Yesterday we discussed secrets we keep from significant others, if you missed it): How old are you, and what has been your favorite and least favorite thing(s) from each decade you’ve been alive? I’m 40, and here are my favorites and least favorites:
So far, nine months into my 40s, my favorite thing about this decade is not giving too much of a shit about what people think (or don’t think) of me. I can’t say I completely don’t give a shit, but I’m pretty close to total indifference. One caveat is that I don’t want to embarrass or alienate my family within our community (school community, neighborhood, etc.), so there have been a few times when that’s prevented me from saying or doing something I probably would have otherwise. My least favorite thing about this age is the toll lack of sleep takes on my physical and emotional well-being. Not only do I get less sleep now than I did in my 20s and early 30s (thanks, kids!), but also I don’t recover from the sleep deprivation as well or as quickly as I did ten years ago (when lack of sleep simply meant I was probably out late having a good time vs. dealing with sleepless, crying children all night). I’m also not thrilled with the sun damage that’s showing up now after years of running around with only minimal sunblock (if I even remembered to wear any at all) and no hat. I’m trying to make up for it now (see photo above), but I’m afraid the damage has already been done.
My favorite thing about my 30s was creating my family (including my chosen family). I moved to New York, got married, and had both of my babies in my 30s. I also cemented my closest friendships and made a bunch of new, good friends when I settled in Brooklyn. My least favorite thing about my 30s was a lot of uncertainty around decisions I had to make. There were a lot of decisions! I hope I don’t have to make as many decisions in my 40s. I started my 30s uncertain about whether I should move to New York to be with Drew, then about whether and when to have a baby (and then, again, a second baby). And at the tail-end of my 30s, I felt a lot of uncertainty about whether we should stay in Brooklyn or hightail it out before Jackson started school and we further invested ourselves (emotionally and financially) in the community where we live.
What I loved most about my 20s was the endless freedom I had. I had very few responsibilities or obligations, and I had endless time to focus on myself. One of my least favorite things was feeling so financially unstable (worrying about my love life and whether I’d ever find someone to settle down with was a close second for least favorite thing).
My teen years are kind of a blur, and so much constantly changes at that age that it’s hard to focus on one or two favorite things, but moving away to college remains one of the highlights of my life. It was such a special time where some of my best friends (to this day) were made. I think of that time often and fondly. Before that, though, I felt pretty lonely. Especially when I think of, like, 15-18, what I remember most is the weight of loneliness and feeling like I didn’t really fit in anywhere.
And childhood? What’s bad about childhood? Nothing! And being a child of the 80s was particularly fun because parents didn’t give a shit what their kids were up to. They weren’t all uptight like today’s parents who over-schedule everything and hover over their kids like they might break at any minute (and I say that as one of them!).
Lianne June 27, 2017, 11:54 am
Since I am actively avoiding work today, I’ll chime in 🙂
I’m 37 (almost 38!) and here are my favorite/least favorite from each decade…
30s – Similar to you, Wendy, my favorite part was/is starting my family! I started dating, moved in with, and married my husband all in this decade. Then we had my son last year. It’s been so amazing building a real family unit and all that comes with that. Least favorite part was realizing my mother is never going to change and making the conscious decision to not have her in my life. It’s given me a lightness but it was a shitty realization and something I feel disappointed by from time to time.
20s – Favorite part was strengthening my best friendships and all of the travel I was able to do. Least favorite part is a tie – first there was a terrible, emotionally abusive relationship. When I think back on that, I can’t believe I let myself be in that situation for 3 years. And there is also my Nana’s death in my early 20s. It was unexpected and really devastated me.
Teens – I did a ton of musical theater, both with my high school and within the community and I LOVED singing and acting and being on stage. My least favorite part of my teens was just the teenage angst and not feeling the confidence I do today. I know it’s unrealistic to think I would feel THIS confidence back then, but I wish I had had even a 1/4 of it!
Childhood – who knows! Being a kid is fun. My parents split up though and that sucked.
