How many of these can you check off the list?
As I blew the candles out on my last birthday cake, the fact I’d soon be hitting the big three-oh was now impossible to ignore. The thought of turning 30 didn’t make me feel ‘settled’, as friends who’d already been there and done that assured me; it made me feel downright terrified.
After all, my bucket list was lacking several major ticks I’d expected to have neatly packed away into the ‘done’ cabinet by now. (Not the least being married to my teen heartthrob Nick Carter and finally dyeing my hair neon blue.)
Even my more realistic goals still feel far flung. I don’t quite have my dream career. I’m single with no prospect of kids anywhere in the near future, and, if I’m to be completely honest, I have no hard plans for my future beyond what I’m going to be wearing out to drinks this weekend (FYI it’s an ASOS jumpsuit, because everything is better in flowy pants).
My carefree 20s are almost at an end, and steadily approaching the big three-oh means I’ve officially reached the point of no return for adulthood. I have to confront my life head on. And maybe finally kick my daily Snickers bar habit. But that’s a story for another day…
While we all live our lives differently and have our own unique goals that tend to evolve as we grow up (eloping backstage with a Backstreet Boy seemed so much more realistic when I was 17…), there are some universal prerequisites we should all look to check off before blowing out those candles, which include…
1. Finally reaching a point where you don’t feel the need to torture yourself in clothes that aren’t comfortable
Remember your mom telling you ‘beauty is pain’? Screw that. Ditch the heels and rock those yoga pants to the shops if you want to, and don’t give a damn about what anyone else thinks. You’re too old for that crap.
2. Figuring out you actually have to eat a balanced diet
Pizza is amazing, but scoffing down junk food every day is no longer consequence-free like it was in your 20s. Make sure there are some vegetables in your meals or prepare to feel like walking death all the time.
3. Dealing with your commitment issues
You don’t have to find your soulmate by 30, but you should be in a place where the idea of a relationship doesn’t make you scream and run for the hills by the time you exit your hookup-fuelled 20s.
4. Learning how to handle your money
Your 30s is the time to finally get adulting with your finances. That means combining your superannuation accounts, learning how your tax works and actually having a savings account (that has real money in it and isn’t just collecting dust) so you aren’t broke all the time.
5. Making time for exercize
By the time you’re 30, you should have found at least one kind of exercize that doesn’t make you physically cringe, whether that’s running, kickboxing, cross-fit or something totally out of the box like pole dancing. Find your ‘thing’ and use it to have fun, relieve stress, and take care of your body, ‘cause it’s the only one you have!
6. Noticing strangers don’t actually care as much about you as you think
So much of our time in our teens and 20s is spent worrying about what others will think of us, but once you hit 30 you realize strangers don’t actually notice if your nail color matches your outfit or you don’t have the latest cool shoes. Stop caring so much about what other people think, because it’s a massive load off your mind once you start living for yourself, and not for others.
7. Ditching your toxic relationships
Life’s too short to spend time around people who bring you down. When you’re in your 30s, you shouldn’t still be hanging out with any friends who aren’t good for you. This goes for romantic relationships as well, and sometimes even family members. Don’t have anyone in your life who doesn’t enrich your world by being in it.
8. Going to the doctor for regular check-ups
Your health is the most important thing, and by the time you’re 30, you should be prioritizing it above nearly everything else. Actually go see a doctor when you feel sick instead of taking two painkillers and hoping for the best, and as expensive (and painful) as it is, you should be going to the dentist as well.
9. Investing in life insurance
You know you’ve officially made it as an adult once you start thinking about getting insurance in case the worst was to happen to you- that if you pass away, your loved ones will have help to cope financially. Signing up for life insurance can be a pretty daunting experience though, because no-one wants to think about dying, so it’s best to talk to an expert company, who can help put together a plan for you and give you peace of mind about your future.
10. Finding a job you don’t absolutely despise
At some point or another in our lives, we all work a job we hate. But by the time you’re 30, you should have a gig that doesn’t make you curl into the fetal position when the alarm goes off Monday morning. Sure, no job is perfect: sometimes deadlines make it hard to love what you do or you might have an awful boss who makes your life hell, but if you’re doing something you like, at least you’ll feel fulfilled. Dead-end jobs that crush your soul are for your 20s; ditch them and find what you love.
11. Becoming organized
You don’t have to completely have everything totally together – no one ever does – but making sure your life is organized in your own way (even if that means an organized mess) will make navigating challenges a hell of a lot easier. Trying to fit your career, a social life, family time and ‘me time’ into 24 hours a day is hard and being organized will pay off in the long run.
12. Know how to cook
If your cooking repertoire still consists of mac’n’cheese and beans on toast, it’s time to take a cooking class. Sure, getting food delivered is sometimes much easier, but nothing beats a home cooked meal, and your health and your bank account will thank you. Start by simply focusing on learning a couple of easy recipes and nailing them, then practice by putting on a very 30s-appropriate dinner party with all your friends.
13. Finally reach a place where you’re comfortable with yourself
When you’re in your 20s, the idea that you would one day be happy with your body and who you are can seem almost too impossible to even entertain. But before you’re 30, this place seems a lot more achievable. You might not be 100 per cent happy with who you are, but you will eventually be somewhere near that point, and that level of self-confidence is an amazing milestone to reach. You’ve got this!
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Comment: What things do you think you should have done by the time you’re 30?