On Being 30: How Life Has Changed Between 20 & 30

Within the last few weeks, I finally left my late 20s and transitioned to 30 years old.  Despite how drastically different the two look on paper, the change has been pretty seamless.  Lucky for me, my grey hairs began appearing years ago, the smile wrinkles at my eyes get plenty of exercise, and the joint cracks and pops started in my days as a high school cheerleader.  (I know, I can't believe I did that either.)

In terms of what it means to "be 30," I guess I'm not really sure.  What does the life of a 30 year old look like?  What should be important to a 30 year old?

Here are a few things that have gradually changed for me between turning 20 and turning 30:

1. My house is nice.
Unlike some of the apartments I lived in during my early 20s, I own a modest home; I have working appliances, fun paint colors, a room full of books, a fenced-in backyard, and my own bathroom and closet.  What more could I want?!

2. And clean. 
Like really clean.  (Yep, it surprises me, too!)  Who knew a clean and uncluttered home didn't have to be boring or stuck up?  Not me, not until the last few years.  We've worked to (gradually) decrease the overall quantity of items in our home.  Cutting down on the amount of stuff we have--the big clean out--has helped tremendously in keeping the house reasonably clean at all times.  No more needless clutter and fewer piles.  Occasional sweeping and minor picking up does nicely to provide a peaceful and productive home.

3. I take care of my feet. 
I wear flat shoes--not necessarily ugly or unfashionable shoes, but certainly not some of the stuff I wore on my feet at 20.  I wear Minimus sneakers, spend as much time barefoot as possible, and wear heels on rare occasions, instead of almost daily.

4. I don't eat meat. 
This is something I started contemplating my first year of college, but I went in and out of sticking to it.  Now, however, it is not only a moral and environmental decision, but a lifestyle choice I know I can maintain.  Yah, I know, another yoga teacher who doesn't eat meat, but I feel incredible.  Without meat, I have a noticeable amount of extra energy; I feel good about my choice and how it affects the environment.

5. I care much less about what people think and say about me.
This one took a while coming--and as you see, it says much less not not at all.  A few years ago, to combat my 16 year old looking face and parents asking, "What grade are you in?" I revamped my entire wardrobe.  No more looking what I thought was my age (which parents clearly thought was looking like I was in high school).  I exclusively wore blouses, blazers, pinstripes, and scarves.  I would not be misidentified!  As with any progress people make, however, the haters came out in droves.  Some of my coworkers criticized my wardrobe change, but I didn't let that deter me.  I not only looked and felt great, I finally, without words, allowed the parents to see me how they did once they heard me speak. 

Since beginning the blog, there have been rumblings of hate and criticism, but I have just decided to ignore it.  It's a little hard to, but then I consider: Honestly, who has time to read someone's blog/ book/ Facebook/ Twitter/ anything simply to put it down?  Frankly, I'm too busy for that, and if you've got time to burn, go ahead (and "Hi.").

6. I'm a dog mom.
I have two adorable cuties with whom I love to cuddle.  They are fun, playful, and sweet.  They usually don't bark and I am proud of their behavior after they greet people--we're still working on minimizing at the door jumpfests...  They remind me of how simple life can be and how loving and gracious I can (potentially) be each day.

7. And a wife.
At 20, I didn't know whether I'd ever want to get married.  Actually, for a long time, I didn't know what I wanted.  When I met Danny, however, pretty quickly it became clear that we would be together.  (Maybe our 7 1/2 hour first date was an indicator?)  Danny and I have been married about a year and a half now.  We cancelled the wedding we'd planned, had a beautiful, impromptu wedding, and a low-key honeymoon.  He is basically my polar opposite, but somehow our relationship works.  Though we certainly have separate interests and methods, we share passion and intensity, so life is never dull.

8. I am selective on how I spend my time and money.
My time, as I hope you agree about your own, is precious.  I don't have time to waste on fruitless or useless ventures.  Not that I never do anything simply for pleasure, but I do my best to avoid things that I've determined to be an actual waste of my moments, while attempting to funnel my energy into fun, relaxing, productive, and/ or growth-inspiring pursuits.

Also, as you may already know, I'm cheap and cool with it.  As someone who quit her job and writes a blog for free, however, I don't particularly have cash to throw around.  Even more so than I had been previously, I am now selective with what my money goes to and what comes into my home and body.  I don't always make the best choices--I still sometimes eat at chain restaurants or buy something I could have repurposed from something else--but I am getting better everyday.

9. I don't drink. 
Not that I ever specifically had a drinking problem, but I did have many beer-infused late night weekends in college and the years directly after.  Though some of these were fun, I'm sure, they resulted in far too many sleepy weekends and empty pizza boxes.  Now, though I attend wine get-togethers and parties, I just don't indulge.  If it's a house party, I'll sometimes bring a four pack of IZZE beverages, so I can have something in hand, while mingling, but it just happens to be alcohol-free.

If you're interested in this option, I love IZZE Sparkling Pomegranate, but I'm sure they're all pretty good. 
Image Source: IZZE

They're delicious in a simple way; the website says, "Just 70% pure fruit juice and a splash of sparkling water. That’s it. No added sugar, no high-fructose corn syrup, no preservatives, no caffeine, and no evil sciency chemical concoctions. Because at IZZE, we believe juice should be pure with a splash of sparkle."  Not particularly low in calories, but a great alternative to booze or soda pop.

10. I know who my friends are.
I've spoken with a few girlfriends in the last year about the exact topic of turning 30.  "Once you turn 30," I'd been told, "you just kind of turn the switch. You don't put up with friends who treat you poorly."  At first, I didn't really understand.  I've always had a good amount of people who generally care about me, my happiness, and my well-being.  But, particularly with the transition from my job to school, I have managed to keep in contact with a group of incredible women.  I'm no longer close with everyone I was friends with at 20, or even 25, but I am excited to say that I have become more selective about the people with whom I share my thoughts/ feelings/ opinions/ time.  I believe I've begun to get a handle on when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.

11. Overall, life is great.  And exciting.  And pretty great.
Life was never bad.  At 20, life was exciting in the simple fact that I didn't know (nor did I contemplate nor speculate) what might happen.  Now, instead, life is full of possibility, because I am open to it, setting myself up for happiness and success, and creating and embracing opportunities.  Making mindfulness happen has been a priority, so it has helped to reintroduce me to the wonder and possibility of each moment and each day.  Instead of concentrating on the past or simply looking to the future, I've worked to actually experience the present and enjoy it.  And that has made such a difference.

Perhaps coming to grips with his own age, my birthday twin, my new cousin-in-law, texted me this year saying, "30 is the new 20," and in some ways, I agree.  I don't sit around and long for 20 any more than I wish for my middle school years, but at 30, I am generally happier, clearer, more focused, more stable, and more realistically optimistic about what is in store than I had been at 20.  I am working to build my best life--and that includes my healthiest mind and body, my best and most consistent positive attitude, and strong, meaningful relationships.

I feel thankful that I've been able to grow and learn between 20 and 30 and I'm excited (but patient!) to learn what's in store for the next ten years.

What are the best things  you've learned in your age and life experience?

Labels: ,