Janelle June 27, 2017, 12:04 pm
I am currently 34 (35 in August). My favorite thing currently is my ability to be successful, make real money, not constantly struggle and being established in my career. I also love how every day I care less and less what others thing about me, especially my appearance which bothered me much more in my 20’s. I also love that, in that same realm, all the acne of my youth is gone! The thing I like least is that OMG I am about to be 35 and I don’t yet own a house (I don’t want to buy in CA as it is insanely expensive and I don’t want to stay here), I am single, I am childless….. AHHH The pressure is becoming a lot. Also my body sure doesn’t bounce back from those carbs like it did in my 20’s.
My 20’s: For sure my long term relationship. At the time it was difficult sometimes but it taught me so much and I had a wonderful best friend, who still is my best friend! I didn’t like how insecure I was and how financially unstable the 20s can be. I struggled a lot and it was beyond exhausting. So happy to be over that.
I really don’t remember a lot of my teen years. People will come say hello to me from high school and I just have zero recollection. I am not sure if I blacked that all out or what? lol I do remember some fun times here and there but it was a kind of crappy time. Columbine (my boyfriend was a student there) happened, I was run over and spent a year in recovery for that.
csp June 27, 2017, 12:16 pm
I am in my mid thirties. I love my son and getting to be a parent. I hated the 5 years in my thirties trying to be a parent. Infertility sucks and the drugs are horrible.
20s- I loved building myself as an adult. I traveled, established my career, gained adult friends and got married. I hated struggling for money. starting a career is hard and scrimping and saving sucks but I am glad that I learned what to focus on and how to prioritize spending.
Teens – I loved the freedom and the extra time. I have so many memories sitting at playgrounds and at the mall just hanging out. The summers seem so long and the friendships were so intense. I would spend all day in school with my friends then call those friends and talk for hours. We would write notes in notebooks that were pages long. When I look back, our whole lives were in front of us and we dreamed about who we would be.
As a kid – I had a lot of free time and agree that most kids are over scheduled. However, I watched a lot of TV. I spent so much time watching shows after school and I do feel like I wish I was exposed to more.
Dear Wendy June 27, 2017, 4:36 pm
I remember watching a ton of TV too, especially in the summer. But I also remember ballet classes, piano lessons, swimming lessons, tennis, gymnastic, community and school plays, and lots of time at the playground, so I guess there was a good balance. I think my kids are getting a good balance too. They’ve been watching more TV than I thought I’d let them watch, but it’s often the only down time we all get, so I don’t get too worked up about it.
Portia June 27, 2017, 12:20 pm
Ooo good question! At 31, I feel like I’ve barely been in my 30’s long enough to have favorite/least favorite things happen. And I feel like good things are coming up soon, so those will overtake anything I can think of now. My temporary least favorite is not being placed on the team I wanted to be at work. But, I know it’s not the end of the world and I still like the team I’m on.
20’s favorite would probably be a tie between finishing grad school and all the fun travel I was able to do. Least favorite: feeling like I didn’t have friends every time I moved cities. It sucked, I went into somewhat of a depression every time, but I think I’m more able to deal with that stuff now.
My teen years were generally pretty good, and I could probably think of a lot of great things, but I met and started dating Bassanio at the very end of my teens, so that’s a highlight. Least favorite? My grandma dying at the very beginning of the decade: she was a hugely important influence in my life and it changed me a lot.
My least favorite thing from my childhood was my “boy haircut” – it led to a lot of unpleasant experiences. Best was all the reading I was able to do, because I was a prolific reader and in a lot of ways it made me who I am today.
Ashley June 27, 2017, 12:40 pm
I definitely don’t miss my teens, growing up in a small town with little to do! I’d say my best years were my early twenties while at college. Definitely good memories and still have my friends from then….late twenties not so much worrying about getting a job, failed career move, and living close to the financial edge. I finally feel ok about where I’m at in life. I’m about to turn 30 in August. I’m looking forward to it, I mean I finally have some money to enjoy a few things! I’m definitely getting the itch to move from austin though…I’ve been here 10 years….
Kate June 27, 2017, 1:11 pm
I guess it’s always been fine, except I didn’t love age 12-16… started a new middle school, bad haircuts, makeup that would turn orange by lunchtime, boring town… but still it wasn’t that bad, I wasn’t bullied or an outcast or anything.
