My 20s vs 30s was a time for significant personal growth. I am a truly happier person because I stopped caring about these 5 things.
As a kid, when we played “house” we were always in our 20s. We pretended like we were veterinarians, who drove fancy cars, and lived in big-city apartments.
The 20s were the epitome of cool and 30s just sounded so…old.
To me, when you entered your 30s you were cloaked with mom jeans and perms, and a crazy night out consisted of eating cheese at a Tupperware party (Yeah, I was born in the 80s if you couldn’t tell).
I think this is why I was filled with anxiety and strange emotions on the night of my 30th birthday.
I felt like I was crossing a weird imaginary line from my youth to my “senior” years.
If I only knew the emotional and mental growth I would experience in between my 20s and 30s would be wonderful and refreshing.
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20s vs 30s: 5 Things I No Longer Care About
The problem with the 20s is that you are thrown into an adult world, but your brain is still very much NOT adult.
Academics from Cambridge University say the changes in the brain and nervous system continue to occur through the late 20s, meaning the average person doesn’t hit maturity until they reach 30 or beyond.
One particular study found that chess players become most successful after they turn 30, basically showing that problem solving skills are still developing after the 20s.
Another study found people don’t feel truly happy until the age of 33.
Experience and brain power combine, leaving you with energy for life and knowledge of how things really work.
I found happiness when I stopped worrying about things that used to keep me up at night.
These are 5 things I cared about in my 20s that I no longer care about in my 30s:
1) Cellulite and Chunky Thighs
Cellulite plagued the better half of my life.
No diet, work-out plan, or over-priced cream put a dent in my dimpled thighs.
Looking back, I was a hot young thing in my 20s, but I would look at my legs in the mirror with disgust.
Although my thighs only became more dimpled as I birthed three kids, my cares seemed to plummet.
My husband didn’t mind the extra jiggle, so why should I?
When I see another woman rocking short shorts and loving her body, I am inspired, not disgusted.
I am going to rock my jean shorts and shake my thang at the pool – and if you don’t like it then look away.
What are some other differences in your 20s vs 30s? Comment below!
2) Climbing the Corporate Ladder
I spent my late 20s complaining that I couldn’t handle everything life was throwing at me – WHILE I was simultaneously applying for positions that required more traveling, longer hours, and increased responsibility.
When I started to have kids, I commonly felt overwhelmed, soaked in mom guilt, and sleep deprived – and I still tried to look for ways to advance my career.
I can’t really say that I was ambitious. It was more that I felt like I was supposed to be climbing the corporate ladder and I was failing if I was stagnant.
I am not really sure what changed in my 30s, but my work-life balance priorities suddenly made sense to me.
We aren’t defined by our roles or status at work.
A career can help you both feel fulfilled and financially support your family – but there is no shame in being comfortable perching in one spot on that figurative ladder.
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3) Getting People to Like me
I spent a large portion of my 20s trying to be what I thought was a ‘likable person’.
I was agreeable, friendly, and never said no.
<Cue a serious case of People-people syndrome>
My 30s brought the realization that if people truly care about me, they will accept me for who I am- and I don’t have time for anyone else in my life.
As long as I have my few best friends and my family, my heart is full.
Click here for 5 Step Method to Stop Being a People-Pleaser
4) Holding onto Guilt
It happened. You can’t change it.
All we have is the present moment. Learn to live a mindful life and let go of things that you have no control over.
I spent my late 20s experiencing terrible mom guilt. If I cleaned the house, I felt guilty for not playing with my kids. If I played with my kids too long, I felt guilty they had to live in a messy house.
I tortured myself.
Then, I thought back about my childhood. As long as my sister’s and I had food in our bellies, were told “I love you”, and were allowed to play outside we were happy as can be.
Stop letting your brain make life more complicated than it has to be- just focus on the here and now.
Learn how to quiet your inner critic here.
5) Having Loads of Money
My husband and I were contemplating spending a handsome amount of money on a nice vacation, and he finally said “let’s go on the trip – money is only paper“.
Although we still laugh about that, I realized in my 30s how true that was.
Now, I am not saying to live outside of your means or neglect saving for your retirement – but stressing over money and having fancy things won’t get you anywhere.
The true meaning of ‘you only live once’ became abundantly clear to me. Focus on love, family, and experiences – not material processions.
Final Thoughts on my 20s vs 30s
I recently saw an old work-friend at a restaurant.
When I ran up to greet her, I noticed that she looked beautiful and skinny.
I came out and asked her if she lost a ton of weight. She burst out laughing, “No! I have been eating ice cream every night before bed and recently gained 20 lbs!”
This confirmed that no one notices when you gain weight. No one cares about your cellulite or promotions or mistakes you made in the past.
For many, your most beautiful attribute is the ability to talk to yourself like you are your own best friend.
Enjoy yourself, and enjoy your beautiful 30s.
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