Half way through birthday week already; but don’t worry, the blog-a-bration will continue right through Sunday!
Today, a lovely friend of mine has so graciously agreed to shed a little light, offer a little perspective about all the greatness she has experienced in her 30s. (side note: I am not one of those “omg 30 is so old” kind of gals. I’m pumped. I’m entering cougar territory, y’all!!) I’ve “known” Carly for a few years now, meeting briefly only once 3 summers ago when she was in Peterborough for the Mann Cup. Through tweets, facebook creeping, and many texts, Carly has become a great sounding board for my lacrosse writing/involvement and I’ve (hopefully) encouraged her to cut out negative people from her social media life once and for all. In her spare time, my lovely westcoaster is social media manager for WLA Lacrosse (summer league out in BC) and is currently on the quest to blog daily for NaBloPoMo (national blog posting month). If we’re not bonding over lacrosse (and a few of its shining stars) it’s The Mindy Project, New Girl, Hart of Dixie (haha, Carly, I just told everyone you watch it, too!!), travel, or our complete opposite taste in men. You can follow Carly’s adventures on twitter or through her blog. Show her the kind of love she’s showed me.
Hugs, friend! Thanks for sharing!
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I approached my thirties at the time when Carrie Bradshaw and her crew were in their prime. While I didn’t idolize them, there is no denying the influence that they had on women my age during their run. They spoke brashly about sex, preferred their drinks strong and acted without regret. They were powerful, independent, strong and they had it all together. Like them or not, their women in their thirties brand was pretty damn appealing.
I was pumped when I turned thirty and insisted on the biggest birthday celebration I’ve ever been a part of. I took over a local bar for the night, poured on the bubbly (it was my champagne birthday, after all) and partied into the night with one hundred of my closest friends. Of course, since then, my thirties haven’t been all martinis, fabulous shoes and one-night stands as promised by SATC, but it’s been a pretty spectacular ride so far.
You know how, in your twenties, you’d look back at high school and shake your head at the choices you’d made? Well, in your thirties, you look back at your twenties with much the same wonder.
My thirties have been unique among my friends’ since my crowd had all traversed the weddings and babies terrain by the time we kissed our twenties goodbye and those who hadn’t made quick work of it shortly afterwards. Me, I carried on my way and celebrated my freedom with eating, sleeping and leaving town whenever I wanted.
Thirty is no different than any other birthday – things don’t change overnight – but it does make way for some changes that are mostly inevitable. Married or single, parent or solo, gay or straight, almost all of my friends have experienced the same kind of transitions after they departed their twenties.
Here are the highlights.
Giving up on knowing it all. In your twenties, you undoubtedly come up with a few moral beliefs and/or solutions to global issues that you staunchly believe and vehemently defend. On these ideas, there is no need to argue because you see so much clearer than everyone else and you pity the people who are so brainwashed or beaten down to think otherwise. Newsflash: in your thirties, you’ll become those people and you’ll realize it wasn’t out of any weakness that they’d given up your same thinking, it was because they actually knew better. By that age, they’d come to realize how much more grey there is in the world and that black and white is for penguins.
No more sweating the small stuff. (Okay, maybe just not as much.) Oh, perspective. That’s a wonderful gift of your third decade. Where in your twenties you feel the need to know what is right and prove everything that isn’t wrong, in your thirties, you’ll shed the need to even bother with the small stuff. Sometimes things just are and you’ll learn a lot more about what it means to pick your battles. (You’ll also get over the need to battle as much, period.)
The wait until you get older is over! Your twenties is likely the last decade when you have to deal with people telling you sooooo condescendingly, “wait until you get older.” When you hit thirty, you’re mostly there. Unless someone is warning you about menopause or old age pension, you’ve got enough life experience behind you that they’ll trust that you have a handle on career, love, family life. Don’t get me wrong, people are never going to stop giving you advice – solicited or not – they’re just going to quit thinking that you’re too naïve to handle your decisions. (Bonus: you’ll learn that they probably weren’t really being condescending in the first place, it just seemed that way to your hyperactive twenty-something ego.)
More respect. I’d almost forgotten about how much of a boost my credibility received as a result of hitting The Big Three-Oh. While out at a function recently, a woman to whom I was just introduced mistook me for someone in her twenties. When I corrected her on my actual age, her interaction with me immediately changed. I could tell that instantly she was much more interested in what I had to say and took seriously my contributions to the conversation. (I’m not going to lie, I liked the part where she thought I was 25, but I liked the part where she respected me better.)
Contentment and self-acceptance. Boy/girlfriends will come and go and, let’s be realistic, some friends will, too. Thirty is the decade when you come to terms with that and learn that life goes on. You’ll start to feel way more confident in your decisions and abilities and much more satisfied with you have become.
Reorganized priorities. Gawd. The things you thought were important back in the day. This isn’t to say that you’ll abandon frivolous hobbies and collections in your thirties, you’ll just better learn how and where they fit into your life. You’ll start to grow the things you like in your life and avoid the things you don’t. The future will get a lot more important when you realize that you’re living the first real future you ever projected. As Allison discovered, your first ever five-year plan has likely expired and that’ll put things into perspective real fast. Spoiler alert: A friend just warned me that this gets even more intense when forty hits. I’ll get back to you in about 418 days or so.
If I’ve learned anything, it’s that life is made better with growth and change. Every stage has its ups and downs, but it just keeps getting better. Enjoy the time while you’ve got it and whatever stage you’re at – life is beautiful, live it.