A Guidebook to the Reality of Turning 30

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Photo by Marina Lima on Unsplash

Remember that Jennifer Gardner moving, 13 Going on 30? Where a young Jenna Rink yearns to be a bit less gawky and a whole lot more “30, flirty, and thriving”

Because in Jenna’s mind, along with many other teens, being 30 means you have it all together. Your career is at the top of its game, you’re in the best shape of your life, and you’re an adult that has it all figured out.

Hah. Haha. Hahahaha.

Well, you’re either coming on thirty, past thirty, or right smack dab in the middle of journeying into the 3rd decade of your life.

Either way, one thing is for sure, life sure as hell doesn’t look like what we pictured it would be when we were younger.

But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. As long as we all know we’re not alone, that things will be ok, and that there’s a bit of a guiding hand along the way, we’ll all get through this reasonably unharmed.

It’s ok if your career isn’t what you pictured

How in the world were we supposed to know that majoring in Art History would end up not being useful in the real world — you know unless you ended up as a museum curator?

And if you tried to give marketing a shot and ended up not being able to care less about promoting a businesses’ overly priced sneaker line, no one blames you either.

We were fed a story that our 20’s are meant to build this illustrious career; where we climb the corporate ladder gallantly and effortlessly. That in no time, we have our office with a name card right smack in the middle of the door, so everyone knows we’re important.

But no one talks about the hard work and dedication that it takes to get to that point. No one tells you the sacrifices you have to make to dedicate your life to your career. And definitely, no one tells you about the obstacles that get in your way, depending on your gender or race.

Because, in reality, most of the time, effort and skill won’t necessarily take you to the right place. Some people are born with a bit more cards in their favor, and it’s not fair, but that’s just life.

Beating yourself up for not being in a position that you had imagined for yourself when you were younger is like self-inflicted punishment for circumstances you couldn’t control.

It’s ok if you think about quitting your job every day

Again, a lot of us are pressured into getting into a job straight out of college. Most of the time, we’ll be desperate to take just about any job.

But we’re not told to stop and think about whether our careers give us a sense of purpose. Whether we enjoy what we do or if we spend the day staring out the window wondering what it would be like to run away to Italy and live a life making pasta in the countryside.

If you absolutely hate your job, that’s completely ok. You did nothing wrong for giving a career a go and realizing it’s actually not for you. At least you recognize how you’re feeling, right? Awareness is the first step.

The next step is what’s most important, although most scary too. Considering to change careers is daunting. There’s no beating around the bush there.

Stepping into a new world when you thought your old one was right is destabilizing, to say the least. And feeling unstable is a deep-rooted fear a lot of people have.

But what’s scarier is staying in a job you detest, just because you’re scared to leave. Waking up 30 years down the road and realizing you lived a life half-lived, at a career you despised.

You won’t stay single forever

Being thirty and single is not a death sentence. It really shocks me that some people view age this way.

There are plenty of people falling in love at all stages of their life; they’re just not necessarily the ones posting about it all over Instagram or updating their relationship status on Facebook.

In fact, falling in love at an older age gives you more time to figure out what you want (and don’t want) from your life partner. You have time to date a bunch of wrongs so you can finally find the right one.

I’m sure there’s a statistic out there about the younger a couple gets married, the more likely they are to divorce. But I’m going to forgo coming off as a Debby Downer for young marriage because I know a lot of people it has worked out for.

Just know that love is found at all ages.

Adult acne is a thing; everyone lied to us

I am thoroughly convinced that adults — when I was a teen — all went to a massive seminar in which they learned to hide that adult acne is a reality.

Because for the life of me, I don’t remember a single “adult” ever having acne.

But what a clever rouse that was. Because when 26 came around, I started getting acne like an Act 2 of “Let’s destroy Kirstie’s Self Confidence.”

In actuality, though, a lot of people struggle with adult acne. Whether it be on their face, back, or butt, people are still popping zits at the ripe old age of thirty. Let’s try to stay hydrated, eat well, and know we all commiserate in this sad aspect of hormonal imbalance.

Friends are harder to find as you get older

Cherish the friends you have more than anything. Because when you get older, finding friends is not as easy.

People always talk about meeting new friends in places like a coffee shop or yoga class. I wonder if anyone has ever taken a yoga class though — at least in LA. People are so intensely focused on their zen that I actually think they’re evading their zen even further.

People typically have a lot to do and aren’t too keen on wanting to meet new people when they’re out and about. Plus, once you’re past your mid-20’s, you have to start worrying about people having kids. And it’s not easy relating to people with kids when you’re not even close to having any of your own.

So cherish the friends that are still in your life.

Make an effort to let them know how much they mean to you. Give them a call. Schedule a brunch. Re-post embarrassing college photos of them on your Insta stories. Just let them know you care.

Eating frozen food almost every day is perfectly ok

And hey, if it’s organic, what’s the harm really?

To be frank, I don’t like to cook. It takes a long time and I’m too impatient to let anything sautee at a heat less than the hottest my burner will go.

If you’re busy building your career, hitting the gym after work, or simply just don’t like to cook, there’s nothing wrong with grabbing frozen food out of the fridge most nights. And nowadays, with places like Trader Joes, the frozen options are relatively good too.

I see no shame in enjoying an easily made, 10-minute meal of cauliflower gnocchi for dinner.

It’s never too late to pivot

I’ve done a lot of pivoting in my life. I am the queen of pivoting.

In the past year, I’ve gone from technical recruiter to applying to a Masters psychology program to applying to a Masters Nutrition program to wanting to be a nutrition writer to being a general writer to deciding to write about mental health and relationships.

Pivoting is not necessarily a bad thing. You’re learning what it is you do and don’t like.

And you can apply this not just to your work but to the way you eat, your exercise routine, deciding where to live, etc.

Just know to make little changes here and there, no matter the frequency, is perfectly ok.

It’s never too late to do a complete 180

And it’s also completely ok to change your life completely.

I am reading more and more about people that leave their careers as lawyers to become a fitness instructor. Or friends that packed up everything and moved to Germany.

For some reason, people think these kinds of significant changes are reserved solely for those that are physically young, not just young at heart. Well, I’m here to tell you they’re wrong.

You’re never too young to make a drastic change. Hell, the sooner, the better. You don’t want to end up regretting not doing something in your life that your soul ached to do.

30 is the new 20

Contrary to popular belief, thirty is where it’s at.

Thirty is a time where we’ve gotten to know ourselves well. Thirty is a time where we have a renewed sense of adventure. Thirty exudes sophistication in an adulty sense that young people strive to be.

Thirty is the new twenty, and you have not passed your prime years. You’re only just beginning them.

So let go of all those unreasonable expectations you’ve held onto until now. Release yourself of pressures of being someone other than you’re authentic self.

Embrace the period of your life that’s going to be absolutely exceptional.

Written by

Dating, relationship, and self-love writer. Anxious with dating? >> https://kirstietaylor.substack.com // IG: @WordsWithKirstie // info@kirstietaylor.com //

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