Turning 30 is a big milestone in life. Our society basically says that once you’ve finished your third decade of life, you become a true grown-up. You’re no longer a young adult with bad finances and sneakers – you’re a responsible, mature adult with expensive shoes. But sadly this process is never as easy as it looks. None of us wake up on our 30th birthdays with a new-found sense of adulthood – in fact, it’s much more likely that we will wake up with a hangover from celebrating with our besties the night before. It seems like the journey to adulthood is a slow and mysterious one, but there are definitely a few lessons that every woman should learn by the time she turns 30. Here is our guide to the 15 major life lessons you need to know before you turn 30. We can’t guarantee that these lessons will make you more mature, but they will make you happy and wise.
15 Don't Compare Yourself To Others
Lots of women spend their 20s comparing themselves to their friends and female celebrities... and find themselves lacking. They worry that they're not pretty enough, or that they don’t earn enough, or that they aren’t funny enough. Now is the time to stop comparing yourself to others. It is a vicious cycle, as there are always going to be people who are more successful than you in one way. Remember that you are probably more successful than they are in other ways – maybe you have perfect skin or an amazing smile. It's all about perspective – for all you know, the other girl could be jealous of your own traits. It’s time to start embracing the things that you like about yourself, rather than comparing yourself to others. Comparing yourself to others won’t make you richer or prettier – but if you embrace your best traits, you are more likely to be happy and successful.
14 How To Say No
No one likes saying no to other people, but it's a really important life skill. You may have spent most of your twenties covering shifts for co-workers and doing favors for friends, but now it is time to start putting yourself first. This doesn’t mean you can’t help other people, it just means that you are your number one priority. If someone asks you to cover their shift at work and you don’t want to, don’t feel like you have to say yes. Your time is just as valuable and you don’t have to make up an excuse like “I’m picking my friend up from the airport tomorrow.” Just say “I’m sorry, I can’t – I was really looking forward to my day off.” Happiness starts with you, and it can be stressful feeling like you have to please everyone. Remember that you need to please yourself first.
13 How To Eat Healthy
Ramen noodles are great. They're super cheap, they take less than five minutes to cook, and they taste good (in a plain, rubbery sort of way). However, by the time you turn 30, you should be trying to eat healthily. That’s right – it’s time to swap the McDonalds for the quinoa. We only get one body, and age can be a real downer (literally -- everything is slowly going south). Make sure you look after yours by teaching yourself how to cook a few delicious and healthy meals. Don’t worry -- if you don’t like salads, you don’t have to force yourself to eat them. Invest in a healthy cookbook and you’ll see that there are loads of tasty and healthy recipes out there. Before you know it, you’ll basically be Nigella in the kitchen – or at least you’ll be able to cook something tasty for your friends next time they come over.
12 You Need To Maintain Your Close Friendships
Friends come and go, and that's a totally normal part of life. However, some friends are just too special to let slide, and you should try your best to hold on to them for the rest of your life. If you ask an elderly person what was the most important thing in their life, they're probably not going to say their career or bank account. They're going to say the people they had the good fortune of loving. Your best friends have been with you through thick and thin, and together you have shared some amazing experiences. Make the effort to spend time with your friends, as they could be the best friendships of your life. Often people let other things get in the way, such as a busy schedule or work. In the end, none of those things will be as important as true friendship.
11 Bad Friendships Will Hold You Back
Most people have had a few bad friends in their time. From gossipers to the self-obsessed, the world is full of difficult, toxic people. You definitely have a few awesome friends who are there for you no matter what -- they celebrate with you when you succeed and they sympathize with you when you fail. It’s also likely that you have one or two friends who don’t really support you, or even make any effort to talk to you. These people hold you back without meaning to; they make you worry about small, insignificant things when you could be feeling happy and stress-free. It is easy to get caught up in toxic people’s drama, but you should be focusing on your own goals and ambitions. As you turn 30, it is time to get rid of those friendships that make you feel down about yourself. You won’t regret it!
10 Saving Money Is Important
When you get your first ever paycheck, it feels like so much money… and then rent, food and bills happen. After all of that has gone out, the small amount of money left is yours – time to buy wine and shoes! For young people saving isn’t always a big priority. It can be tough when you only earn minimum wage, but it is important to become financially secure by your late twenties. You want to be financially secure by 30 – even if that is just a hundred dollars in a savings account. Being bad with money might not seem serious when you’re younger, but at some point, you will need to retire – and before that, buy a house. If you want to start saving but you don’t know where to start, try saving 10%-20% of each paycheck. The money really adds up – you’ll be able to get a beautiful house in no time!
9 Not Everyone Is Sane And Rational
This one may seem obvious, but so many people find themselves making excuses for the people in their life who behave irrationally. Everyone has had a bad day and taken it out on someone else – but normally they will apologize after. If you have people in your life who regularly do crazy, irrational things, then it is very likely that they are crazy and irrational. You don’t have to excuse or explain this behavior for them - instead, they should explain their behavior to you. If you have been tearing your hair out over someone who continuously behaves irrationally, cut them out of your life. You don’t need that negativity in your life – no one does! No one should have someone in their life who just makes them feel stressed out, worried or angry. It isn’t your job to fix other people, it's their job. Focus on making yourself happy.
