30 Ways To Approach Your 30’s

jenny_elisa_baliToday my SPIRL, Jenny Blake, turns 30.

Hard to believe that just over five years ago Jenny and I were two young and crazy girls on opposite sides of the United States (me in Portland, Maine and Jenny in San Francisco, California) who barely knew of each other.

Fast forward those five years, and Jenny is one of the most important people in my life, whether we only get to talk once a week via someecards or engage in an epic 2-hour long Skype-Slumber-Party. We’ve flown across states, countries, oceans, and continents to hang out and travel together.

That’s the beautiful power of this crazy little emerging country known as the internet. It allows me to run my business and work for the Tropical MBA guys anywhere I have my laptop and a wifi connection. It allows me to find out what I need to hop countries at a moments notice when I want a change of scenery or need to make a move (honestly, who hasn’t booked a flight to Bali at 4 AM…twice) It creates an infrastructure of community and cloud-management that follows me from apartment to cafe to airport to library and home again. It facilitates an amazing friendship with people directly on opposite sides of the planet from each other.

Today is not about waxing nostalgic on the merits and awesomeness (as in it should inspire lots of awe when you think about it) of the internet.

It is about the changing decade tide of one of my favorite person’s life, and some advice for navigating your 30’s. I’ve been at it for over three years now, so I’m obviously a pro. Forging forward on the getting older learning curve since you are always the one giving ME such great advice, Jenny. xo

30 Ways To Approach Your 30’s

  1. My 20’s were a rough and tumble decade of figuring out who I was as an adult and what I wanted from life. So far my 30’s have been about embracing who that person is and going after what I want
  2. It is NEVER too late to go after those things. I got my first passport (in my life) when I was 31 years old and MOVED to Bali four months later
  3. Our 20’s are about walking into rooms (or offices, or clubs, or dates) and worrying that people may or may not like us. Our 30’s are about walking into places and worrying that we may or may not like the people there. And that’s ok. Not everyone has to like us…and we don’t have to like everyone
  4. But we do have to be kind to everyone we encounter. It is not a sign of weakness or being fake, it is a sign that you are an adult who does not need to have a quarter-life attitude or post-graduate condescension towards the world
  5. You’re going to miss some of the doe-eyed optimism of youth and early adulthood. But you have a much more realistic view on the world now that you’ve been around-the-block a few times
  6. Don’t let that realistic view turn snarky and cynical though. It’s really easy. Scary easy. Paranoid easy.
  7. I know you have laid off the sauce, but unless you want to get a part-time-job as a professional drinker, your hangovers will continue to get worse and it may take days to recover if you stay up drinking to see the sunrise. Or so I hear
  8. Crazy Thursday nights in your 20’s involves twerking at a club with your feet sticking to the floor and the inability to talk to anyone around you. Crazy Thursday nights in your 30’s involve twerking in your friend’s kitchen with a glass of wine during Girls Cooking Night
  9. Student Loans. You thought they sucked in your 20’s, now the “graduated” payments are kicking in
  10. But no worries. You’re a decade closer to an inevitable parting from the planet. Suddenly, so many petty arguments and small life snafus are like “Meh” in the grand scheme of things
  11. The story goes that women reach their sexual peak in their 30’s. Men in their late teens and early 20’s. Do the math. But don’t be illegal. You will seriously go to jail for that shit in your 30’s
  12. Friendships are a lot less volatile and a lot deeper. You aren’t jumping around in hobby/employment/education/location/relationship and your friends are the people you’ve settled into a life routine with.
  13. People no longer pass off your choices and direction as “being young” – YAY!
  14. People no longer pass off your choices and direction as “being young” – boo
  15. Remember when you were 20 and wearing pajama pants to the store was completely fine cause you were either 1) Feeling lazy or 2) Not adhering to the conventional style paradigms of society, man. In your 30’s you not only have developed a bit of a style, you realize that it does go a long way to a first impression
  16. Your parents and family aren’t on you as much about what you are doing with your life. Even if you flit around SE Asia being a writer
  17. However, if you are single then the outside pressure to find a nice boy/girl and settle down grows exponentially each year
  18. If you are in a relationship then the outside pressure to get married already and settle down grows exponentially each year
  19. If you are married then the outside pressure to start making babies and buy a house and settle down grows exponentially each year
  20. Those people aren’t living your life, you are. So find whomever you want, get married when you know without a doubt that it’s right, and make babies and buy houses when you are ready to do just that
  21. You no longer roll your eyes with an angsty sigh when people try to force their scripts on you like you did in your 20’s. You smile politely, thank them for their input, turn and walk away
  22. You actually enjoy conversation and pillow talk. Mornings aren’t always about trying to hooker-crawl your way out the door undetected.
  23. Somehow the ages of 27 to 40 meld together into one big “same-age” lump. No one is older or younger than you, everyone is just kind of your age.
  24. Moisturize. Whenever you can. People will be shocked to find you are actually over 30
  25. Kids become cool not just because hanging out and playing with them reminds you of your youth, which feels like it was just yesterday in your 20’s (hint – it was). In your 30’s it is cool because you will get to watch them turn into tiny grown up humans right before your eyes. Plus, if they aren’t yours, you get to give them back when they make that screaming noise or smell…wrong.
  26. Since our 20’s were all about proving ourselves, every conversation was a competition to one-up your fellow debaters. In your 30’s conversations are about listening, learning, and sharing cause who the hell are you really trying to impress?
  27. That doesn’t mean that we become lifeless dullards who smile and nod to every discourse that happens around us. You have opinions and you actually know stuff now (you don’t just think you do) and thus you can have some pretty lively discussions.
  28. Be careful you don’t become that cranky curmudgeon that refuses to listen to anyone else because you obviously know better now that you actually know stuff. We’re only in our 30’s — we totally don’t know everything
  29. I love my life so much now that I kind of understand how to work it. Every day it keeps getting better. Often I barely have a hand in this, the groundwork I’ve laid over the past decade just keeps delivering opportunities that I take advantage of.
  30. Sleep. I sleep seven to eight hours a night. Sometimes I even take a nap. No regrets. YOLO

