Your thirties. Some people dread this decade, thinking that they’re leaving behind the freedom of your twenties for true responsibility. But you know what? That’s just not true!
Yes, your twenties are an amazing, defining decade that I think we should all take a bit more seriously. But there is a fun side to them too, right? You don’t have too many responsibilities yet at that age. For most people, no one is relying on on you but you. It’s wonderful and freeing and fleeting. Most of all, though, your twenties prepare you for your thirties.
10 Things To Look Forward to In Your 30s
1. Being established.
If your twenties is all about building the foundation, your thirties are about starting to decorate that foundation. In your twenties, you’re putting the work and the hours, by the time you’re in your thirties, you’re actually a pretty established person who has a wealth of experience, solid skillset, and significant connections to propel you forward.
Yes, you’re still putting in the work day after day but you’re in a place where you are no longer trying to prove yourself. You are proven, you’re established. It’s a great feeling to know that new grads and young professionals are looking to you for wise words and guidance. You get to work with the next generation to create, innovate, and build together. It’s a great joy to be able to mentor someone and to be a resource people can trust and turn to when they need help.
2. Knowing your worth.
Along with all of that, you now have probably been through several salary negotiations, changed jobs a few times, worked at the next level, and been taken advantage of. All of these things culminate to help you know what you are worth.
It becomes easier to say no to things that don’t work for you. Whether it’s financially or too much drain on your mental health, saying no is second nature. And it’s no longer a problem. You don’t feel bad for it anymore. You don’t have to over explain yourself or stew on saying no for a while… you can just say no and move on with your life.
3. Having money.
In your twenties, most of us had a lot of debt looming over us. Your bank account might dip lower than what would want it to. But by the time you reach 30, you’ve likely been saving money for years. You might have started out in your career not making a lot, but it’s grown over the years. Your salary has increased. The game has changed.
Whether you’re saving for retirement, your emergency fund, travel, or for a down payment… in your thirties you tend to start having a bit more money to play around with as you get older. You can do things you want to do on top of paying for your bills and saving for the future.
4. Being unapologetically you.
When we’re younger, a lot of us can be shy about the things that really interest us. We don’t share what really lights us up for fear of being judged. But in your thirties, you start to realize that none of that really matters. What matters is that you are doing what you love the most.
Your happiness matters and when you are unapologetically yourself, you can lean into that and connect with people who love the same things. And that is what strong friendships are built on.
If you aren’t into what everyone else seems to be into, that’s fine! You don’t have to be. There are plenty of people who totally dig what you’re all about. Whether it’s a show or a hobby, there are lots of options out there because people all like different things. And that’s okay. Be yourself – you’ll attract the right people into your life.
5. Experiencing the small joys.
In your thirties, you realize that the days get SO busy. As a mom, sometimes my day happens in ten and fifteen minute increments. I don’t have a lot of time in this phase of my life to relax for several hours at a time. And that’s when you start to realize that there are so many small, joyful moments everyday.
You savor your cup of coffee instead of chugging it down. Instead of running between meetings, you might take an extra five minutes to take the long way. Or simply take a few minutes to chat with a barista in an empty coffee shop instead of just being on your way. You enjoy turning your face to the sun. These simple moments pass a lot of twenty-somethings by because in our twenties, we’re always in a hurry. But by your thirties, you’ve hurried your way for a decade and are ready to just be.
6. Prioritizing your time better.
In your thirties, you start to prioritize your time better because you realize it’s a finite resource. Yes, you possibly already knew this but it starts to feel more real in your twenties.
This can happen especially as you begin to lose people in your life who you expected to be around forever. I lost my dad to cancer when I was 14 but even so, your twenties have a way of making you feel like time is just stretching before you. After you reach thirty, the time doesn’t feel so infinite.
Recently I had the realization that 24 and 40 were the same distance from my current age. Just eight years ago, I was 24. And in 8 years, I’ll be 40. These two numbers stand at a stark contrast in my head. These ages feel very different to me, and as someone in my thirties, I don’t feel like my time stands infinitely before me anymore.
7. Loving more deeply.
In our twenties, I think a lot of us are afraid to love deeply. Whether that’s romantically or in our friendships, there always feels like there’s something holding us back from loving with our truest hearts.
I’ve been married for almost ten years now and I realize almost everyday that there is something new to love and care for about my partner. As we get older and our responsibilities change, it’s up to us to prioritize our own relationship and relationship health. I loved him way back when and I love him more now.
I tell my friends I love them after we *gasp* talk on the actual phone. I flick through pictures of my kids on my phone every night before bed and recap funny things they said or did with my husband. I talk to my siblings regularly. We’re happy to help out family. Love isn’t something to be ashamed of and it’s something that can be exchanged freely in a variety of ways.
8. No longer caring what other people think.
This has been a theme on this list so far, but I think it needs its own space. In your thirties, you can look forward to no longer caring about what other people thing. This comes from being established in life, knowing your worth, understanding your value as a human being even without any accolades.
What matters the most is what you think about yourself. It hardly matters what other people’s thoughts of you are. At the beginning and end of everyday you are the person who wakes up in your shoes. You have to live your life and make the best decisions for you. We all get to make our own choices, define our own interests, and be who we want to be.
9. Being out of your twenties.
Being in your twenties comes with a certain reputation, right? To some extent, we’re expecting to be confused. We’re expecting to not know what’s going on in our lives, to be figuring out our paths. And that’s all okay! In your thirties, you get to shed these boxes.
Your life gets to be tidied in a way you’d like it to be. Turning thirty is almost like coming to tipping point. You get to see what’s waiting for you on the other side. You can be confident without being cocky. You’ll get to shed an identity and start a new one. It’s really a wonderfully exciting time.
10. Embracing the future.
For some reason thirty tends to be an age that people dread. And I want to assure you that it shouldn’t be. It’s not a deadline or a point of no return. It’s a number, a decade that helps you really dig your claws into who you’re going to be in your life.
You realize what you have is the future, not the past. Every day you get to create the person you want to be. You don’t have to be who you were yesterday and who are you tomorrow isn’t going to be the same person you are today. Embrace the future because it’s waiting for you.
In my experience, a lot of people fear turning thirty. They seem to think it means you’re getting “old” or can’t have fun anymore. And that’s simply not true and not a narrative I can embrace. Your twenties are awesome and your thirties will be as well. The best days of our lives are not behind us, they are ahead of us.