8 Success Takes A Long Time
When you first become an adult, you can feel super pressured to achieve everything really quickly. You feel pressure to plan out your life, your career, to experience life to the fullest, to traveling and going out every weekend. It can be pretty overwhelming, and it's really difficult to keep up. That pressure? Not that useful. So it's time to start ignoring it. You don’t need to plan your whole life out yet. Slow down and enjoy life as it happens, without worrying or stressing. You don’t need to figure out your life’s purpose overnight – in fact, you might not figure it out until you’re in your 70s, and that is just fine. Take time to weigh up your options. Look out for great opportunities but don’t worry if they are not available yet. Don’t let your life pass you by – take the time to enjoy every hour.
7 You Can Learn From Negative Situations
You have already had bad experiences, and (bad news - sorry!) you’re going to have more. Life has lots of ups and downs, and the only thing that really matters is how you deal with these things. A bad experience may not be fun, but it gives you the chance to learn and grow as a person. We learn patience, compassion, and empathy through tough experiences, and these personality traits are super important. If you make a mistake, admit it and try to learn from it. No-one likes a know-it-all. Know-it-alls are universally annoying to everyone else, and they never learn from their mistakes because they aren’t willing to. People try to explain to know-it-alls why they went wrong, but they won’t listen to reason, and so they continue to go through negative experiences. Often they wonder why – but they don’t realize it is their own fault! No one is perfect, but every experience can make you a better person (if you let it).
6 Credit Cards Can Be Dangerous
You probably found yourself with a credit card in college, and back then it seemed super exciting, plus there was the fact that all your friends had one. Over time, you started withdrawing more and more cash, and before you knew it, you were in a huge pile of credit card debt. Years later, you’re either still paying it off or you’ve finally finished paying it off. The interest rates alone gave you an extra year of debt to pay off, and that caused you some serious stress. You’ve had people tell you for years that getting into credit card debt was a dumb idea, and now you know. Listen to the boring advice; go into your 30s with a clean slate, and don’t let yourself get into credit card debt. Sure, it’s boring – but at least it means that you don’t have to live with financial stress.
5 Love Is A Choice
Infatuation isn't a choice. That initial, pulse-quickening lust you feel isn't a choice. The passion you feel when you're with that one guy isn't a choice. But long-term love? Yeah, that's definitely a choice. You choose how you deal with being hurt and feeling betrayed, you choose to forgive your partner even when they don't say sorry, and you choose to believe that your partner will change (even when it's super obvious that they won't). We choose to date people who we wish would change. We choose to stay when we know we should walk away. Your love life is a decision that you make, so make sure that you make the best decisions. Make the decision to be with someone who makes you happy. Make the decision to find someone who genuinely makes you happy. Make the decision to be single if you aren’t ready for a relationship. It is always your choice.
4 Not Everything Works Out
Some people are great planners and plan out every little aspect of their lives, from their careers to their love lives. And yet, somehow, they don’t end up getting everything they want. No matter how hard you try, sometimes things won’t work out like you wanted them to. It is important to be okay with the fact that you can’t fully control your life. Embrace the fact that life is random and interesting – after all, sometimes the best opportunities are unexpected. One path may close, but another one will open. Your desires will change as you grow and evolve as a person; think about your dream job as a 5-year-old. Is it the same as your dream job now? Unlikely – but that doesn’t make your new dreams any less important. Focus on the things that you can control, and work on them to make sure you have a happy life.
3 You Can Do Whatever You Want
You're almost 30, and so far in life, you've done a lot of stuff. You've learned to walk, learned a language, learned to write, gone through years (and years!) of school, worked a part-time then a full-time job, made friends and probably fallen in love (at least once). Look at all of the amazing things you've accomplished! You're super talented and you can do whatever you want. Just imagine how much you can accomplish in the next 30 years. Pursue your dreams and ambitions and don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. Learn from your failures and pick yourself back up again. Keep trying and learning from your mistakes. Maybe it will take years for you to land your dream job, but you have years. Invest time into achieving your goals, and you will achieve them.
2 Money Isn't The Most Important Thing
Yeah, money is pretty awesome and helps you to get the necessities like water, food and shelter, and it can even get you some pretty cool extras, like a pink shiny iPhone or a new flat screen TV. But it isn’t the most important thing in your life – far from it. Lots of people live on very little money, but their lives are filled with laughter and joy. On the other hand, there are many rich people who live lonely and miserable lives. Money can’t fix a broken relationship, nor can it find your friends. As the old phrase goes, money can’t buy you happiness. It can help, but so can lots of other things like friends and family, good health, even a funny video on Youtube. Of course, it is important to have savings and a job that pays the bills, but your happiness should still be the number one priority.
1 You're Doing A Good Job
Even if you don’t think that you are, you are probably doing better than you think. It's totally normal to get stressed and to worry about how well you are doing. Remind yourself that you are trying hard. You will still make mistakes and go through difficult situations, but you will learn from your mistakes and move on. That is progress, not failure. Life is an unpredictable and wild roller coaster, and you are doing everything you can to enjoy that ride. You will succeed in life, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now. No one has everything figured out by 30, and that is half the fun of life. You will work around life, and you will make life work for you. So long as you try to be happy, you will find that your life is unforgettable, interesting, exciting, and fun. Now get out there and enjoy yourself!