My 32nd birthday is on the horizon and I’m realizing that life in your thirties feels slightly different than the wild, crazy and somewhat unpredictable ride we like to call our twenties. Your twenties were full of exploring, late nights, finding a career and figuring out who you really were. As I think back to my twenties my head swirls when I reminisce on all of the major life events that happened- I got engaged, graduated from college, started my teaching career, got married, bought a house, had our first child, changed school districts, started my master’s degree, had our second child, finished my master’s degree and changed school districts once again (hold on a second let me catch my breath). I remember turning 30 and thinking “geeze- what the hell is left to happen over the next 10 years?”. I’m finding out life is fun in a different way- watching your kids grow and become little humans with their own interests and personalities brings the meaning of life to a whole new perspective. As I enter life in my mid-thirties I’m learning that “getting old” can have it’s perks.
It’s okay to speak your mind
In my twenties I feel like I was learning to establish myself…as a wife, a mom and in my career. I didn’t often speak up when something happened that I didn’t like. I wasn’t vocal about issues I cared about for fear of being ridiculed. I never said no when it came to doing extra at any of my jobs. I can feel myself kissing all of that goodbye in my thirties- peace out self consciousness! I’ve figured out (I think) how to handle this parenting thing (most days). I have been in my career for close to ten years and feel like I can start to focus my time on those projects that I truly care about. And my husband and I seem to have more of a grasp on the ever slight balance of being a mom/dad while remaining husband/wife. We’ve figured out what works for us through endless communication. We know when we need a date night to reconnect or an escape to the woods so we don’t kill each other. Speaking your mind as you get older almost seems like a right of passage- you’ve put in your time and you deserve it! YOLO!
Family over friends
One thing that becomes more evident as you get older is the importance of family. In your twenties it was all about friends. Making them, having more of them, going out with them. As you become more settled in your thirties and (possibly) start a family of your own, you realize the importance of those that have always been there for you from the start. Friends come and go, family is forever.
Stability and predictability
Your twenties can seem scary and unstable. Where will the start of your career take you? Will you ever find a spouse? Do you even WANT a spouse? Should you settle down in your hometown or venture out and become a world traveler? As you enter your thirties and your life becomes more stable, you will find a sometimes mundane but ever so peaceful rhythm of life. Wake up, shower, coffee, kids dressed, fly out the door, breakfast in the car, work, run the kids to dance, dinner, dishes, bath, bed and repeat. Although life can seem so predictable most days, I remind myself that this life is the one I have dreamed of and I wouldn’t trade it for the world- piles of laundry and all.
We’ve all been there. Your first “real” paycheck. You rush to the mall and buy a new wardrobe, then to the bar to celebrate with friends and what the hell- buy a new car while you’re at it. Before you know it your paycheck is gone and it’s still a week and a half to payday. You’re screwed. Figuring out the world of budgeting as a twenty-something can be stressful (and something that I wish was taught more in high schools) Figuring out your budgeting style and what works for you gets easier as you get older and your income and bills become more stable. You pay more attention to things like how much you need to save for a rainy day, how much you should put into retirement and how much that leaves you with to go to the bar (just kidding, you won’t have time for that when you’re thirty!)
No More Cliques
No more drama for this mama! As you go through life your groups of friends change. Your college friends, your work friends…and of course once you have kids there is your mom posse. Your friendships become more established and now that you are in your thirties you are too busy with loads of laundry, piles of dishes and running kids from point A to point B- no one has time for cliques! Save that drama for another mama. You might find yourself having fewer friends in your thirties, but I will bet you that fewer friends = better friends. Quality over quantity folks.
I often think back to college when my husband and I literally scraped up enough change out of the bottom of his backpack one day to have enough to share a grilled cheese from Halo Burger for lunch. And the anxiety of sitting through interviews halfway across the state and OUT of state- not knowing where we would end up. And I wonder how we did it and where in the world time went. And then I thank GOD those times have passed and I promise myself I will never complain about my sometimes mundane, usually predictable, always eventful life in my thirties.