Being in your 20s can be pretty fabulous. This is especially true if you have a decent job, a cool apartment, and basically no real responsibilities other than taking care of yourself. In your 20s, you rest up all week to enjoy the weekend.
I'm halfway into my 30s now, and though I occasionally long for the glorious freedom of my previous decade, I must say, life doesn't suck. I actually love being in my 30s, and here's why.
I say whatever I want because I no longer care if everyone likes me. I'm old enough to know that not every person I meet will be my best friend, and more importantly, that's okay with me. At this point, I only have about five minutes a week for friends anyway.
I don't take things as seriously now that I have a family. Once you have kids, you realize that there's nothing as important as them. Work, exercise, social drama – whatever time suck you used to focus on – it's not as big of a deal anymore, and that's freeing.
I laugh at myself a lot. Life is more fun this way. I don't need to look cool or know where all the hip bars and restaurants are (mainly because I won't be going to them), but I also care less. I own who I am. Knowing who you are frees up valuable brain space.
I don't think I spent much time feeling grateful in my 20s. I probably felt grateful when I woke up on Sunday without a hangover, or when I got my first raise. I didn't consciously start feeling grateful until my 30s – an age where I've experienced enough heartbreak, setbacks, and loss to appreciate what I have in the present.
Despite my most optimistic efforts, my social life took a nose dive once tiny humans entered my world. The plus side of this is that I cut my losses; I invest in the good stuff. If you're really lucky, you'll find that in your 30s your tribe will fill you up with energy and support rather than deplete you.
Because I don't censor myself (see above), worry about everyone liking me (see above), or spend time with annoying people (see above), my creativity has spiked. I can write for hours sometimes, and it feels fantastic.
The glamour (real or imagined) of your 20s can be awesome, but there are smaller joys we appreciate as we grow up. Hearing your children make each other laugh is particularly amazing. Sex with your husband can be pretty great, too. As can a sunny walk with your kids in the stroller, or a cup of coffee with a well-chosen friend. It's the small joys that add up to a happy life, and I for one didn't appreciate that when I was younger.
Children have a way of adding gray hairs to our heads and dark smudges under our eyes. I don't have the time or energy to permanently fix any of that, but I have discovered a valuable secret that saves time and money: sunglasses. Big ones. Wear them all the time, along with your SPF 30, and thank me in your 40s and 50s.
In your 30s you are just old enough to realize that you won't live forever. Morbid, perhaps, but this realization can light a fire under you. Always wanted to play the piano? Learn it now. Always wanted to go to Fiji? Plan a trip. Want to switch careers? Start taking those steps. If you start something now, you won't regret not pursuing it later. It's not too late for anything at this point in your life. Just start.
If you're really fortunate, in your third decade you have met or will meet someone who will, in the immortal words of Jerry McGuire, “complete you.” This person helps you smooth out life's wrinkles and enjoy the world all the more. Ideally, you get to spend the rest of your many decades together.
We love to hear from our readers. Leave a comment and tell us what else doesn't suck about being in your 30s.