I got serious about school in college and went from being a mediocre HS student to graduating college with highest honors. Then in my early 20s I got married, traveled all over Europe, went to grad school, bought a home, started a career, got divorced, so like all the milestones except kids in the span of 7 years. It was interesting. I had a lot of fun in grad school, but the rest of it was whatever.
Then 28-35 kinda sucked because I was in an absolute bullshit relationship and really needed to get my personal life together.
I really liked my later 30s. I ended that relationship and had a really fun year of being single, then met and married my (second) husband, and I was being overpaid for doing jack shit at work. Then I had a big crazy 40th party in a hotel suite.
40s, idk, I can’t really say yet. Had to make some new career decisions, bought a condo that we’re about to put on the market, have to figure out where to live next, but overall it’s good, my marriage is strong, we both have good new jobs, financially stable, all that jazz. Aging isn’t a frickin picnic, but it’s not overly bothering me. The dog is getting old and I think about that.
Life has ups and downs, right? And as you go along you realize nothing is permanent, there are always changes coming, and you’re better and better prepared to deal and be resilient.
Kate June 27, 2017, 1:15 pm
(Just turned 42).
Miss MJ June 27, 2017, 1:13 pm
I’m in my late 30s now (38 nearly 39). I think my 30s were my best decade, but I’m hoping to make it my 40s and 50s and beyond as I get into them.
I was horribly insecure during my childhood and early teens and suffered from anxiety, anorexia and was just generally a stressed out mess. It didn’t help my stress that I was focused solely on getting a scholarship so that I could go to college, but that focus did prevent me from turning to booze or drugs or sex to deal with my insecurity and anxiety, so I guess it’s better than it could have been. I got the scholarships.
I went abroad during college in my late teens and that’s when I finally became more secure in myself. It also helped me get away from a life events stressful family situation and a toxic friendship situation, and I remember that time in my life as one of the happiest times of my adulthood. So, yay for late teens!
During my 20s, I met my now husband, finished college, went to law school, got a job at a top firm, got married, moved to a nice house in the suburbs – basically I did all of the things that I was “supposed” to do and by 30, I was burned out and disillusioned with all of it. I hated the job, the money wasn’t worth it, we didn’t use 3 bedrooms in the 5 bedroom house or the den and instead stayed in the living room and kitchen together most of the time, I hated not being able to walk anywhere and we decided firmly against kids and all of it seemed kind of pointless and ridiculous.
So, in my 30s, I stopped doing what I was “supposed” to do and started doing what I wanted to do. I quit my big firm job, started working for myself (with my husband – we started our own firm), dumped the house and moved from the ‘burbs into a comparatively tiny two-bedroom condo in the middle of everything where we walk everywhere and – best part – spent the no longer needed “kids school and college fund” on a place at the beach where we try to spend a decent chunk of our time. It was stressful, terrifying and not always easy to be on our own, yet gratifying at the same time, and we’ve definitely had bumps and twists in the road. I would never go back unless I absolutely had to, though. I’ve also re-bonded with friends from college in the last several years that I had drifted apart from during my 20s and that’s been an amazing experience.
I hope in my 40s, I can really find something besides work to devote my energy and time to. I’m just not sure what that will be. I’d like it to be something I can put more than just casual volunteering into and something that I’m passionate about doing and that actually helps people, animals, the environment, all of the above and more, maybe. But also, now that I’m nearing 40, and my parents are getting older, and I’m watching the political landscape, I’m also increasingly worried about their future and how I can help take care of them as they age and acutely aware that they won’t be around forever, and I sometimes brood over that, probably more than I should. I’m also realizing that I’m not as young as I used to be, my body doesn’t look like it did when I was 20, it never will even if I exercise like a fiend (which sounds awful to me – running a few times a week is enough, thanks) and give up good food and wine (which is a no go from the start!) and so the cellulite that’s creeping in is probably here to stay and I should just make peace with it. All in all, I’m looking forward to my 40s. Especially since Wendy makes it seem pretty awesome – definitely the not giving a shit what others think part!
Dear Wendy June 27, 2017, 4:41 pm
Sounds to me like you’re doing it right!
