2023 is my “Jesus year.”
Or as the Spanish would say, I have 33 years.
Most of my friends who are similar age with me were complaining and panicking when they turned 30. I was happy and excited for it. Finally, I could leave my 20s behind.
When I was at school, especially university, I always complained that I couldn’t wait to be a “grown up,” working woman living my own life. My parents used to laugh sarcastically and tell me that when I would be that working woman living her own life, I would wish to be in school again. Well, it never happened. They said the same when I was in my 20s, wishing to be in my 30s. Never happened.
I never liked my 20s and was never stressed about aging. I did amazing things in my 20s, had wonderful experiences, and met fantastic people (hello, best friends!), but I also went through a lot of painful but necessary life lessons, terrible experiences, and so much growth, which shaped me into the person I am now, but no thank you, even with the amazing memories, I would never go back in my 20s again.
I always had this intuitive feeling that my 30s would be “my time.” Maybe because I already set my mind to it, or maybe I was really foretelling my own future, but my 30s have really ended up being my time, and I am only three years in so far.
I am now a completely different person from who I used to be, and it is due to my 20s that I became the woman I was always meant to be—and there is still so much to grow, learn, it makes me even more excited to think about who I can be in my 40s, 50s, 60s, and who knows after.
So here’s a list of the most wonderful aspects I love of being in my 30s:
1. I finally learned to stop caring about what people think of me.
Of course there are still important people whose opinions about me matter (like my family, partner, and best friends), but even their opinions don’t influence me any more. I am not living to please others but myself. The only opinion that really matters about me is my own, and as long as I am happy with who I am and as long as I can see myself being able to grow in any given life situations, I am satisfied with myself.
2. I learned to ditch the plan.
I used to be this girl who overplans everything then ends up doing nothing because she doesn’t even know where to start. I started my 30s with a Camino pilgrimage with no planning at all—best way to lay a foundation if you want to quit overplanning. I quit my job I always hated and moved to Scotland to plant trees—a job that is totally unpredictable, so there isn’t even a chance to properly plan something you won’t need to re-plan at least once. I had a lot of anxiety at the beginning, but once we can relax, it is easy to adapt to an unpredictable, plan-less life.
3. Setting my own beauty standards.
In my 20s, there was a time when I put on makeup even if I just popped down to the super market on the corner for some eggs—I was so self-conscious about my looks. I am not sure though if it comes with the age or with the month-long hikes or the forestry job, but I learned to live and enjoy myself au naturel. No makeup, no washing my hair and shaving every day, no planning outfits (often uncomfortable) that make me feel confident or beautiful or hot. It’s just me. So liberating.
4. Deeper self-awareness.
Through yoga, meditation, lots of shadow work, and just everyday life experience, I learned more about how I operate, what my triggers are, what my strengths and weaknesses are, who I am, and what my purpose is. As wonderful and exciting as childhood and youth are, this is the priceless gift that comes with age. There’s still room to grow in this area too, but luckily, I have my partner in crime to call me out on my BS when I am not aware of being on the old reactive autopilot.
5. The space to say “no.”
I used to struggle when I had to say no to someone, and often I felt guilty about it, being a people-pleaser, but I learned that it is okay to say no if that is what is best for me, not allowing people to take advantage of my kindness, and just prioritizing myself.
6. More awareness of how precious my time is.
In my 20s, I used to feel like life is so long and I had lots of time until I grew old. Now I can sense more how quickly life can pass by and fill my life with things and people who are important and meaningful to me and take the chances when they present themselves because who knows if they ever come back.
7. Childhood conditioning falling away.
Thanks to hypnotherapy and shadow work, I came to learn my childhood conditioning and am able to unlearn all those things and condition myself the way I want to be. It’s so freeing when you can realize a layer that isn’t you and crack it, let some light in, and see what emerges from there.
8. Realizing my parents are just people too.
Growing up, I saw my parents as perfect adults, who never make mistakes and have it all together and who will never grow old. Now as an adult myself, I see how they are also just humans trying to survive in a crazy world. I used to be mad at them when they raised me this or that way, taught me things that don’t serve at all, and so on, but now I see they operated from what they had and did what they thought was best. Ever since that realization, my relationship with them healed a lot and we got much closed to each other. Especially seeing them growing old and really understanding they won’t be here forever made me appreciate them even more.
9. Becoming my own best friend.
I am the only person there for me 24/7, so I have to be fine with myself. I learned to stop waiting for others to save me; I save myself. I have to be right with myself, to give myself permission to not do anything at all and just chill without feeling bad about not being “productive,” to support myself in life, and enjoy my own company. I still have moments when I find myself being too harsh with myself; it’s a process too that I am mastering.
10. Creating the life I always dreamed of.
I often feel like I wasted my 20s trying to live a life I thought I wanted, but in fact it was what I was conditioned to believe—you know: the perfect career path, getting married, having a big car, big house with white picket fence in the suburbs, two weeks vacation to an exotic place to show off on Facebook after, and even having kids. Only, when I had all those things, I realized it doesn’t make me happy at all, and I do not want any of it. I just thought it is what I should want.
It was important to go through all that so I can realize what I really want and gain courage to go for it. And to be honest, now that I live the life I always wanted, I often find myself just doing the things I loved doing as a child.
It’s more in my body where I find the signs of getting older—the cracks, healing of muscular injuries takes a bit longer, hangovers last longer—but in my heart, I feel like I am just becoming again the child I used to be, running around in life enjoying what is.