13 Things You Learn When You’re In Your 30s

July 22, 2016

We’re all going to die. Let’s at least buy decent bras.

Now that I’ve turned 40, I know a few things about life.

At least, that’s what I tell my daughters when they flagrantly disregard me and refuse to listen to any of my hard-won wisdom. My twenties may have been a blur, but in my thirties, I really did learn a few things.

Unfortunately, just because I know better doesn’t mean I do better. Here are 13 lessons I learned in my thirties that I’m still trying to take to heart…

1. Expensive shoes are worth it

Cheap shoes, uncomfortable shoes, ridiculously high-heeled shoes – I’ve suffered through them all. But somewhere in my thirties, I realized that hobbling around for days after dancing in ill-fitting heels wasn’t worth it. Same goes for shoes that give me blisters, or shoes that don’t go with anything. Money spent on comfortable, fashionable, well-fitting shoes is always money well spent.

2. Drugstore makeup is always a mistake

How many chalky lipsticks and $1 eyeshadows did I have to buy before I learned that drugstore makeup is almost invariably crappy?

Now I splurge at Sephora or I don’t bother at all. I’d rather go bare-faced than play around with cheap makeup. Maybe I could get away with that when I was 25. But by your thirties, you need the good stuff.

3. Buy lots of new underwear, frequently

You know those stained, stretched-out panties with the holes in the waistband? The kind you supposedly only keep around for shark week, but which seem to multiply in your drawer? I throw them out now.

It’s kind of a revelation – and it’s not that expensive. Just hit up the Victoria’s Secret panty party sale every couple of months. It’s so worth it.

4. A decent bra is an investment you’ll never regret

Once you’re in your thirties, you don’t want to mess around anymore. Your girls deserve to be well-supported. Now’s when you’ll actually bite the bullet and go get fitted at a fancy lingerie shop and shell out for a great bra.

Also, bras have a much shorter lifespan than you thought they did when you were in your twenties. Elastic wears out; who knew?

5. A good night’s sleep can fix a lot of things

You know how they say you should never go to bed mad? That’s BS. The times when I’m all worked up about something are usually the times I most need to just GO. TF. TO. BED.

After eight hours of rest, the world always looks brighter. Go ahead – let the sun go down on your anger. It’ll all be okay in the morning.

6. Weddings are overrated

In your thirties, you weather a lot of weddings – maybe your own, definitely plenty of your friends’. You also see a few miserable marriages up close, and if you’re lucky, a couple of good ones too.

At least one of your friends will probably go through a nasty divorce. Or maybe you will. Whatever your marital status, you learn that a fairytale wedding doesn’t often (or maybe ever) correlate to a happily-ever-after marriage.

7. You’re not invincible

When you’re in your twenties, you take all kinds of risks, thinking nothing bad can ever really happen to you. I used to walk down dark streets in the middle of the night, go on hikes by myself, eat fast food – alllll kinds of crazy things. But at some point you realize…

8. We’re all going to die

Does anyone get through their thirties without losing someone unexpectedly? Whether it’s a friend, a parent, a child, a friend’s child, or the guy you bought a bagel from at the deli every morning, the sudden death of people close to you makes you realize that death is coming for us all – and that it’s going to be a more and more frequent part of life from here on out.

And that in turn makes you take on a new appreciation of those closest to you, and make time for friends more often.

9. You’ll regret the things you didn’t do far more than the things you did

Maybe it’s just me, but the older I get, the more willing I am to give stuff a go. Every day I’m more vividly aware that life is fucking short.

You get to be a certain age, and you don’t want to live the rest of your life looking backward, wondering what if. Getting older teaches you the value of just saying yes.

10. Telling lies will ALWAYS comes back to bite you in the ass

For one thing, my memory is getting too fuzzy to keep track of whatever cockamamie stories I’ve invented to cover my ass. And for another, it’s just not worth it. Lying makes my stomach hurt. In 40 years, it’s never not come back to haunt me.

11. People don’t actually change that much

This is either comforting or completely terrifying; I haven’t figured out which. But the truth is, we stay the same people, deep down. At least, I think we do. Or maybe I just quit therapy too soon.

12. Forty isn’t that old

There was a time when the thought of turning 40 brought this image to mind. Then you moved into your late thirties and realize a few more years under your belt aren’t suddenly going to see you transform into your miserly old English school teacher.

13. You really do need your friends

If I learned anything at all during my thirties, it’s that friends are the most important part of life. The people who love you just as you are, who make you laugh when you most need it, who show up when you’re sick, or sad, or just lonely? They’re everything.

If you’re lucky enough to have good friends in your life, never let them go. Don’t be a shitty friend and blow them off when you get coupled up or don’t feel up to leaving the couch. Grab your coat and go show up for them. Make the effort to check in on them and make plans together. These are the people who will be there for you no matter what happens in your romantic relationships, career or otherwise. And together, you can handle whatever the next 40 years throws at you.

GIFs via giphy.com.

Comment: What have you learned – or do you  hope to learn – in your thirties?

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