I’m a woman in my thirties. There, I said it. I’m in my mid-thirties, in fact. Does it scare me? No, I’m loving every second of it!
And what’s not to love?
Here are my top seven reasons why we should celebrate being in your thirties:
1. We know how to say ‘no’.
We’ve all been there. A friend asks us a favour and we feel guilty for saying ‘no’, so we just agree to it however unsuitable it is.
But at this age, we know how to refuse. We feel comfortable enough to do that if it doesn’t fit into our lifestyle/ good mood/ time. In the past, I have said ‘yes’ to things that I regretted later. Now if it’s really something I can’t do, I say: ‘I’m so sorry, but I really cannot help you with that. Could I do something else for you?’
This way you don’t offend anyone and you save your friendship. And the same applies to work.
I’ve recently gone to a job interview. I’ve just moved to a village near London and while I had a job as a freelance interpreter, I was looking for additional 2-days work as a Nanny.
I have met up with a single mother of two children; they lived in a stunning block of apartments and they were clearly well-off. But initially she made me wait for this interview until after she interviewed six other girls, because apparently ‘I asked for too much’. Now the hourly rate I stated was in fact less than other nannies got. Still, I went for that interview.
When I got there, she handed me a daily schedule of where I would take each child to and when. This was fine with me as I had a car and a full driving licence. But when I asked how much she would pay for petrol for all that ferrying around, she replied: ‘Nothing, the cost of petrol is already included in the hourly rate!
Obviously she wanted a very cheap taxi driver, not a nanny. Now in my younger years, I’d probably feel too shy to say anything there and then. As it was, I politely replied:
‘I’m sorry, but my hourly rate includes spending time with your children, not spending my petrol. If I’m to spend £15 a day or more on the petrol, then I’d like you to pay for it.’
She declined, saying she didn’t have enough money. I respectfully looked around the apartment, got up and left.
This goes to show: in your thirties, you know your value. You know your place in a society. You don’t let people pressure you into doing things you don’t want to do. That’s why I love being my age!
2. We know that long-term friends come and go from our lives.
I’m the type of person who likes to stick with my long-term friends. While they feel the same and keep our friendships going, there are times when I don’t hear from them for weeks, months, even years.
They move house, change jobs, settle into relationships. They make new friends that offer them what I can’t. This used to be difficult for me to accept, and respect, in the past. Now I know these friends come back when they are ready. So if this happens to you, here is my advice: Rather than resorting to a nasty text message or deleting them from Facebook for being a ‘computer friend’ only, give them time to need you and miss you. Let them know you are there for them no matter what. Don’t forget, old friendships are like old slippers; they might be worn out, but they are comfortable and you know exactly how they’ll feel when you put them on. Even though we might toy around with the idea of throwing them out and buying new ones, somehow it’s difficult. So just remember: if the relationship is worth saving, keep the door open for that person to come back.
3. We know when to end a relationship.
Our twenties are now safely behind us and we can hopefully concentrate on finding ‘the one’. Gone are the disastrous relationships: in are new, higher expectations and knowing we won’t settle for anything less than we deserve.
We feel completely different in our outlook on relationships than we did during our twenties. The requirement of finding the equivalent of Brad Pitt or greater is now replaced by finding a nice, caring man who we can imagine as being a father to our children. We don’t need perfect looks and a gym buff (although it helps if he’s got a great body ). We want someone who will respect, nurture and look after us.
When things are not right in a relationship, we find it easier to leave than we did in our twenties. Why? Because we are more comfortable in our own skin; we have our own careers and don’t rely on men to support us; and we have a great circle of friends, ideally in a same situation, who will see us through this difficult time.
But most importantly, we now know the time is too precious to be spent with a wrong person. We know we are not getting any younger; we don’t have the advantage of having years before us to meet someone new. So we leave.
Look at it from this point of view: if you’re not happy, chances are your partner isn’t, either. By leaving the relationship at the right time, you give yourself, and your partner, a chance to meet someone far more suitable.
4. We know how to live alone and we love it!
For many women, especially the ones that go from one relationship to another, the prospect of living alone is terrifying. And yet it gives you so much when you live alone.
I have only ever lived with my son’s father, meaning I’ve lived alone for the past 10 years, purely by choice. I simply have not met a man I’d share a house again with. Now I’m not saying every woman should do this; but if you only live with men because you’re scared of living alone, it’s wrong.
