Reflections From a 30-Something
I love birthday parties, especially my own. I, however, was dreading my 30th birthday. I was so sad to see the end of my 20s nearing; it felt like the end of my youth. Suddenly life was going to be so serious and real, even though I already had a professional job and responsibilities. I pressed on though and planned a trip to Las Vegas for my birthday. I thought I might as well leave my 20s with a bang! I was ready for March Madness, great shows, and excellent food with my husband and a few close friends. I had so much fun dancing my birthday night away and celebrating, that I had a terrible hangover the next day. This is where I learned my first lesson about life in your 30s, the hangovers are much worse.
Well guess what? Despite my terrible hangover, I survived my first weekend as a thirty year old and truly I could not have been more wrong about entering a new chapter! I wish thirty had come sooner because even though it is just a number, with thirty came a new confidence and security I did not have in my 20s.
Here are my three tips for 20-somethings who feel a little lost, under too much pressure to succeed, or unsure of their future. Although I was focused, I wish someone had clearly articulated these life lessons to me and I certainly would have had a different outlook on my 20s.
1. Be Smart with Your Money. After college, you are at this wonderful point in your life, filled with many new experiences. Maybe you are living in your first apartment, starting your dream job, making new friends, and/or dating. The only hard part about doing all this is that you might not be making sufficient income to balance the life you want to be living. Well let me tell you now, you do not have to buy expensive clothes and shoes, you do not have to own a car, you do not have to buy anyone a round of drinks Friday night, nor do you need to go on expensive vacations you cannot afford. Get rid of the magazines showing you what your lifestyle should be. All of these things will come with time. Instead, go to discount stores, be thrifty, buy things on sale, and save your money. Save your money to purchase a car or your first home and when you are debt-free, get promoted, and have some money in the bank, you can focus on the other important aspects of your life. And of course, also buy that designer bag you have been eyeing for years!
2. Say Good Riddance to Negative Relationships. It is easy to say this from my current perspective, but bad relationships will only drag you down and waste your precious time. At the time it might feel like a breakup shattered your heart, but honestly, take these negative experiences as signs it was not meant to be. Do not dwell on what could have happened; instead realize if you are not happy, then a relationship is not working. Do not spend time trying to change someone, or trying to mold yourself into someone you are not. At this stage in your life, you are still figuring out what you want in life, but is it very important to have confidence in who you are, what is important to you, and what you want from a relationship. Believe me the older you get, the more you realize good relationships make you feel wonderful, lift you up, and don’t take great efforts to be effortless. Take care of yourself now, eat healthy, workout regularly, and surround yourself with positivity.
3. Enjoy Your Time with Friends. These are the years to really be present in your dear friends lives. Your responsibilities increase as you get older, so take this freedom and use it wisely. Be there for your friends when they need you. Send them a handwritten card to let them know you are thinking of them. Be thoughtful and kind, and present. Go to important events in their lives and be the first one to arrive at their birthday party to toast and celebrate with them. Also, plan events for your friends; start a book club, explore your city together, or plan monthly dinners. Time is so precious and when I look back, I am so grateful to have been able to spend quality time with so many of my girlfriends before we all got married and moved away from each other. Those memories will forever bond you and can keep you connected even when you are not physically there to hand her a tissue during your Notebook movie nights.
Thirty is a new take on life, a new chapter, and has turned out to be the best period of my life. By the end of my 20s, I married a wonderful man and had our dream wedding in Santa Barbara in a beautiful mission surrounded by 95 of my favorite people on Earth. Now, I am living in the sunny state of California and am pregnant expecting our first child this year. So enjoy your 20s, do not rush things along, and have fun along the way. I hope my little advice makes your journey to your thirties a little easier.
Katie is an east coast girl now living in San Jose, California. She loves entertaining and planning a great party! Besides blogging about seasonal events and parties, Katie writes about her experiences exploring California, her travels, the holidays, great gift ideas, and her weekly shoe crush! Katie loves snail mail, glitter, wedge heels, all things pink, board games, lobster, and is currently obsessed with French Macaroons. Katie is married, has two Schnoodle pups, and is expecting her first child this fall.