If in your 20s, you were bold, unabashed, and—let’s admit—a tad too cocky, your 30s are here to ground you, make you more in tune with reality. Most people haven’t figured everything out before the big 3-0, but you can start by being open to these changes to make the best out of your 30s.
1. Be more of yourself.
You’re done spending the past two decades proving yourself to your parents, teachers, peers, and bosses. You no longer feel the need to be “one of them,” or be “different,” or be “daring” to succeed in life. Now’s the time you prove things to yourself. It’s all you, baby.
2. Have clear goals.
Know what is important in your life. Avoid distractions and don’t let the little things pile up. Your cognitive space is as real as the physical one. Work toward achieving your goal consistently every day, every year, and every decade.
3. Be bored with boredom.
Apathy may have been a cool look in your teenage years to your early 20s, but now it’s just wasteful. It means you’re not putting your energy where your passion is. You’ll know you’ve found your true calling by the burning desire to do it, do it well, and for the rest of your life. If you haven’t found this yet, keep discovering things until you finally strike gold.
4. Welcome career crossovers.
No one said you have to stay on the same path you chose as a teenager. Two decades' worth of real-world experience is bound to change you. If you’re not satisfied with the way things are, shake things up a little. Or a lot. But don’t waste the next 10 years trying to stifle your desire for a new career. Experiment with a passion project or a sideline. You’re never too old to try.
5. Cut the drama.
Don’t let your old weepy self pull you back to the dark ages. With all the responsibilities of someone having climbed the corporate-social ladder, you ain’t got time for that. Step back and look at the bigger picture. Ask yourself if it will matter in five years or so. Chances are, all the drama won’t.
6. Focus on the present.
Insurance doesn’t have to be depressing. Look at it as an investment. It can give you the freedom to live a full life without having to worry about suddenly falling ill while traveling, or leaving your family in the cold, should anything happen to you.
7. Stop doubting yourself.
So what if you encounter a dead end? The reason you had to go through your 20s was so you’d know how to maneuver around them. If self-doubt has stalled you long enough from doing what you want, it has got to go.
8. Dedicate your time to better people.
Your 20s taught you that there are a lot of abusive relationships involving well-meaning people. Your 30s can teach you that even if you let them go, you won’t have a shortage of friends to help you on your life path.
9. Enjoy the process of change.
Because growth is change, getting older almost always involves uncertainty. The more you open yourself up to the possibilities before you, even the ones you don’t expect, the better off you’ll be.
Despite the existential crisis, they say that your 30s will be the best time of your life, with the right balance of freedom and responsibility. Maybe it’s just a wiser, more manageable version of your 20s. The decisions don’t get easier but it’s a good thing you have 30 years of experience to help you. Plant the seed, water it with unwavering dedication, and never look back. As they say, the days are long, but the decades are short.