If we are all so unique, why should the progression of our lives follow the same timeline?
It’s time to get past the outdated idea that you’re supposed to map out your entire life before you’re even old enough to buy a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon for all those beer pong games you played
last weekend in college. It’s hard enough to pick a college major, let alone make life-altering decisions when you’ve had very little life experience.
Your 20s are a time for self-discovery. And that path rarely occurs on a straight trajectory.
Yours may have looked more like this:
So it’s no surprise that reaching your “Dirty 30” might even feel like:
Mistakes are an essential and unavoidable part of life – so is change. The earlier we embrace the fact that mistakes do not equal failure so long as we apply the lessons learned, the less our lives will be driven by fear.
Here’s why you’re better equipped for life-altering decisions in your 30s:
You’re less likely to be influenced by others.
The days of fielding your dating/outfit/career choices by your five closest girlfriends should be over. That’s because you know the difference between seeking advice and needing approval, and you don’t need the latter.
So if you want to take a pottery class, learn French, or quit your job as a paralegal to turn your photography hobby into a career, you’ll decide based on what’s best for YOU (and your kids, if applicable) and not popular opinion.
You know who you are.
Therefore you begin to attract people and opportunities that truly complement you because you are radiating your true self into the world. Yay!
You’re more open-minded.
You’ve probably undergone one or more major life changes and survived, so you’re more open to new experiences and don’t freak out when things don’t go according to plan.
You made enough mistakes then to make wiser decisions now.
By now you’re probably more adept at taking calculated risks as opposed to careless ones because your brain has learned to think a few steps ahead.
Which leads me to my next point…
You’re like, mature and stuff.
Seriously. Your brain’s frontal lobe, which is the part of the brain that solves problems and anticipates consequences, does not reach full maturity until your mid-twenties. That explains SO much, right?
So that time you thought it was okay to slam Fernet shots the night before your 8am midterm and woke up feeling like death, let’s just pretend that wasn’t entirely your fault.
You’ve spent enough time in the workforce to gauge whether you’re on the right path.
Studies show two-thirds of lifetime wage growth happens during the first 10 years of your career. But if you haven’t spent your 20s climbing up the same corporate ladder, it’s not too late to reinvent yourself or further your education. Which leads me to my next point…
Universities are adjusting to the lifestyle of the working adult.
The prevalence of night classes, online courses, and satellite campuses are a reflection that the average college student is no longer a fresh-faced 18-year old living in a college dorm. Even well-known universities like UC Berkeley have satellite campuses in busy downtown areas so students can walk to class after work.
Unfortunately that doesn’t make college any more affordable.
But if you’re going to take out a student loan in your 30s, at least you have a better concept of debt than you did when you were fresh out of high school. And you’re less likely to waste your hard-earned money by changing your major multiple times like you may have done 10 years ago.
Solitude is less scary than it was in your 20s.
You’re more comfortable sitting in a coffee shop alone, or embracing your single-hood rather than crying over it. And that means your travel plans are not dependent on anyone else. Why wait for someone to travel with you when you can write your own travel itinerary? It’s not as scary as it sounds, I promise! If you’re like me, you’ll find it liberating.
Aside from my metabolism, I wouldn’t trade anything from my current life for what I had a decade ago. I’ve never been so sure of what I want and who I am.
Now that you know it’s not too late…go out and conquer the world you sexy, sophisticated beast!
But don’t forget to put on sunscreen first.
…and pack some healthy snacks.
…and set your out-of-office alert on your work email.
You are a grown up, after all 🙂