When I was younger, not even 20, someone told me that your 30s are the best years of your life. At the time, I thought it was kind of a random thing to say. Now, as someone in my late 30s, I think I can officially confirm it as true!
Like most people, I slightly dreaded turning 30 when I was in my late 20s. It seemed kind of scary to me, though looking back I’m not sure why. I guess it was just officially admitting to myself that I wasn’t super young anymore. Or maybe it was the realization that the clock was going to keep ticking, for better or for worse, my whole life. That even though I couldn’t even imagine being 30 just a few years before, that it was really happening. I was "getting old." Of course, I say that somewhat sarcastically.
Honestly, I think my fears were pretty mild compared to some of my friends. Some people I know get truly panicked over the big 3-0.
After the birthday came and went, my whole perspective changed. I realized that not much had changed. I still had all the same options for what I could wear or do or who I could be that I had when I was 28 … the only limitations were the ones I gave myself.
I have loved my 30s and they have definitely been even better than my 20s! One thing that changed was my confidence. I don’t know what else to credit it to besides just being alive longer, but I am so much more confident than I was in my 20s. I used to have a horrible fear of public speaking, like I actually cried when giving a speech to run for class president in elementary school. And by high school I avoided all public speaking like the plague. I quit choir the first day of my freshman year when I saw you had to sing in front of the class (for, like, two seconds—haha). I remember feeling sick to my stomach anytime I had to read aloud in class.
And that type of fear continued all through my 20s. As my career progressed, I found myself in more and more situations where basic public speaking was expected of me—sometimes I did OK and was so proud, sometimes I bombed so hard I can barely even relive the stories in my mind.
But something really changed in my 30s and after some practice, lowering my expectations a bit and embracing a more lighthearted attitude, I can happily say I no longer had a major fear surrounding public speaking. In fact, the past few times I have done it I actually had fun!
Another big change is my confidence about my appearance. When I was younger, I would use tons of Photoshop and I was never happy enough with how I looked. Looking back, of course, I see that my self esteem was what needed fixing—not my appearance. I can’t change how I felt about myself all those years, but I can moving forward. It feels so good to just be OK with myself. Being older, I also feel mature enough to not compare myself to other women, at least most of the time. Nobody’s perfect! I can see now that comparison does nothing positive.
Since being over 30, I’ve come to realize how lucky I am in so many ways. Instead of focusing on what I don’t have, I focus more on what I do have. There is so much happiness in that simple mindset shift!
I’m not scared of turning 40! It feels so good to be free of that fear. Fearing a birthday is a really sad fear if you think about it, because that birthday will come whether you are sad or celebrating. I’m going to be celebrating EVERY birthday for the rest of my life!
I hope someone reading this post can feel good hearing from me, your "older and wiser" friend. I promise you, being in your 30s is amazing! I highly recommend it. Haha xx. Elsie