Kate June 27, 2017, 1:47 pm
All right, actually I’m going to be very honest and say right now is probably the best month ever. Some of you may have noticed I am moderating the forums so much you doubt I even have a job. And you’re right! I got laid off in February after busting my ass and making my crazy sales quota, just because the bigger company had a bad year. At first I freaked the hell out, as you do, because I’d never lost a job before and it was quite painful and disorienting. But, they had to pay me my commissions and bonus plus *11 months of severance.* Yes. With healthcare. So, I figured, ok, I’m getting paid handsomely here to look for a job, which I’ve literally never done, but imma learn how. Plus I’ll start cooking and I’ll deliver Meals on Wheels and meet up with friends I haven’t seen in a while, that kind of thing. I did the self-inventory in What Color is Your Parachute?. Then a month ago I heard back from this CEO I’d been talking to since March, who was looking to bring me on for a brand new role they were creating. Same title as my old job, but the job is just so much better and makes way more sense and pays the same for way less hassle. So right at Memorial Day I said, you know what, I’m going to just start living my best life. So I shifted from being unemployed and anxious, to being on a 2-month vacation, because I start in later July. So I guess what I like most about this age is, you knock me down, I get the fuck back up again (like Hercules Mulligan in Hamilton). Today I got a mani and cooked a strip steak, and I’m meeting a friend for dinner. Then on Thursday I’m going to the beach for a week. I hope my former boss is enjoying her hustle.
Dear Wendy June 27, 2017, 2:18 pm
Yeah, girl. Livin’ your best life!
Katy June 28, 2017, 12:13 pm
congratulations and best wishes Kate!!
Kate June 28, 2017, 1:04 pm
Iliveforolives June 27, 2017, 1:51 pm
Long time reader, first time poster, because this is an interesting topic!
I’m turning 28 in a week, and honestly, it’s a weird experience. My childhood and teen years kinda sucked – my mom married 4 different men, and while the current one is pretty great, the first 3 were not (think drug use, abandonment, multiple firings, and then domestic violence) so I spent pretty much all of my early years counting down to 18 when I could escape my extremely conservative family and one-horse redneck racist town.
College was amazing in so many ways – I was able to finally meet people who shared my interests, formed relationships that weren’t build on blood and obligations and guilt, and was able to create the family I’d always wanted – but then of course, I had to pay for it. I’d worked through high school and college, but the loans I got were disbursed right in the middle of the recession, so. We’re talking 9, 10% interest rates. I was lucky to land a job right after graduation, but damn, the first half of my 20s was rough. We’re talking paycheck to paycheck, beans and rice, not seeking medical care when I had pneumonia because who knows how much that would’ve cost rough.
It’s only in the past 2 or 3 years that things have gotten better, and I can honestly say I’m starting to love my life now. I’ve been in a relationship for almost 4 years with a great guy, and we plan to marry eventually. I’ve gotten really into muay thai, I foster cats, and my finances are just good enough I’m keeping my head above water. My friends are creative and supportive, and the city I live in is bizarre and beautiful.
The only problem seems to be everyone *else’s* expectations of me, mostly family and coworkers, with the whole Marriage Home Buying Children mantra. I don’t even know if I *want* 2/3 of those, and even if I decide I do, I definitely can’t afford it (major northeast city here)! So far, the general reaction to that is “You’ll find a way!” but people, I have less than 5K to my name, how do you expect me to do that?! It’s especially difficult to hear coming from my parents, who’ve never really financially assisted me in any way (not that they should have to!) but pretend to not hear that I’m just not capable of achieving the milestones they want me to. And knowing that even though I’m finally self-sufficient and really proud of my career and hobbies for the first time in my life, it doesn’t really matter or count to anyone, really sucks. Because if I never do the home or kids thing, I don’t think that they’ll ever really respect me.
I’m actually looking forward to my 30s. I figure by then my RBF will be cemented enough that people start leaving me alone!
csp June 27, 2017, 3:09 pm
LW – I think everyone at one time or another has been on the receiving end of these kind of comments. That pressure will be there constantly and my best advice is to focus on what you want out of your life and keep that in front of you. With money, I have found that when we stopped “bleeding money” it was easier to save. There is an app called mint that tracks spending and shows how much you spend on booze, food, clothes, stuff like that. For example, I realized that I was buying lunch most days and at $10/day that was almost $2500 a year. But if I brought lean cuisines at $3 it was down to $750. For years, and even now, every piece of furniture I have is used because I wanted to spend money on experiences. I found that when my life was full and I was happy, those comments bothered me less.
courtney89 June 27, 2017, 2:01 pm
I’m fairly newly 28 . . . . I haven’t bought myself a house ( I rent a condo), and i’m not married and not in a relationship, so that aspect kind of has me freaking out a bit. But i dont have real financial worries, i get to travel across the Southwest, do the girls trip here and there, etc., etc. I’m in a good spot in my career. . I really enjoy this age and think my 30s will be better but i would like to find someone to settle down with. When you stop looking . . . . . . .
