You are in your 30s. It came a lot quicker than you expected, right? Kaboom. After posting your pics and tweeting the occasion, you are finally home alone — and it hits you. You go to the mirror and stare at what might just possibly be baby crow’s feet creeping across your face. Oh my. So, you say to yourself, “Holy crap, YOU. ARE. 30.” (O.M.G.)
While these years may feel surprisingly more pressurized than your 20s, they will unexpectedly also bring the most personal growth in your life. The 30s will toss you surprise curveballs instead of easy-breezy pitches, and you might get caught staring. You’re no longer allowed to kick back in flip-flops on the bench — you’re in the big leagues, in cleats with a giant 3-0 on your back. This is where you find out who you are and who you really want on your team.
You squint, you swing and you run. You pay attention like never before, you look ahead and you ask yourself:
Is this where I thought I’d be? Is this where I am supposed to be?
And life starts to get a bit more complicated. Here is the good news:
YOU Version 3.0 is more of a SmartYou than you think. Why? Because in this decade you will be challenged, pushed and p—u—l—l—e—d in ways that would have baffled you in your 20s. You will be completely forced to grow. That is, if you choose to dress out for the game. And it’s my bet that you will. Here’s why.
13 Things That Are Totally Going to Change You in Your 30s
1) You will figure out who YOU really are and why you have gone through so much. You will reflect on your life and find it easier to claim your own path outside of the wishes of your parents, counselors or coaches. You will realize the difference between a mistake, a whim and a calling.
2) You will struggle with how you are going to start building a legacy in this life, versus the fear that you will not make a difference at all. You realize that you want to leave a mark on the world for more than just you — you start living for your children, your community and maybe even the world. And you wonder how you are going to do it. In this decade, you will see your calling more clearly, if you are open.
3) You will find great satisfaction and great frustration with all of the people that you are going to be taking care of (e.g., spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends). You will face many situations that throw you, but you learn how to adjust to life’s changes and those that need you. This will transform you, your time and your relationships.
4) You will feel real, in-your-face, make-you-cry stress about finances, love, career and family. You will start to understand what your parents were talking about all of those years. The good news is that this is the kind of necessary stress that life is made of — and where you find out what you are made of.
5) You will get off balance, on balance, off balance, on balance — and so on — because of all of the roles that you have to carry on the shoulders of your life. You will have to wear many hats, and you will often feel like a tightrope walker trying to stay the course, balancing the people and commitments in your life. This frustration will help you to see that one person can only handle so much and you will start to understand why setting boundaries is so critical.
6) You will feel more meaning in your life and begin to see love, career and family as part of your purpose — instead of part of your obligation. You will realize that with great love, also comes great pain, and you learn that it is worth it. On purpose.
7) You will start coming to terms with the fact that you are not going to live forever as you start losing important people in your life. Mortality becomes a brutal fact of life, and it changes you painfully, for the better.
8) You will see the world differently and embrace things that you would have run away from in your 20s. You will feel a higher sense of well-being, creativity and self-awareness as your experiences widen. I’m talking about values, experiences, goals and opinions that will (*gasp*) change. You will be very surprised by you.
9) You will realize that gathering mass amounts of friends is not as important as paying attention to those who are in your life for a reason, and those who should not be in your life at all. Your fringe friendships will fade, your closest relationships will deepen and some wonderfully surprising people will on-the-floor amaze you.
10) You will have life-changing “a-ha moments” that drastically change the direction of your life for the better. The underrated gift of wisdom comes with age, and you will be thrilled by it.
11) You will not feel as young and carefree as you did in your 20s, but you will learn to love feeling more grounded. As sad as it is to let go of the good ol’ days, you will appreciate being at the Adult Table. The food just tastes better. And you know how to order off of the menu.
12) You will figure out how to align who you truly are on the inside with what you are doing on the outside. You will figure out how to start accepting your limitations and your talents. You move toward making peace with the human experience and focus in on why you are truly here.
13) You will accept your previous struggles as life lessons and gain a greater sense of life purpose. Amen. It’s part of the beautiful game of life. Now play ball.
Credit: Karin L. Smithson, Ph.D
Writer | Speaker | Therapist | Columnist