Ah, 30: that shiny age when society expects you to have everything figured out—relationships, work/life balance, friendships, your signature drink, everything. While I’ve heard many women say that your 30s are the best decade, a time when you feel the most confident and self-assured, the journey to it feels like the complete opposite. As I prepare to enter the last year of my 20s, I couldn’t help but notice how the second season of Hulu’s whimsical comedy series Dollface perfectly illustrates the insanity that is turning 30.
Season one saw Jules (Kat Dennings), fresh off a breakup, reconnecting with her closest friends from college, Madison (Brenda Song) and Stella (Shay Mitchell), and the trio forging a new friendship with Jules’ quirky coworker Izzy (Esther Povitsky). Now in a “post-pandemic” world, the foursome is forced to face the dreadful music: They’re getting older and still aren’t quite sure what comes next. Or even how to get there. Or if they will get there. While everything proves to be alright in the end, there are a lot of tears, second-guessing, and changes along the way. Here are the most relatable things that happen on the road to 30, as seen in season two of Dollface.
You’re suddenly very aware of your single status
While some of us soon-to-be 30-year-olds are single and still eating Cup Noodles for dinner in pajamas like Jules and Madison in episode one, others are running successful decal (i.e. sticker) businesses, having date nights with partners, and raising children in between Zoom meetings—yes, even that girl in your dorm who never wore shower shoes. Instant FOMO.
Your friendships start to change
Getting older doesn’t automatically mean growing apart from your best friends, but hey, it happens. As the Cat Lady (Beth Grant) tells Jules as she drives a luggage cart through a whimsical airport, you won’t always figure out where you’re meant to be if you worry too much about not leaving your friends behind. Jules and Madison experience this very growing pain as the former’s career takes off and the latter’s hits a snag. They each have to learn how to communicate better and to stop assuming that they know what’s best for the other.
You may self-sabotage
In season one, Izzy’s journey was all about finding herself. She stopped hanging with the snobby clique of women at work, started going by her actual name (instead of the name she used to fit in with said clique), and embraced her quirkiness. Everything seems to be sunshine and roses for her in season two, as she’s now dating a guy who adores her. But looming beneath the surface of her smile is insecurity abound. She starts to find problems with her personality and relationship, much to the confusion of her friends and boyfriend. Anyone who’s ever had too many good things going for them at once has questioned if it’s just dumb luck or if they’re even worthy of good things. And the answer is yes. It’s always yes.
You realize that it’s time to move on from dead-end relationships
Yes, even the ones that look good on paper, the ones that feel comfortable, and the ones that seem like they would be perfect if only [insert random things] didn’t keep getting in the way. Relationships are hard and take work, but no one should be the only one working to make things work, as Jules was with her love interest Wes, who just couldn’t move on from his ex despite saying he wanted to. Yet another red flag.
You become sexually frustrated and experience a dry spell
Oh, wait—is this just me and Jules? Consider this another check mark beside that point on becoming very aware of just how single you are. Following a big breakup in your late 20s, the desire to put oneself out there is pretty much nonexistent, even if simultaneously you’re also ready to settle down. Like, have you been on dating apps lately? A nightmare. This means a lot of lonely, sexless nights. And as Jules points out to her friends: Going solo isn’t always enough.
You struggle just to be you
Party girl Stella is fresh off year one of her Wharton MBA and struggles to settle into her prestigious finance internships. Read: It was tragically dull and full of toxic male energy. After work one day, she makes her way to the bar across the street and meets the owner Liv, who soon becomes her business partner and love interest. Liv is a bar owner and mom and pretty much has her ish together. Stella? Still figuring it out. Desperately trying to keep up with Liv, Stella struggles to balance the person she’s been with the person she wants to be with the person she actually is. Relatable.
You realize you have to let go of plans
Vision boards: They can be fun to make, and who doesn’t love visualizing and manifesting their goals? The problem comes when we become so attached to those goals and put insurmountable pressure on ourselves to achieve them. Type-A Madison is the only one laid off from her job during the pandemic. She struggles with what to do next, as she’s been living her life according to the plan she made years ago. It’s the the typical overachiever plan: making the 30 under 30 list, marriage, house with the white picket fence, kids. After 10 episodes of doing anything she can to make this her reality before her birthday, she finally burns her vision board. As a fellow planner, I have to constantly remind myself that I’ve changed in the nearly 30 years I’ve been alive. And it’s completely normal for those plans I made when I was younger to change too.
You realize that the only way to win the game is to get in the game
By game, I mean life. Speaking of vision boards, Jules’ was the only one to not have a single thing on it—well, except for a cluster of doodled penises. Funny! For the longest time, Jules has just been existing. It’s a protection mechanism. You make no plans; you don’t have to be disappointed when they don’t work out. You take no risks; there’s no chance of falling flat on your face. Winning! But no, it’s not. There’s no award for playing life safe on the sidelines, and regret sounds 10 times worse than accepting failure, IMO. What better time to fail than in the final years of your 20s? Because something tells me that society is really expecting me to have it together by 40.