What can you do to be happier in your 30s?
“You have to let go of who you were to become who you will be.” – Candace Bushnell, Sex and the City
I remember celebrating the end of my 20s with bittersweet excitement. I’d been classified as a “Sassy Twenty-Something” for so long that I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting myself into with the next era of my life.
My early twenties were filled with parties, dancing, dating, late night gatherings, happy hours and a general carefree attitude. With my mid-twenties, came a “real” job and “real” money, a “real” husband, and other “real” responsibilities. With my late 20s came cross-country moves, children, and the feeling that life was never ever going to be as carefree again.
But even with all these mixed emotions, my 30s were set to be freaking awesome. I mean, I’d watched enough episodes of Sex and the City in college to have a blueprint for what my 30s should look like, right? Well, at least what I thought it should look like.
As it turned out, Carrie and her crew of Thirty-Something friends (albeit Samantha was beyond her 30s) were single working women in New York City (not to mention fictional characters). I, on the other hand, was a real-life married mother of twins living in the south as I entered into the new world of Thirty-Somethings.
HUGE DIFFERENCE. HUGE.
What I’ve learned in my early 30s…
The point of me telling the Sex and the City story is to say that I had a lot of preconceived notions of what life would be like once I turned 30. To be honest, these preconceived notions were mostly superficial thoughts like I must:
- Own an amazing wardrobe and shoe collection
- Be in the best shape of my life
- Make six figures and live in my dream home
- Drive my dream car
But what I’ve really learned since I made the leap into Thirty-Somethingville is that life is more complicated than that. I now know that life has a funny way of teaching you lessons, and even knocking you on your butt a time or two to get your undivided attention.
Surprisingly, the first few years of my 30s were filled with more uncertainty than I ever felt during my 20s. Now, I realize that the uncertainty was me undergoing a change…a metamorphosis of sorts. I’m not the same person I was a decade ago.
I’ve learned some lessons the hard way, working my way through the grit and pressure. I was a diamond in the rough, a pearl in the process of formation. In my 30s, I have reemerged as a brand new version of me…an even better version of myself than I would have ever thought possible…and I’m still growing.
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Life Lessons to Be Happy in Your 30s (4 truths that have changed me)
I’m compelled to share 4 of the greatest lessons I’ve learned during my 30s. Maybe some of these lessons will resonate with you because you have been there…done that. Maybe you are a Twenty-Something on the cusp of a big change as I was several years ago. Whatever your story maybe, I hope that this post is filled with words of encouragement for you. If you’ve gone through it already, be an inspiration to other women and share you story. If you are going through it now, hold on sister…this too shall pass.
Here are 4 truths from my 30s that have completely changed my approach to life. These are my simplified life lessons to be happy in your 30s.
1. It’s essential to be comfortable in your own skin.
I spent so much time in the past trying to get the perfect look, be the perfect weight, even have the perfect hair. But as the years ticked by, I began to better comprehend the saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” I realized that I could lose 40 pounds, have a fabulous wardrobe, and the most amazing hair ever, but still not be comfortable in my own skin. Real beauty starts from within. It starts with loving and accepting yourself, despite your imperfections and flaws.
2. Hold tight to your real family and real friends.
It wasn’t until I moved away to start a new life with my husband in another state, that I truly began to realize the value of having friends and family in your life who truly care for you. Keep in touch with close friends and family. Call and check on them. Visit them as often as you can. I didn’t really think twice about how easily I forged friendships in my 20s…it was a piece of cake. Making friends in my 30s has proven a lot tougher than I would have imagined. I value the friendships and close family I have even more now.
3. Our purpose is to pursue happiness.
My metamorphosis has lead me to read many books in the last few years. One of my favorites is The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama believes that our purpose in this world is to find happiness and joy, then share it with others. I spent years trying to understand all the challenges that were happening in my life; years trying to figure out what it was I was supposed to be doing with myself, what career field would give me the satisfaction I wanted. It finally dawned on me that being happy IS my real job. If that means working in a coffee shop and writing inspirational books to share with the world, then that is the happiness I should pursue.
4. Happiness starts from within.
After realizing that my purpose was to find happiness, it took me just a little while longer to figure out that happiness is an inside job. For a long time, I thought:
If I could just move to another city, I will be happy.
Or maybe if I just find another job, I will be happy.
And of course this common thought–If I just make more money, I will be happy.
But when a different job came and more money came, I still found myself dissatisfied. It was then that I realized, the change that I coveted was not an external one…it was a change of heart that I needed. With that change of heart came acceptance, more joy, more fulfillment, and more happiness.
A Work In Progress
I’m now headed into my mid-30s. Every day, I continue to be surprised by the wisdom I acquire with age.
I seriously thought I knew it all back in my 20s. I thought I had this thing called life completely figured out. Guess what? I didn’t have a clue!
The life lessons you learn in your 30s bring a whole new meaning to adulthood.
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