Living alone has so many advantages. The obvious one, of course, is that you are your own boss. You decide where and when you go out, you decide what TV system your house will have. You become great at managing your money and you nail arguing with the gas/ phone companies down to a fine art. You also learn how to get the best deals for your household.
I am now very capable of fixing anything around the house. I don’t need to call a man in for anything minor. Just this morning, I insulated my front door as the draughts coming in were too much. I didn’t know a thing about insulating, but did it stop me? No. I went to Wickes, I asked for detailed instructions, I bought everything I needed and spent all morning working on it. And now I’m sitting in a draught-free room.
So, ladies, don’t be afraid of getting out there on your own. It really is quite fun. And who knows, it could be your last chance of freedom! Who knows what’s around the corner? Mr Right finally, perhaps?
5. We enjoy ‘slowing down’ process and we embrace it.
So ladies, the truth is: in our thirties, the energy levels drop, sadly. If you still insist on going clubbing with your 20-something friends, wanting to keep up, at least don’t roll in at 4 am. Trust me, we don’t recover from heavy nights out easily anymore. If you are willing to spend an entire weekend in bed with a headache just because you had to visit that newest club, then do so.
But here is an idea: why not look at this, well, ageing process as something wonderful? Rather than fight it, why not enjoy it? Now it’s your chance to meet your friends in a quiet bar where you can ACTUALLY talk, as opposed to shouting out your order at the waiter in a night club. Now you can enjoy a romantic candle-lit, early evening dinner in a quiet restaurant. And if you feel a yawn coming on at 10 pm, just stifle it. The good news is that by 10.30 pm, you have a full right to go home at this age. Say something like: ‘I should start going, I need my beauty sleep! I’m not 20 anymore!’ and accompany it with a confident smile.
If you don’t have friends at similar age, now would be a great time to meet new friends. Ditch or, at least, limit the amount of times you go clubbing with your younger friends, and start looking around. You need friends your own age to enjoy a different side of life.
For me, the fact I don’t have to go clubbing anymore was a revelation. Late nights now fill me with dread, and it’s absolutely fine by me. After all, I’m now in my thirties- I wouldn’t expect anything else!
And same goes for our health. Our bodies are working differently now, so don’t push yourself to the limit. I’ve recently gone to my GP with some aches and pains, and he said: ‘That’s perfectly normal for your age!’
Now, was I going to take this remark as an offence or that he was saying I was old? No. I have changed the way I looked after myself. I started swimming, something I hated originally as, for me, it was a hassle. Now I enjoy it a bit more; I make sure I have plenty of time to relax in a sauna afterwards and I have a nice up of coffee later. For me, it’s all about connecting new changes in my life with happy memories.
6. We know we need little luxuries in life.
Girls, this is important. We have been to hell and back by now, most of us. We need little beautiful things in life that keep us going and happy. I’m not saying you should go and buy a new car if you had a bad day at work; no, treat yourself to something little. I found it’s the little things that put a huge smile on my face. And when I’m happy, everyone else around me is happy.
Yesterday I went to a farm I found nearby that sold wood for my fireplace. Just driving to this place made me so happy as it was nestled in a stunning countryside. It was snowing, too, so the drive there was really romantic.
When I got there, I found this place was so much more than a farm selling wood. They had little boutique shops dotted around the main farm; I was meant to hurry back home as I was working later on, but I took my time and looked around. Seeing all those hand-made items really made my day.
I then went to a coffee shop for a wonderful cappuccino and a chocolate cake. The place was empty, I came alone, but it didn’t stop me. The coffee shop owners kept me company; when they couldn’t, their large dog sat next to me. I left the place smiling and the rest of the day went by in a happy mood.
So do whatever it is that makes you happy. Always wanted to start dancing? Do it. It’s a perfect chance to meet new people.
I try to do something nice, just for me, every day. And it’s always little things that I call ‘life’s little luxuries’. Try it!
7. We know the time is going by too fast.
Yes, we know that. We are aware of that by now. We don’t have the bodies we used to have in our twenties. We don’t have wrinkle-free faces we used to have, and we might even find some very persistent grey hair. We don’t enjoy reading Cosmopolitan anymore- we like Woman & Home now, and Housekeeping. But do you know what?
We know how to value our lives now and we try to live every day as if it was our last. If we are in a bad job, we get out in a pursuit of a better one. If we are in a bad relationship, we end it. Most importantly, we know who we are. And we are absolutely fine with it. Yes, we are women in our thirties.