When I was in my 20’s I always heard mixed reviews about turning 30. People primarily told me all about the new found freedom you would feel and liberation and a desire to chase your dreams because you have lived through your twenties; where you are finding yourself, making mistakes, and building your values based on your experiences.
This year I turned 30. I can definitely look back on my life and feel a little wiser, a lot smarter about decisions and a whole lot more confident in myself. Here are 5 things I have come to terms with as I begin my 30’s:
- You Matter. You matter outside of what you do as a profession. You matter outside of who people think you are, and you matter outside of what you can do for other people. It takes a long time to find your identity and your voice and it is easy to feel like you are lost in a crowd. Stand up for yourself and for what you believe in because your voice does matter and you are important.
- Set Your Boundaries. It is amazing to have a year of “yes”, but it is also important to be careful with your time. It is ok to say no! And the best part is, you don’t even have to have an excuse. You don’t have to agree to anything you don’t want to do. You don’t have an endless stream of energy and you should put your time into the things that you really care about. Set your boundaries and make them clear to yourself and to your friends so you can focus on saying yes to the things that are in line with your goals and politely just say no to the things that aren’t.
- It Doesn’t Matter What People Think About Your Choices. The definition of success is different for everyone. A big part of this for me is parenting; how much you are working, traveling, or the fact that you stay home with kids. People are always going to have their opinions on your situation, especially if it is different from their own. You have to just keep doing what is right for you because, in the end, you are the one who has to live your life. Do it the right way that works for you. It doesn’t have to work for everyone. Make the decisions that feel good for your situation. I have realized that most of the stress associated with what people thought about me was in my own head. I don’t find myself wondering what people will think anymore because it honestly doesn’t matter as long as I am being true to myself.
- Never Stop Changing. We have all made mistakes that have shaped us into who we are today. We have to look at places where we are unfulfilled, unhappy and unsatisfied in order to make positive changes in our lives. Something that made you happy a few years ago might not be as fulfilling now. Although I have reached a happy place with who I am now, that doesn’t mean I am done changing. It is never too late to recreate yourself or change your path and we should never ever settle for mediocracy in our career, our relationships and in our health. You are strong and resilient and should not let yourself settle for less than you deserve but you need to keep learning and experiencing in order to be the best version of yourself.
- Find Your Tribe. At this point, you have probably narrowed down the people in your life to the ones that you have created meaningful relationships with and who bring positivity to your world. As we get caught up in life, it can be easy to lose touch with people, and it can also be easy to lose depth in our relationships. It is so important to hold on to the people we care about and to maintain a mutual effort in showing respect and love. You will have hard times, and you will have times when you need help, and having your tribe who understands you will make your life a whole lot easier and more fulfilling. Give way more than you expect to receive. Lianna Ruben wrote a great article on listening and connecting with people that I found really helpful in strengthening conversations.
There is no right way to do life and everyone finds joy in different paths. There is a lot to learn from your twenties and all of those lessons will guide you into a place where you know more of what you want, you know where your boundaries are, and how to keep pushing yourself towards greatness. These lessons are going to be different for everyone. What are some of the lessons you learned in your twenties or thirties or beyond?