TheHizzy June 27, 2017, 2:18 pm
Overall I love my life.
I just started my 30s (31) and I really liked 30 and 31 so far. I was 30 when I met my LDR boyfriend who became no longer LDR when he moved in back over Memorial weekend. Four weeks so far. I never knew what it was like to be a part of a team until I met him. I also bought a house. I’m about to become an aunt and I became a insta-mom(ish) to four kids. While I loved my single years I’m glad to no longer be that 3rd, 5th or 7th wheel.
My 20s were also great. I was single and free to do whatever. I spent 24-28 not dating on purpose to just be me. I traveled a lot, moved several times and landed where I am now. I also went through a lot of crap dating experiences between 28-30 before I met the guy I am with now. I also grew a lot with my parents and still struggle with a good relationship with them. My later 20s is when I stopped giving a crap what people thought of me, and realized life is too short to be upset over small things. I wish I had been a bit more reckless with things. Had a few more of those crazy experiences. I was always financially mindful and hesitant to spend money. Which paid off when I turned 30 and entered a LDR and went to buy a house. I could afford those things.
My teens were ok. I was awkward. I got picked on a lot during this time. I had good friends and fond memories but I won’t go to any reunions.
My kid years were good. I miss being that age with no cares.
Dear Wendy June 27, 2017, 4:42 pm
I love reading all of these!
MissDre June 27, 2017, 5:22 pm
My teens and early 20s were REALLY hard. Most of elementary school I was teased and bullied pretty badly. By high school people had stopped teasing and mostly just ignored me. So I was very lonely.
Got to college at 18 and had a hard time fitting in, since I’d never really had a circle of friends. That’s when my depression started. I was very depressed, having anxiety attacks, on and off different medications, found a boyfriend when I was 19 and he was my WHOLE WORLD to the point where, when he broke up with me a year later, I ended up in the emergency room because I was in a state of absolute hysteria (it was bad).
Rinse and repeat, same shit happened at age 23 but this time was admitted to the hospital and then put in out-patient care through the psychology ward. Finally got on the right medications, finally started to slowly find myself, finally started building a relationship with my brother.
But by around 26-27 I had really starting figuring myself out, found my love of fashion, found a job that I loved. Had the courage to dump my dumbass boyfriend at age 28 because he wasn’t meeting my needs and never looked back. Got out there, bought myself a condo, dated a whole lot (which got exhausting but I sure did learn a lot). Learned how much I love living alone.
Now I’m in my 30s and I’m in a new career, starting to make some real money, I’m starting to travel for the first time in my life, I’m working with bigger and better clients, I’m spending more time with my girlfriends and trying harder to nurture those friendships. I’ve met a guy who is actually excited to introduce me to his friends and tell people that I’m his girlfriend (we’ll see how this one goes, still early).
My teens and early 20s sucked, although I did love what I studied in school. And I do find that the older I get, the happier I am. Although, I’m definitely not yet at the point where I don’t give a shit. Found my first grey hairs, so realizing that I’m aging is kind of hard but eh, it had to happen. I really look forward to my mid-late 30s, I hope I’ll get married and start my own family and build a home.
I love how much closer I’m getting to my mom as I get older as well. We’ve always been close but now I really look forward to talking on the phone and going to visit.
Ange June 27, 2017, 8:39 pm
Hmmm let’s see. 36 nearly 37 and my thirties have been ok but not mind blowing I guess. I met my husband at 31 and we got married when I was 33 which was great however my job situation has been less stable since with him being in the army. We also spent a couple of years living in Sydney which I hated and it felt like I wasted two years of my life. While there I was also diagnosed with rhuematoid arthritis which continues to be a literal pain. Now we’re in a much better spot and I have a full time job so we’re both happier.
