I won’t say that life in your thirties is boring. In fact, I am actively trying to make it more boring, and despite my best intentions, life keeps throwing me curve balls.
I will say, however, that life in your thirties is nothing like what you’d expect it to be. Maybe it was different for past generations, but as an American that watched her friends get shipped off to Iraq and Afghanistan right after high school, who graduated college as the Great Recession hit, and who has lost a generation of elders to fascism and conspiracy theories, my thirties have not looked at all like what I thought they would.
I thought I’d feel more grown up by now. I thought I’d have more figured out. And I sure as hell thought I’d feel more capable by now.
We’re all chasing that in my 30s meaning–you know, where you feel in control of your life and like your purpose is attainable.
I will say that I think we are in as much control as we can be, and working towards purpose all the time. It just really doesn’t always feel that way.
Feeling Lost in your 30s
If you’re feeling lost in your 30s, you’re not alone. If you’re not as adult as you thought you’d be, you’re not alone.
I think, especially in the United States, we were raised with an authoritarian view of age. There was this notion that once you hit your thirties, you’re firmly in adulthood, and you have it all figured out.
And I think previous generations had the sort of wages and career opportunities that made them feel like they were adults with everything figured out. If you’re reading this in 2022, when it’s published, and you’re in thirties, you definitely don’t have those opportunities.
But, for what it’s worth, previous generations didn’t have it figured out in the thirties either. I mean, look at how many of our elders we’ve lost to internet disinformation campaigns. You think they were brilliant minds back in their day?
Everyone’s lost. The key is admitting it. And when you admit it, you don’t have to pretend that you know what the hell you’re doing. Because no one does.
The added bonus is that learning to admit that you have no idea what the hell is going on in your thirties makes it easier to keep saying that as you continue. So you’re less likely to be the sort of person who is sure that there’s a 5G wire in the disposable face masks, and that is designed to control your brain waves.
Because that’s not real, Brenda.
Your thirties are pretty great, and besides learning how to admit you have no idea what’s going on, there’s a whole to do list of things to do in you thirties you should check out.
Why Your 30s Are Better Than Your 20s
All joking aside, your thirties can be rough. But overall, there are many reasons why your 30s are better than your 20s.
Firstly, you couldn’t pay me to relive my twenties. They were trash and I’m glad they’re done. I do not put up with the sort of shit I used to, and I’m a happier person for it.
My thirties, thus far, have been a time where I’ve been able to really dig into the stuff I like. I don’t have to do what the crowd is doing, and I know a healthy friendship when I see one. So I don’t feel obligated to spend time doing stuff for the sake of doing it, or giving shits where I have no energy to give them.
Instead, I get to focus on what I really care about. I mean, I’ve had this blog since my twenties, but it’s only really gotten good in the past few years. Like, I get to invest time and energy into it in a way that I wouldn’t if I still carried the same concerns I did in my twenties.
For what it’s worth, thinking about what to expect in your 30s as a woman is different for everyone. But overall, I think we’re all a lot more chill. We respect comfort over style, and recognize that the two can coexist. We don’t chase trends, but also, try them if we want to. And we don’t live our lives like an episode of Sex and the City. Sure, I never did that, and most women I know never did. But the the few who thought that was real life, well. They’ve chilled out a lot.
My early 30s were a time of self discovery, and it’s only gotten better since then.
Life in Your Thirties
I know there are tons of memes about how life in your thirties is slow and boring. But that’s a good thing.
You don’t feel obligated to keep up the manic pace of life that you used to in your twenties. You don’t spend so much time worrying about what others think, and you’ve been working long enough that it’s easier to navigate the work world and do what you’ve been hired to do.
(Though, they don’t compensate you that way.)
You learn to say no when someone asks you to go out. And you don’t feel guilty about it.
My twenties were so full of partying and going places and spending time with people who functionally don’t matter in the grander scheme of my life as it is now, just because I thought I needed to go out.
But now, I’m happy to report there are no invitations to do things on Friday nights. It’s just me, my husband, some sort of take out, and a bottle of $6 wine from Aldi. Oh, and my yoga pants are definitely along for the ride.
And if I do go out, it’s for a meaningful gathering. Maybe I’m going to a coffee shop to chat with a friend, or maybe there’s a small gathering at a friend’s house. Either way, it’s chill and cheap and I get home by 10 PM.
There’s a level of comfort in my thirties that I didn’t think I’d ever achieve. Not just with people or clothes, but in my own skin. Sure, I’m still an awkward, rambling mess who struggles to relate to humans in everyday conversation. But I don’t feel bad about that anymore.
And the people who stick with you as you move into your thirties, they accept you for it.