back, I can look forward to all that my thirties have in store. I may not be married yet, have my dream career, or made a ton of travel memories; but that means I have all of that to look forward to. How exciting is that?
Advice For Anyone Feeling Scared About Entering This New Decade
If you are about to turn 30, or already are 30, and you are having those same feelings of fear and dread that I had, I want to leave you with some advice. I hope this helps you get to an acceptance stage, if not feeling content.
- If your birthday is a while out, make a 30 before 30 list: If you have about a year out before turning 30, make it the best year of your life. Think of all the things, big and small, that you want to accomplish in a year. Make it reasonable, but make it fun too. A couple things that I had on my list were to get a tattoo, go to a Taylor Swift theme night, and do something that scares me.
- Or make a list of things to look forward to in your 30s: If your birthday is coming up soon, or you are already thirty, this one’s for you. Think of some activities and experiences you want to have in this new decade. Again, put both small and big items on there so that you have variety. I’m looking forward to taking a trip outside of my state, changing my career, and becoming debt free.
- Talk to friends who are in their thirties: This is one of the biggest things that helped me change my mindset about my impending age. Being able to talk to someone who was feeling the same way I was just a short time ago was insightful. Hearing them say that they love their thirties more than their twenties put me at ease and got me ready for my birthday.
- Give yourself time to mourn your twenties: At the end of the day, change can be scary. Even when you try your best to accept a new thing, emotions can get the best of you. Don’t feel ashamed of them. Sometimes you have to go through the process of mourning what you’re losing to get your mind ready for what you are gaining.
- Make your birthday a big deal: Plan something big for your special day so that you are focused on having fun instead of what age you are turning. That is what I did with my Taylor Swift themed party and death to my twenties photoshoot. It ended up being a great way to celebrate.
I may have been dreading turning 30 at the beginning of 2023, but by the time my birthday came and went I felt content and ready to see what is to come. I hope my experience helps you feel content about your entrance into a new decade.
How are you feeling about being in your thirties? Let me know in the comments.