Food, Fashion, Fun & Friends in your 30s.
I have to admit, I had a great time during my 20s. I extended my college days by going back to graduate school at the age of 24, and in addition, moved to a big city with one of my closest friends. I still had hoped that I would be married by 25, 26 with kids, but of course that didn’t happen, so I continued to enjoy my life as it was. Since school took so much of my time during the afternoons, my free time was spent
visiting some of the most popular and trendy clubs and lounges in the city at night. I also met some good friends in the city and we were painting the town red.
Being in college also meant being broke. I did hostessing on the side, but the money was just not enough to have a lavish lifestyle. Happy Hours and VIP lists is what helped me. Shopping at stores like H&M and Forever 21 was a must-go in order to still look fashionable on a budget that did the job for a couple weeks at a time. Meals consisted of frozen pizzas and pasta out of a box. Since my school and work schedule was so hectic and I still had the energy to go out after, sleeping was on the last thing on my mind until I hit the weekends where I slept most of the morning and afternoons away.
After graduate school I continued my lifestyle as usual but I was starting to feel that my life stood still and I was not sure what to expect going forward – will I ever be married? When are kids going to be in the picture? I had this degree now, so where are the jobs? It was 2007 and the economy was just beginning to tank. In the meantime I took mini-vacations to Las Vegas, NYC, and Montreal which I could not have done, had I not moved back home for a couple years.
I really missed being on my own and living in the city, so I spent months looking for a job and finally landed a career job in my field back in the city. Things seemed to pick up from there and next thing I know I was married at the ripe age of 29, two months shy of my 30th birthday.
Being in my 30s, married, and with a career was definitely a life changer for me. It took getting used to. I also parted with friends that I grew up with in high school and undergrad. I realized once I was married and by 30, many of these people that were in my life before were toxic. Being in your 30s definitely has you see by now who are your true friends, and who are people who just would continue to bring you down and be toxic in your life.
With the exception of a of couple friends that I met during graduate school, meeting friends in my 30s is a different ball game. Most women I know don’t take the time to try to make an effort to initiate and make contacts. You soon realize that you can count good, quality friends on one hand that you may only see couple times a month as oppose to having 20 so called friends which really were there just to go out with on weekends.
Having a 9-5 office job now, I then soon realized that you cannot exactly say up late during the week unless you take paid time off (PTO) the next day. But now, I am receiving a paycheck every two weeks, and can actually afford more things than I was able to during my 20s as a student (I still shop at H&M of course). Being in my 30s, I now have an established career where I can afford classic, quality pieces that would last me a long time. I believe women in their 30s dress a lot better and sophisticated and know their bodies by now. By now they can also tell what is worth investing for their wardrobe and what would be a waste of money if it doesn’t fit well, regardless of it being on sale.
As far as nightlife? Staying out until 5am is not an option anymore because I do get tired working 40+ hours a week. I also purchased a home after saving vigorously for two years, so cooking quality meals at home is frequent around here. Going out now means hanging out at hip coffee shops and more trendy restaurants instead of trendy clubs. Spending $40 dollars on a quality meal as oppose to $40 on just drinks alone makes more sense. Once in a while I do hit up a hotel lounge where the crowd is a little more about just mingling and relaxing as oppose to fist-pumping to loud bass until 4am.
Entertainment and extracurricular activities are a different ball game in your 30s too I believe. I live very close to a park trail and the lake, so now my free time is spent biking, walking, or running. Tennis is another hobby I picked up. I also definitely feel the quality of how you spend your time improves in your 30s. I feel more well-rounded and more health conscious at the same time. Museums, Festivals,and Concerts are also in the mix. My life is not entirely consumed of just clubs.
I am more health conscious like I said, and I try to purchase my food at Farmer’s Markets and organic whenever possible. I am paying more attention to what ingredients are involved in my foods and the nutritional content of what I am buying. Skincare is also on my top priority list as I try to invest in more products that prevent aging. Sun-tanning is out the window for sure at this point, as sunscreen is also important to me.
Now I am 32, and expecting another huge chapter of changes in my 30s-I am going to soon be a mom! The thought scares me a little but also excited at the same time. I probably would have wanted to travel more and attend more concerts, plays etc. but, I am sure with the help of my in-laws and parents (who are more than happy to babysit!) I will be able to. Of course this means having a new addition to my family to create even more memories. I still consider myself as a young mom and it doesn’t hurt living in a big city where starting families in your 30’s is nothing new. The city does keep you young. I can’t wait to meet her and love her as much as possible.
I do miss my 20s, and it’s a lot of fun reminiscing with the friends that I did hold on to. However, I also do not miss being broke, not eating so healthy, and spending daylight hours in bed. Also trying to rummage through the dating scene was not fun either. There is definitely less drama in your 30s and you dress better, eat better, and overall, live better. Being in my 30s doesn’t sound so bad after all.
Dijana is a 30-something gal who lives, works, and plays in Chicago. She has her own blog and writes about her observations and navigations of city living. You can read it at http://dijanasdare.blogspot.com.