14 Comments

  1. Ahhh I love this! Half the time I’m so happy being 28; I’ve travelled, made friends from all over the world, I write, I’m about to start a new life in London. And the other half of the time I’m entertaining the highly possible idea that I’m going to be single for the rest of my life and die alone with cats. Then, I think, do you know what – I was with someone for 6 years, I’ve done amazing things and there’s still so much more amazingness to come 🙂

    • Haha, I feel you. It’s a slippery slope from happy and content to death by cat-lady companion assault. But you are totally right! Sounds like you have got a LOT of great life experience under your belt and yes, so much more to come. PS – 28 was a great year for me, hated being 27!

  2. so awesome! i just turned 30 this year and i am definitely glad to join the ranks! the best is #1… i feel so much more sure of myself and my path even though it’s crazy and unconventional. especially because it’s crazy and unconventional 😉

    • Happy (early) Birthday! It’s nice getting into the groove where whatever you are doing, crazy and unconventional or stable and conventional, is exactly where you want to be. Most def!

  3. Haha. Today I,was talking to a friend about how great it is to be in my 30s, then, a friend of mine tagged me im this. Awesome!

  4. 30s > 20s.

  5. “The story goes that women reach their sexual peak in their 30′s. Men in their late teens and early 20′s. Do the math. But don’t be illegal. You will seriously go to jail for that shit in your 30′s”

    Great list!!! But I had to do a double take on this one…Is this a joke or are you serious? Its the other way around… Women peak early 20’s and men late 30’s to early 40’s….

    • It is from a study by sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, often confirmed by sociologist surveys and studies. I’ve seen a few in the past couple years stating the opposite, as you note, but the majority still seem to support Kinsey’s findings.

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