Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Decades: Cheers and Challenges (30-40 years old)

I'm not sure what it is that makes turning 30 seem so scary.   Like many others I know, I too have fallen at times for the "30 is the end" syndrome.  Do you know anyone like that?  Maybe it's the expectation that after 30, we really have to start acting like adults.  Well, if you are dreading each year that you near 30, take heart, because based on the friends I've asked who are 30+, it seems like the 30's are not so bad after all.  Enjoy today's post and remember, your experiences will vary depending on what stage of life you're in.  Feel free to share what I didn't cover!

30-40 years old



Cheers:

  • You come to know yourself more - One person who is in her early 30's told me that she really enjoys this decade because during this time she knows more about herself and the world.  I find it comforting knowing that in your 30's you come to accept and know yourself more.  
  • Settling down - Settling down is one of the nice things about the 30-40 range.  Of course, not everyone gets married and has kids, but for a good number of people they are starting their life with someone, buying their first homes, having children, and building their families.  Thats pretty exciting.=)  If not all this, people in their 30's have at least determined a city to live in for the long term.  After running back and forth in your earlier years, it can be nice just to settle down.
  • Young and in a new stage of life - While you're no young lad, the 30's can be considered the beginning of the second third of your life.   I read this book that explained this concept about how your life is split mainly into three parts.  0-30 is a time of growth, 30-60 is when you work hard, accept yourself, and when you are building things up, and 60-90+ is a time where you reap what you sowed in your earlier years.  I love that! So while some people dread turning 30, I like to think of it as becoming young again because you are the baby in this second of three chapters of life.  Your whole life is ahead of you!
  • You're older but wiser - Listen, you may be older, but consider it a good thing because with age comes wisdom. You're young enough to still run around the block and play basketball with the young kids (sure you may feel slower) and you are now starting to accumulate the wisdom that makes you a better person.  Part of being wise is learning that not everything is in your control (someone told me that).  What we plan for our life we find does not always happen and as one person told me, this is when she learned to trust God more.  In our 20's we often think we're invincible, but in your 30's, you feel wiser and slower to think that you know it all.
  • You forget how old you are after you hit 30 - How true!  Apparently as someone else shared, you're too busy to keep track of how old you are.  
  • You start to appreciate your parents more - When we go through this stage in life, we stop trying to run away from our parents and start appreciating all they've done.  
Challenges:

  • Life is no longer all about you - In your 20's you could make decisions and have fun without having to think too much about anyone but yourself. It is a so called "selfish" time where you really think about what you want.  In your 30's and have a family, you're likely not thinking about what YOU want too often.  You've got to make lunch for your kids, your salary needs to pay for daycare, you've got to help with homework, pay the bills, etc. By the end of the day, if you wanted to work out or read a book to take care of yourself, you realize that your needs often are on the backburner.    A real challenge in the 30's is finding the time to balance everything that you want to do in life.  It's not just about you anymore.
  • Life is busy - Whether you're busy with work, kids, or whatever else, you're just plain busy. You've worked up to a more important position at work so they really "need" you there more hours.  While "being busy" is listed as a challenge, I'm not sure it always is. Being busy can also be seen as something positive.  When asking an older adult how they're doing, if they answer "busy", it often is a positive indicator that they're enjoying life.  Just a thought.
  • You need more naps - You don't have the energy you did a decade or two earlier yet you have to do so much more!  You need the naps, but again, there's not always time.  

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