20s were great. Yes there was the uncertainty of work and life and money but be damned if I didn’t have a bloody great time. I moved to the city of my dreams at 23 and lived there for a decade until I moved away with my husband and in between all the fun I met some of the best friends I’ll ever have. I had one really shitty boyfriend in there but he is a small part of it overall.
Teens were pretty good also. I lived in a shitty town but had a good friend group and our parents were good about letting us grow up and explore life. My parents split up towards the end and it was difficult as I was the only kid at home and my mum had a breakdown but we all got through it. I ended up living at home alone for the last part of school while she sorted herself out which was pretty helpful in learning to be an adult.
Childhood -eh. I can hardly remember it. My brothers, like all brothers, were jerks. My family all lived close together so I remember always having an instant party for all occasions, that was good.
Cyndi June 27, 2017, 9:04 pm
I am heading toward my 60’s & I finally feel comfortable in my own skin. Good things have always happened when I least expected them. Every decade, stage had its own obstacles. It took me almost 60 years to like myself. I saw myself less than others did. We are harder on ourselves. You would be surprised how people perceives you- be open.
SpaceySteph June 28, 2017, 4:35 am
Well I’m almost 31, but I was kind of melancholy about turning 30. I was not quite 3 months pregnant, nauseous af, and hadn’t told anyone yet. I kinda felt left out because I’m one of the youngest and most of our friends had fun 30th bdays and mine was lame.
And now I have a baby (hence why I’m typing this at 4 am) so I guess that’s a good thing but mostly right now it’s exhausting and lonely. So I don’t really have many nice things to say about 30 so far.
My 20s though were great. I graduated college, landed my dream job, met and married my husband, lots of good stuff. But I think the best part was finding my tribe. People I could relate to and enjoy hanging out with and feel like I could be my true self with. In my early 20s a lot of kinda crappy stuff went down, too. At 25 this would have been a much different post… so there’s still hope for my 30s!
Dear Wendy June 28, 2017, 5:51 am
Being a new mother is hard! It’s such an adjustment in so many ways, not least of which is the way it changes your identity (both how you self-identify and how others identify you). It took a few years after I became a mom to feel like my true self again (which was a different self than I was before motherhood). It certainly is exhausting — especially in the early months — and it can be isolating, but it does get easier and you will start making parent friends who understand the stage you’re in. Having kids made some of my world smaller (I don’t really travel anymore, though I think that will start changing soon, and I don’t go out as much and do adult things. But I have met and made so many new friends through my kids and in that way my world grew). Hang in there. If I remember right your baby was born in April? The first three months are the very hardest, and you are almost over that hump. And when you go back to work, things start feeling more “normal” again. you’ll find a rhythm and routine. As your baby grows, she’ll become more interactive and fun. And one day you’ll be like, “holy cow! she’s a person!” She’ll express thoughts and opinions and interests, and it will be exhausting, but also really fun and exciting.
Anyway, I think you’re really going to like your 30s.
SpaceySteph June 28, 2017, 8:32 am
Thanks Wendy! The rest of this week and one more week before I go back. Mixed feelings about that. Like I don’t want to leave her but also like I like my job and look forward to doing it. It sure would be nice to live in a country with longer maternity leave.
Just Max June 28, 2017, 8:55 am
My teens were… not mine. When not in school, I had to work at the family business. I still struggle with this, because it sort of stunted my social (?) development; yeah, I learned about work ethics, responsibilities, and have been earning a paycheck for longer than half my life, but I also missed out on being a kid/teenager and all that comes with that.
I was with my ex for most of my 20s, so that’s that. After the divorce (when I was 30), I sort of woke up and started having a life; back to school, travels, new friends, making some stupid decisions, and learning what I liked and didn’t like, getting a good job, mortgage… Basically, my 30s have been a big growth spur.
