This Is Life In Your 30s

by Sa'iyda Shabazz
Originally Published: 
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I have never dreaded anything more than I dreaded turning 30. Society has always placed such a large amount of pressure on turning 30 that every second I got closer to it filled me with a feeling of overwhelming angst.

We have been made to feel that by 30, we’re supposed to have our shit together. 30 means that you’re an “adult,” and you need to have it all figured out. Of course, once you turn 30, you realize how laughable that is, but before you get there, this is what you’re lead to believe.

As I approached my 30th birthday, I went from overwhelming dread to apathetic numbness. I did not feel like my life was even close to “together.” And I felt even less like an adult than I had a year or two before. I remember everyone asking me how I planned on celebrating, but I didn’t even want to acknowledge my birthday that year.


Then something slowly started to shift during my 30th year. I don’t know what it was exactly, but somewhere in there, my give-a-fuck valve broke. I was fresh out of fucks. I no longer cared about a lot of things I cared about in my 20s. If I wanted to wear leggings covered in unicorns, I fucking did it. I also started to feel more comfortable about getting older. Bring it on.

So this is life in your 30s:

Your 30s are about physical changes, namely that your body will start to fail you in every day, in one way or another. I often describe myself as “needing a lumbar support pillow years old.” I also didn’t think I’d have to pee every 20 minutes, and yet here we are.

“My knees hurt… If ever I forget I’m not in my 20s my knees are there to remind me they are 34 years old.” — Elizabeth I.


Your 30s are about acknowledging those changes to your body. When the same meal you’d eat every day at 24 gives you heartburn after three bites at 33, you just don’t want to hear it. Sure, I should scale back the amount of dairy I consume. Will I? Absolutely not, because cheese is life. I’ll just happily suffer while I shit my brains out.

“Being in your 30s means knowing you should eat something with flax in it for breakfast but you’re probably still going to eat that breakfast burrito.” — Halley K.

Your 30s are about admitting how absolutely fucking clueless you are about stuff. Some days, I just do not know how to adult. I’ve had to Google things that I should definitely know by this age. I don’t fully understand how Snapchat works. I don’t know the most popular song on the radio anymore. It is what it is.

“I worry less in my thirties because I’ve also realized that I don’t know a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g, and that is liberating.” — Brett W.


Your 30s mean not giving a rat’s ass about societal expectations. We know that when we’re ready for it, we’re gonna smash it, whether that be career, romantic relationships or having kids.

“I laugh at all the people who say ‘if you want kids you better get started or it will be too late–you’ll be too old’ cuz once I’m ready I’ll be like ‘hold my beer.’” — Hayley D.

Your 30s are about knowing what works best for you and what doesn’t. Beauty trends are so overwhelming. Our skin still breaks out, and we tend to abuse our hair in so many ways. We pour chemicals on it, we fry it, we really kill it. But then, suddenly, a light bulb goes off and you start taking care of yourself. You buy a good moisturizer, and you do that deep conditioning.

(Side note: I’d like to apologize my eyebrows for the over-tweezing I did in my teens. I was an asshole, but they were in style back then.)

“I have a better understanding of how to deal with my hair.” — Jess L.

Being in your 30s means knowing that “NO” is a complete sentence. For much of our young lives, we are conditioned to say “yes” to everything: that creepy but potentially nice person who wants to go out on a date, working an extra six hour shift at work, couch-surfing to save money. But then we hit our 30s and we look back and say “Why the fuck did I do that? I could have, and should have, said no.”


Here’s the thing though: it’s not just about saying no. It’s about the practice of saying no and not attaching anything else to it. If we don’t want to go out for dinner, we say “no thank you,” as opposed to feeling guilty and giving a million excuses.

“I’m more okay with saying ‘no’ to things I don’t want to do. (Which now includes sleeping on floors, couches, and anything that isn’t a bed, because my 31-year-old body can’t take it!)” — Amanda G.

Being in your 30s means trying hard to maintain friendships. You just get so bogged down by the reality of your own life that you kind of forget about other people. Even in the age of social media, we still have to take the time to nurture those important relationships. Being in my 30s has shown me which relationships are worth the time to nurture, and which ones I’m okay with letting lag behind a bit

“Being in your 30s means you have to be more intentional about friendships/relationships or else they might dissolve.” — Erin C.

But perhaps most importantly, being in your 30s means your selfishness has a deeper meaning behind it. Putting yourself first isn’t meant as a slight to anyone else; we’ve just realized that the only way to be the best version of ourselves, and to be able to give of ourselves, we have to appear on our own radar. Can’t pour from an empty cup, right?

Much like Linda Evangelista in the ’90s, we know that we won’t get out of bed for something that is not going to be worth our time. And why should we? Our bed (or the couch) is the best place in the world to be. Pajama pants and leggings are the best things ever invented. While we may not have it all (or any of it) figured out, we now know there is no shame in that.


And frankly, we don’t give a fuck.

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