Turning 30 is not something I looked forward to. As a 'strong, independent woman' I also feel I really shouldn't be making that statement. After all, there is article after article dedicated to 'embracing the new decade' and finally leaving your twenties behind. There's also those ones about the 'top 30 things to do before 30', as if life ends once you hit the big three zero.
Well, I've given that list a red-hot go, but I'm far from completing it.
Sure, at the age of 30 I have probably traveled to more places than the average Joe will in their lifetime. I have lived in two countries, worked and paid taxes at nine different companies, and been lucky enough to experience love. However, I would also kidding myself if I thought I had it all. There are things I am still yet to do which many others have already ticked off (buy a house, fill it with babies) and I accept that. There is a time and place for everyone to do things if they so choose, and that's okay.
But does this also mean those of us freshly thrown into our thirties aren't allowed to stress about these things a little from time to time? Are we expected to act as grown ups now and politely muffle those irrational thoughts?
All throughout your twenties you were allowed to travel, make mistakes, fall in love and get hurt. Many. Times. Now all of a sudden, because you've turned 30, you're supposed to have it all figured out. And if you don't? Well that's your fault. Don't complain. Be more adult.
How many of us can relate to that irritating feeling when voicing our concerns of not having it all together, or receiving an uncomfortable look of pity from family and friends along with the 'everything happens for a reason' speech? It's not their fault really. They are just trying to help, and because you have never said any of these things out loud before (because you were an invincible twenty-something year old), now they are at a loss for what to say. They thought you were fine -- for the past few years you have been happily showering others with engagement gifts and baby presents with no complaint. They had no idea you were silently cursing your friends invitation to another Insta-fabulous wedding.
I am here to tell you I totally get it. And there's no need to panic (although I quietly did). Just because your best friend now has a baby, it doesn't mean you never will or that you have to. Just because everyone else seems to be paying off their mortgages like proper adults while you're still renting an overpriced apartment, there's nothing to worry about. You have your whole life to settle in one place. Enjoy the city life/beach-side life/ex-pat life while you can, because I guarantee you they are also partly jealous of your freedom to pack up and go. Change will happen, but not necessarily for the worst.
Adulting is hard. Even the people that make it look like they have everything on social media aren't perfect, and are secretly wishing for that one element in their life that's missing. It may be a better relationship with their parents, a more attentive husband, a better paying job, you name it. No one is perfect so no one should expect you to have it all together by the time you're 30.
The trick is to acknowledge these fears and then just get on with life in your thirties, complaints and all. You're allowed breathing room. If you don't have it all figured out yet, that's okay. And it's okay to talk about it. After all, you cried, loved and laughed your way through your entire twenties. You more than likely learned some valuable life lessons along the way (like sustaining platinum blonde hair is not actually possible).
There are plenty more lessons to learn in our thirties of an entirely different kind, so look forward to the adventure of that. After all, when you think about it, do you really want to go back to your early twenties? If you spend any time around this age group nowadays you will realise that you are in fact, definitely 30.
I turned 30 this year and I'm freaking out. But that's okay. Because 30-year-olds also care less about what people think, and can afford better cocktails.
Espresso Martini anyone?