Our culture maintains a certain stigma around women over the age of twenty-nine, one that tends to marginalize them or give a sense that they should be, if nothing else, pitied. Talk to any woman actually in her thirties, however, and you’ll quickly learn that she is likely happier than she’s ever been and, despite some uncomfortable and challenging changes in her life, has absolutely zero desire to turn back the clock. Here, 10 things all women entering this phase of life know.
10 Things Every Woman In Her 30s Knows
By the time you reach your thirties, a good percentage of those in your circle of friends are in the marriage-and-babies phase of life. Others have moved out of town, are at an elevated and therefore demanding stage of their career, or have made newer close friendships that better suit their phase of life. It's therefore nearly impossible to stay in touch with even the closest of friends from your twenties without making a concerted effort to do so, which can feel frustrating and sad at times. The upside to this, however, is that you've likely made new friends based on the person you've grown into and the common interests you share, which can make for incredibly healthy and fulfilling relationships.
You did it too, so try not to hate on them for it. We've heard, "My worst nightmare is to be [in a club, single, etc.] at 30" and "The 36 year-old guy I'm dating says he would never date a woman in her 30s because they're so desperate to get married," and on and on it goes. Just remember that one day, these pretty young things will also turn 30, and use these moments to check yourself on the mindlessly ageist things you may be saying as well.
If you're an unmarried woman as you enter your thirties, people bring it up to you a lot. If you don't seem to be on your way to becoming not single or, worse, you have yet to voice your concern over your relationship status, you often become a curiosity of sorts: "But, don't you want to get married?" We're not sure why people get stressed out by seeing that you're not stressed out, but they definitely do. If you are in a relationship, this awkward concern shifts into worries over your plans to procreate. Why anyone else cares what you do or when you do it (aside from your parents, of course) is beyond us, but this seems to be an inevitable side effect of turning 30.
Whether or not you've had kids, your body changes in your thirties. To us, this change is more noticeable than anything happening to our faces, and it can be hard to handle, mentally. The best medicine for any negative feelings this may provoke is participating in the types of exercise that make you happy—whether it's dance or SoulCycle or a long run—nutritious eating, and meditation on simple gratitude for being healthy and alive.
Your libido skyrockets in your thirties, as your biology seemingly wants you to have babies even more than your mother does. You may also experience what we call "baby hypnosis", which is when babies enter the room and you suddenly lose your ability to focus on anything but their pudgy little faces. It's embarrassing and often disconcerting—especially when you find yourself asking to hold a stranger's infant—but it's all part of turning the big 3-0.
If you're in an unfulfilling job, by your thirties you may be starting to feel like it's not enough, no matter how much money you're pulling in. Ironically, this tends to happen at a time in your life when your earning potential is more important than ever, which means you may end up with a tough decision to make between prioritizing either your finances or your happiness. Before you jump into something new, we suggest you think long and hard about what truly makes you happy. For some, financial security has a huge impact on happiness, so if you were to go into a lower paying but more fulfilling career field, you may not get the serotonin boost you were aiming for.
In your twenties, you tend to "swim in a school" of likeminded "fish." By your thirties, this is much less so the case, which can cause you to feel greater insecurities about your life as compared to those of other people you know. We cope with this phenomenon by immediately re-shifting our thoughts to our own goals and desires whenever they drift to comparing our current status with that of anyone else. It works every time.
When you're in your twenties, you care about absolutely everything. You care what so-and-so's boyfriend thinks of you, what party your friends got invited to that you did not, what your ex-boyfriend from five years ago is doing on Instagram, etc. In your thirties, you don't have the energy to care about all of those unnecessary and ultimately unimportant details. This is far and away the most liberating aspect of entering this decade.
Sometimes, ageist comments, articles, etc. still bother you. At other times, it's hard not to be irked by commentary on your relationship status or baby status. Still, for the most part, you know yourself so well by now that you know you're making the best decisions you can for yourself, and it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks. What does matter? If you're happy. You know by your thirties that if you're being honest and authentic, some people are inevitably going to judge you or dislike you, and that the "am I happy?" or "does this make me happy?" gut check is the only thing that truly counts.
Or you do, until you spend any significant amount of time with girls in their twenties, at which point you realize that their lives are exhausting, that their insecurities are innumerable, and that you are, by comparison, pretty content. You've seen a lot, experienced a lot, loved a lot, failed a lot, and probably hit rock bottom once or twice. You've also learned the lessons from it all, which means you're likely just in a much better place, mentally, than you ever were in your twenties.