Life Is Actually So Much Better In Your Thirties And I'll Tell You Why

I am in my mid-thirties, and I am here for it. Mostly.

When you're in your twenties, your thirties just sound so... old.

At 29, you might even have a little mid-life crisis as you head into a new decade (I know I definitely did).

And then you get there. And, actually, nothing has changed for the worse. In fact... could it even be better?

I’ll be straight up: I’m still not totally sold on the concept of getting older.

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But I am warming up to the idea (probs a good thing, considering I've got zero say in the matter), because it turns out there are quite a few reasons to like your thirties that I was totally unprepared for.

1. There are fewer f**ks to give

Throughout my teens and well into my twenties, I cared SO much about what people thought of me. Did I sound smart? Was I being cool, or coming off as a weirdo? Do people like me? And you know what? It does still matter. Anyone who says it doesn't matter at all is probably lying. But somewhere along the way, it occurred to me that most people are, in fact, so busy thinking about themselves that they actually aren’t thinking about me (or anyone else, for that matter) AT ALL.

When you stop caring what people think of you (for the most part), that's when you can let go and just have fun. These days I’m quite happy to give a very heart-felt "thank u, next" to anyone who doesn’t feel like taking me as I am. No hate; in fact, no feeling at all. I just… don’t care that much anymore.

2. "NO" hits the top of your vocab list (and it feels good)

Ever bent over backwards to do shit for other people just because you feel like you have to say yes? Me too -- and most people, I'd guess (especially women -- sorry, guys, it's a thing). Frankly, saying no is hard. Especially when you're still in the headspace of valuing others' time above your own.

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But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered there's so much power in saying no and -- oh! – it’s a seriously beautiful thing, because saying no to someone else's demands usually means saying yes to yourself. And when you've no f**ks left to give (see point 1), you can stop worrying about what's best for others and start putting your own needs at the top of your to-do list, minus the guilt or false sense of obligation. Winning.

Not today, sir...
3. FOMO loosens its grip

There’s nothing like the Fear Of Missing Out to get you off the couch on a miserable, rainy, cold night when you really do NOT want to go outside, only to get to the party to realise it’s not a vibe AT ALL (it’s bloody freezing outside, did you really think it would be?) and you probably should’ve stayed wrapped in a doona with your Uber Eats app at the ready.

Walking into the party like...

This is a lesson I had to learn repeatedly, apparently, until I got to my thirties and realised that just plain old not going was, in fact, a very viable option. (In defence of my 20-something self, Netflix didn’t exist in Australia until I was 31, so the Joy Of Missing Out was a little harder to come by. Actually, neither did Uber Eats. So maybe this is less a thirties thing and more just we have cooler shit now that makes us want to stay home more.)

4. Being healthier (even if not by choice…) is a good thing

The awesome thing about being in your twenties is you can pretty much eat and drink whatever you want and, thanks to a zippy little metabolism, it won’t come back to haunt your thighs. Enjoy it while it lasts because it is fun, junk food is delicious, and your metabolism is coming for you, whether you like it or not.

Don’t get me wrong: I still love pizza. I still live for burritos. I still eat a burger for lunch every Saturday after the gym. But I also try harder to choose nutritious food more often than not. And while I admit it started out as an attempt to dodge love handles, it actually turns out that eating right and being active makes you feel good (who knew?!). Good in a very different way to the way eating 10 doughnuts makes you feel good. Like 'I have energy to be alive' good, rather than a sugar high and associated dopamine hit that lasts for 10 minutes then leaves you broken on the couch, clutching your stomach seriously questioning your life choices. Which is... not good.

Actual CCTV footage of my Friday nights.
5. You might actually start to recognise your own value

Oh man. The self-loathing is real in your twenties. Well, it was for me ­and a bunch of other people I know. Going to work every day carrying a big, dirty bag of imposter syndrome. Hating on various body parts when you look in the mirror-slash-any reflective surface that catches your eye. Criticising yourself constantly ("Ugh, I'm such an idiot!" sound familiar?). Apologising for absolutely E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G...

We're all so busy making sure we don't gloat, big-note ourselves, or shout about our victories during and post high school that we forget to acknowledge anything we like about ourselves, along with the shit we're really damn good at.

For me, at 34, the self-doubt isn't 100 percent gone. (Look, if Michelle Obama still suffers from imposter syndrome, I can too, OK?) But if you don't cheer yourself on and show yourself a bit of love, you can't expect anyone else to -- and now that I back myself at least sometimes, self-doubt easier to squash when it gets all up in my face.

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