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8 Unexpected Ways My 30s Feel Different From My 20s

I am loving my 30s more than I thought I would. Seriously, 20-something year old me would not believe that statement, and probably wouldn’t even believe where I am in my life right now.

Happily settled down – both in marriage and with work – not going out nearly as much, and actually getting a full good night’s sleep. She wouldn’t even recognize me!

I kid – a part of me always knew I’d end up where I am now. But I’ll admit it – there were times in my 20s it didn’t seem like I’d get here. I’m not saying that in a bad way, as I was definitely enjoying my 20s, just in a matter of fact way.

I just feel different in my 30s than in my 20s – mentally, emotionally, and physically. The differences are even greater than I realized… and mostly for the good. Here are some of the differences I’ve noticed in myself.

8 Ways My 30s Feel Different From My 20s

8 Unexpected Ways My 30s Feel Different From My 20s

I’m More Confident

This is probably one that every female in their 30s can relate to for the most part, but it of course has to be said. I’m more confident in myself, I’m more confident at work, I’m more confident in my beliefs, I’m more confident in my relationships, I’m more confident in everything.

I know who I am, I know my likes and dislikes, I know my values and beliefs, I know my goals, I know what I want and what I don’t want to deal with. I’m not going to be easily shaken, changed, or persuaded like I may have been in my 20s.

I Care Less

Seriously – I do. Things I used to care some much about in my 20s, I really couldn’t care less about anymore. A big example of this is other people’s opinions of me. I’ve become so secure with who I am, that if you don’t like me, oh well. I’m not going to waste my energy trying to fix that.

Another thing I used to care about that now I’m indifferent about? Social media. Anytime I was out, I had to post something on the ‘gram. Don’t get me wrong, I still post, but it’s not nearly as much of a necessity as it was. And I’m not nearly on social media as much as I was.

I Know Who The Real Ones Are

I had a lot of friends and people close to me in my 20s. As I grew, and as more “life” things happened to me, I noticed that it was the same few friends that were there supporting me through them… and I noticed the people that weren’t.

You really see who genuinely wants to see you succeed and whose envious of where you are. Now in my 30s, I know who I can lean on and trust. I unfortunately also know who I can’t, and I’ve become better at keeping them at more of a distance.

In my 30s, I’ve been able to see who else around me has grown, and who hasn’t. I’ve been able to also see who around me has noticed my growth, and who still looks at me they way they did 5-10 years ago. All of this, too, has allowed me to see who my true inner circle really is.

I Like Going To Bed Early and Waking Up Early

My 30s feel different from my 20s because in my 20s, I was going out at 10 PM and getting home at 3 AM the earliest. Now, I’m in bed at 10 PM and up before 7 AM… and I really like it.

I love being well rested. I love having time in the morning to drink my coffee, read my book, and set the tone for my day before needing to sign on for work. I love going to bed early, doing a face mask, and (again) reading my book.

This is entirely different from my days of wanting to be out and about every night. I’m so glad I had those experiences, and now I’m glad that they’re over!

The Hangovers Are Real Now

If I thought that hangovers in my 20s were bad, ha! Thirty-something year old me is laughing at 20-something year old me. I used to be able to cure a hangover with a greasy bacon egg and cheese, and an iced coffee.

Now, I can only cure a hangover by laying on the couch all day and needing a midday nap! Liquid IV and Tylenol help, too. I really don’t know how I used to go out drinking multiple days in a row and still be able to function at work.

8 Ways My 30s Feel Different From My 20s

I Forgive Better, But I Never Forget

In my 20s, I never wanted to be the one to apologize. I wasn’t afraid to hold a grudge or just cut people out of my life. Honestly, I’m still not afraid to cut people out of my life, but I’ve gotten a lot better at forgiving.

Not forgiving, and holding that grudge, takes a lot of negative energy, and who needs that? I’ve learned that I didn’t. Forgiveness came into play here.

But, just because I’ve gotten better at forgiving doesn’t mean that I’ll just forget it happened. I won’t. I’ll remember it, and use that to shape decisions and relationships.

My Back Hurts

But seriously – it does. I know you’ve probably seen those TikTok videos or Instagram Reels of people joking about turning 30 and all of a sudden they have body aches, and it’s true.

I sat on the floor for too long the other day and I felt it in my lower back later on. I feel the physical difference in my body already. I will say, this is one part of my 30s I’m not totally loving.

8 Ways My 30s Feel Different From My 20s

I’m Happier

Maybe it’s because I’m more confident. Maybe it’s because my perspective on things have changed. Maybe it’s because I’ve settled down.

Maybe (probably) it’s because I found my soulmate and got married. But I’m definitely happier in my 30s than I was in my 20s, and more optimistic, too.

Do Your 30s Feel Different From Your 20s?

Do you relate or feel completely differently? Let us know in the comments, we’re curious!!

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About the Author

I had tons of fun in my 20s, but my 30s have been my favorite decade so far! From getting married and now getting to explore life with my best friend, I want to share my experiences and learnings with you. I've worked in both the nonprofit and corporate worlds and have freelanced all the way through. When I'm not working, you'll probably find me booking my next trip.