I’m going to be 40 this year. It mostly feels like I’m a whole decade behind, when I read everyone else’s’ posts, in that I’ve done stuff in my 30s that most get through in their 20s. :-p
Over the last couple of weeks though, I’ve been feeling a bit… off. Not sad or depressed, I don’t think. Just a bit off. I’m content with my job, and my current living situation, have my finances in order, exercise, have my own hiking group, I’m healthier and in very good shape (finally!) and basically am doing whatever I want. But now I find myself having “now what?” kind of thoughts. Like, what’s next, ya know? So… we’ll see how the 40s turn out. 😉
_s_ June 28, 2017, 11:18 am
Short answer from a late-30s perspective:
1. Best thing about 30s is finally getting to a stable place financially where I can put all our bills on autopay and forget about them, and live life (food, gas, one-offs that come up) without constantly having to check how much is in the account.
2. Second best thing about 30s is slowly gaining the “wisdom” to not GAF about stuff that’s unimportant and instead to GAF about stuff in the world that IS important that you didn’t pay attention to before.
Dear Wendy June 28, 2017, 11:41 am
Yes to GAF about the important stuff!
Dear Wendy June 28, 2017, 1:57 pm
Thanks to everyone who has been emailing me with requests for advice! I’m getting some interesting — and heart wrenching — letters, and, as always, I am honored to be entrusted with your stories. I always want to be thoughtful in my responses, so please be patient as I continue reading your emails and carve out some time to sit and reply to them.
MaterialsGirl June 28, 2017, 4:02 pm
I’ve been wanting to comment on this.
I’m two weeks shy of 32:
My 30’s so far have been great. Some work chaos, but finally traveling and impacting like I always wanted to. It’s still requiring more patience, but I have a vision of what I want and like and I’m hoping I get closer to this final goal as my 30’s progress. From a personal standpoint: i got remarried to a wonderful person who makes me better (and more conscientious of cleaning my piles of things, putting things away, expressing my feelings etc). My clothing and personal style are on point with what I want to display, my friendships are good, but I always wish I had more time with them. I also feel like I’m finally starting to recover some of my looks from the stress that was the divorce of my 20’s.
Which leads me to my 20’s. The beginning was promising: I was finally doing really well in school and had an internship, I started and finished graduate school despite zero support from my thesis professor. I broke up with my college boyfriend, who was a great person just not the right timing. Unfortunately, I then got into a relationship that changed the better part of my twenties into what I refer to as “the lost years.” I had a lot of good things going for me: I was very dedicated to running and was top ten and runner of the year for my age group. Job was going OK, but emotionally, I was distant from my parents and always on edge with the now-ex husband. Anxiety was big as were several screaming matches in the middle of streets. Living and loving a narcissistic problem drinker really took a toll. It just wasnt the life I REALLY hoped for. My 25th birthday was a great time put on by my friends and I looked GREAT, but from then on I feel like I started to lose some of that spark and got a little too thin (stress and running a bunch to escape). End of the 20’s I was dealing with the divorce, but going to therapy for a year+ really helped me get back on track and learn from everything (and set the foundation for a promising 30s!)
In my teens, I was just lost. I didn’t fit in and remember one of my high school teachers (or maybe middle school) that I should look forward to college because I would find more compatible people and myself then. She was definitely on to something there.
Trixy Minx June 28, 2017, 4:16 pm
Next week I turn 30 years old. I’ve been reflecting on my past 30 years of life and I feel like I’ve gotten off to a good start and I’m finally figuring out what it is that I want to do. although my job is very much a love-hate relationship I love the locations that I live at seasonally. Every six or so months is a new experience. In between locations I will take a month off go on a new adventure. recently I took month off and camped in Escalante and other various places but Escalante was my favorite. I then went on a 10-day Meditation Retreat in Washington. 10 days of Silent meditating for at least anywhere from 3 to 10 hours a day. All of that was very enlightening and rough. My vacation ended and now I’m in Oregon for the summer. I’ve seen some amazing waterfalls and I fell in love with caves in California. If anyone has a chance the lava bed National Monument has so many amazing caves to explore. I’ve also grown comfortable with the fact that I enjoy sitting in a cave and meditating for at least an hour or so and working up to a whole day.
I know I’m not too fond of the area that I’m currently at the surrounding areas is attractive to me. I leave here in October and I’ve already plotted my road trip back to Utah for the winter. I definitely become more established on how I’m doing things and where I want to go.
Moneypenny June 28, 2017, 6:57 pm
This is a great question!
