10 Things Every Woman In Her 30s Should Know

Photographed by Phoebe Chuason.
This story was originally published on September 4, 2015.
Let’s face it: There’s a pretty big stigma that comes with turning the big 3-0. As someone who has lived through it (I happen to be 31) and seen my friends hit that milestone birthday, too, I can safely say that one of the most common reactions to turning 30 is fear. Terrifying, all-consuming, keep-you-up-at-night fear. You’re no longer a carefree twentysomething, and for some reason, it feels like when you reach 30 years old, you’re automatically supposed to turn into a responsible adult who has every little thing figured out.

Well, I’m here to tell you a few things about turning 30. First of all, there is nothing to be scared of. I know that everyone is different, but the last year-and-a-half has been some of the best time of my life. I won’t say I wasn’t a little nervous about turning 30. I had the same worries that every other 29-year-old has. What if I don’t have my life figured out? What if I don’t have as much money as I thought I would have at 30? Am I now too old to have one too many cocktails and stay up until the sun comes up?

To me, it seems that because you’ve lived through those transformative twenties, once you hit 30, life is pretty wonderful. You’re more confident, you’ve learned important lessons, you have your true friends by your side, and you still have a ton of time ahead of you. And to be honest, I wish I knew all of these things when I was in my 20s (and even when I was a teenager).

1. There’s Plenty Of Time
Don’t panic. You still have plenty of time to figure out what you want to do with your life. Lots of people think that by 30, you are supposed to have it all figured out. I disagree. You have so much time to figure out if your career is right for you. Or if your significant other is the one you want to walk down the aisle with. Or even if you want to have some babies with that person.

Why not just be kind and humble, instead of insisting that you’re right?

2. It’s Not All About The Money
I wish that when I was in my twenties, I knew that my happiness and friendships and love (all of those things that make life great) are more important than the number on your paycheck. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t be very happy in your job while making a great living. But if you’re miserable at work (which usually translates to being a little bit miserable in life) but are justifying it because of some sort of prestigious title or exorbitant salary, I would recommend reevaluating — and maybe even making a change.

Relationships Are Everything
The people you love are the most important things in your life. Work is important and so is your relationship with yourself, but as human beings, we need other people. And it can be easy to isolate, especially when things gets hectic or times are tough. But the relationships that you have with others can help get you through anything. They are the ones that will help you through the bad times and party with you when there’s something to celebrate.

4. This Too Shall Pass
This is a mantra that I say to myself on a daily basis. And it’s not just when I’m going through something difficult. A good friend taught me that this saying not only helps you through the hard times, but also makes you appreciate when things are really, really good. Because knowing that something amazing is going to be over makes you appreciate that happy moment even more.

5. All You Have To Do Is Ask
Sometimes it’s really that easy. You want a raise? You want to know where your relationship is going? You’re curious as to how many calories are in those glass noodles? Often, if you simply ask for what you want, you’ll get it. And if you don’t, at least you’ll have some clarity into the situation. For more on this, read my post about asking for what you want.
6. Give Back
It will make your life better. And it will make other people’s lives better. Being of service to someone in need is probably the most important thing that all of us can do. You never know when you’re going to be that person in need. And selfishly, it makes you feel good. There is nothing more rewarding than lending a helping hand. If you’re looking for ways to give back, check out this blog post for some ideas.

The people you love are the most important things in your life.

7. Stop Comparing
This is a tough one to follow, but it’s important for all of us to stop comparing ourselves to others. I saw a quote the other day that said, “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle,” and it stuck with me. Everyone is on a different timeline. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Everyone wishes they had something that someone else has. Comparing yourself to others is a vicious, never-ending cycle. So stop wishing you had someone else’s hair or job or significant other and start loving all of the amazing things that you do have.

8. Be Kind
It’s much more important than being right or having the last word. What’s the point in proving to someone that you know the answers when it’s going to cause a riff? Why not just be kind and humble instead of insisting that you’re right? Trust me on this one: It feels much better to be close with someone than to prove them wrong.
9. Balance Your Budget
By the time you hit 30, it’s important to know how to manage your money. Working with a great accountant definitely helps, but there’s a lot you can do on your own, too. Build up your credit, start a 401k or IRA account, and check your balances on a regular basis. To get some tips, read our Smart Girl’s Guide to Money Management and also our blog about How to Stick With Your Budget.

10. You Are Loved
This one isn’t necessarily only for those thirtysomethings. It’s for every single person out there. You are loved and I hope you know it! I could probably go on and on, but that’s the main gist of it.

Do you have any others to add to the list?

xo Rachel
Team LC

More from Living


R29 Original Series