Right before my 25th birthday, I remember standing in the middle of my kitchen, contemplating every life choice I’d ever made. Ironically, Lorde’s “Ribs” was playing in the background as I began to sob quietly so my boyfriend couldn’t hear me from the other room. I felt alone, unaccomplished, and weak; I wanted more out of my life, and I didn’t understand why I wasn’t where I wanted to be. As I look back now, I can’t help but want to shake my younger self. There were so many great things happening at that time, but I was so blinded by fear and anxiety about turning 30 that I couldn’t see all the opportunities that lay ahead.
Now that my 30-year-old crisis is only about a year and a half away, I plan on jumping into this new chapter with a new appreciation for life. (And maybe a few margaritas, but that’s for another post.) While things may feel a little different when I turn 29 (the end is near!), at this moment, I don’t plan on buying a Harley Davidson or chopping off all of my hair (yet). Instead, I decided to list a few reasons why I’m no longer afraid to let go of my 20s in hopes that I can convince others to join this pre-30 crisis party bus with me. If there’s any way to embrace the inevitable, it’s with a group of people who are experiencing the same thing.
Because let’s be real: Your 20s are uncomfortable.
Remember when you were 19 and you couldn’t wait for your birthday so you could officially say you were no longer a teenager? Shouldn’t we have that exact same feeling about our 20s? Being in your 20s basically means you’re a teenager with A LOT more responsibilities, and during this time of your life, you are most likely going to discover who you’ll eventually become.
While I’m not saying these experiences and thoughts won’t happen in your 30s, you’ll most likely have a clearer understanding of who you are as a person. The pain and lack of direction you might have experienced in your 20s allowed you to grow and discover your truest self. Yes, you may lose some friends or say “no” more often to things that don’t appease you, but this can actually help you enjoy life to its fullest.
Because growing old is a privilege.
Not to be a downer, but you’re not guaranteed to grow old. Each day is a gift, and the more you moan about turning another year older, the less likely you’ll be able to appreciate every minute you have on this earth.
Just try to think about turning 30 as a new chapter in your beautiful story. Write down what you hope to accomplish, what characteristics you would like to change, and how you wish to see yourself continue to grow. Hopefully, during these next 10 years, you’ll become wiser, more empathic, and more adventurous with your time, friends, family, and yourself (because you deserve some lovin’ too). Frankly, why waste your energy over something that you literally can’t avoid, when you can make the most out of the time you’ve got instead?
Because it’s actually not about the number.
Turning 30 likely isn’t the real reason you’re freaking out. It might be because this birthday plants a giant timestamp on your life, indicating how long you’ve been on this earth and compelling you to think about what you’ve actually done with that time. As you inch closer to turning 30, you might begin to rethink some choices and may even regret a few things, and it can be scary to process that.
Instead, remember that everything you have done had a purpose and brought you to this moment for a reason. While you may not recognize the reason right now, it’s important to be kind to yourself and proud of the person you’ve become. Life isn’t about how successful we become, whether we get married, or if we become rich; it’s about the intuitive drive we have within ourselves to make sure we live our happiest lives. And if we happen to gain any of the above, well, that’s a bonus!
Because we know we’re a hot mess and we’re okay with it.
In my early 20s, I tried to be perfect and do it all. I aimed to be viewed in a positive light and didn’t dare admit defeat in my issues or true desires. However, I’ve found that as 30 gets closer, all of that goes out the door. Do friends invite you to go out after 9 p.m. on a Friday night? Nope. Your S.O. discovers that you always cry during your favorite childhood movie (A Little Princess) while eating a tub of ice cream? Yep, don’t care. You eventually come to terms with these little nuances and learn to be comfortable and confident in your own skin.
There’s nothing wrong with owning up and admitting to your mistakes and failures. These “hot mess” moments allow you to embrace the human condition. Once you stop apologizing for who you are and begin reflecting inwards, you’ll eventually evolve into the person you’re meant to become.
Because you know you can handle anything that comes your way.
One of the perks of entering your 30s is knowing that everything will eventually be okay. Sometime during your 20s, you probably experienced loss or pain of some sort. You probably thought the world was going to end, but as time went on, you realized that the situation was either 1) a blessing in disguise or 2) a lesson that needed to be learned. Either way, you’ve probably gained enough life experiences to feel confident that you can handle almost anything that comes your way. Plus, you’ll continue to gain wisdom, learn to accept the things you cannot change, and show gratitude when things go right—and those are some of the best things about growing older.