I’m 32, and I think my 30’s have been so far way better than my 20’s. I started out my 30’s feeling content with my (imperfect) life. I’m in a better place financially but still slowly paying off debt – student loans will be paid off in December, whew! It’s still such a relief to not be living paycheck to paycheck anymore. I feel much more content with my life, more relaxed, like I feel like I know where I’m headed. I’m still single but have been dating someone for 6 months, which is the longest I’ve dated anyone since 2013. So relationship-wise, things are progressing in a positive direction.
I feel too that I am less insecure and more confident, where I just don’t give a damn about things that would have had me stressed and insecure in my 20’s. I’m more confident in my work, am growing in my management skills and being a leader, which feels like a big gain since I work in a male-dominated industry and am frequently the only woman in the room sometimes.
My 20’s were overall good yet mixed. College for me was not your typical college experience- I went to a local university and was in a very strenuous 5 year program. People sometimes describe it like “grad school but for undergrad.” I pretty much focused on school and worked summers to save money. I hardly dated, not for lack of trying… I constantly crushed on guys but so many people were so focused on their own work it never went anywhere and I frequently felt lonely and unattractive. I also was pretty naive, having gone to an all-girls high school. I didn’t have a “real” relationship until I was 22 and had graduated. Once that ended, I spent the remainder of my 20’s dating, not dating, becoming depressed, getting frustrated with my job, feeling unsure of myself and where I was going, and getting into debt… but also making new friends, figuring out what I did and didn’t want from a relationship, becoming my own best friend, going to therapy and learning new skills, having my own apartment in my big city, having a better relationship with my parents, traveling some, dancing it up, going to bars in said big city, and ended up at 28 in a relationship with a guy who really couldn’t (wouldn’t) commit to me in the end and wound up moving 500 miles away but still not wanting to end it with me and dragging the breakup out for probably 6 months. Whew. Before I knew it, I was 29 and a half and remembering how fun it could be to flirt.
My teen years were pretty good. I was a late bloomer, and had pimply skin and baby fat. I was going to ballet 4-5x a week and attending an all-girls Catholic school, but managed to be in a couple awesome musicals with the local all-boys Catholic school and also be in co-ed choir and made some awesome friends. I’m still friends with the stage manager from my senior year- he and his wife are some of my favorite people. My high school was awesome and felt very “girl power” sometimes, which helped me learn how to become an intelligent young woman. I look back on those years pretty fondly, although at the time I could feel like a pretty angsty teen!
Moneypenny June 28, 2017, 6:58 pm
Whoops, didn’t realize we could put spaces between paragraphs! Sorry for the wall of text!
toxawaygirl May 31, 2018, 11:12 am
My teens and 20’s were something of a nightmare. My mother became gravely ill when I was 12 years old. As the eldest child, I became responsible for housekeeping, laundry, cooking, etc. I felt my spirit crush with the weight of the responsibility, I was a sensitive young woman and I felt the looming loss of my mother deeply, the doom was a mark on my heart.
Devastatingly, when I was 18 my dad and step mom died in a tragic accident. My mother died when I was 25 years old, then my step father followed when I was 28 years old. I got married in the midst of all this turmoil, I tried to be an adult, but my husband quickly outed himself as a controlling and all around horrible person. He tried to stop me from visiting my mother in the hospital when she was on her deathbed. My husband threatened to divorce me, I took him up on the offer
….. yeah…. so my 20’s sucked. I can’t think of much that is redeeming about that period of my life, except I did well in college. I managed to become valedictorian of my college class and made a few lasting friendships which sustained me through my losses.
Anyhoo… I’m now 38 and I have to say my 30’s have rocked. Everyone I know is settling into families and having children. I’m still unmarried and no children, but I LOVE my life and my freedom. I have a good job, doing work that makes me feel fulfilled. I have plenty of time to paint, to draw, to hang out with my dog. I have a boyfriend of 2.5 years and we are discussing marriage and next steps. For the first time in my life I feel at peace, calm, steady. I never knew what life could feel like outside the circle of grief. All of this is ideal for me. I will say, that I feel like my life is a little topsey turvey, reading the posts and hearing so many people say their 20’s were filled with “freedom” makes me ache for what might have been. However, as others have pointed out, once you near 40, you no longer GAF about what others think. THAT is priceless.