Girl posing at beach on Great Ocean Road, Melbourne

Notes About Turning 30

November 15, 2011

in birthdays, life changes

I’ve been a total whinger about turning 30 this year.

After I turned 29, I spent many bar outings lamenting the onslaught of this next 10-pack of years. I focused on others’ youth, and danced on the line between twenty-something go-getter and thirty-something wise woman. I didn’t want to stay out late and binge drink anymore. But I still wanted to be the next shiny, new thing. Some parts of my career are still new, but I wanted others to see me as experienced.

Identity crisis, much?

A picture of me in a bar at 23.

At 23.

Yet it all makes sense why these feelings welled up in me. It is the very notion that at this point in life, I should be set. I am seven years removed from green, new graduate. All the allowances afforded me in my early 20s have evaporated. I’ve been a professional writer, in some capacity, for the last decade. I’ve also had lots of experience being a girlfriend, friend, daughter and sister.

Thirty is the point of no excuses.

And the thing is, once I finally got over this, I realized I was already living it. Things that used to make me lose my mind may still give me pause, but I handle them in the best way I know how. Trying to change people and their circumstances was once a primary goal of mine. Now I know I can’t – a truth I may have spoken in my 20s, but not quite believed.

Me at 25

At 25.

I’m still a baby at times. Too little sleep, food, space, respect, and I go a little insane. But I own it a bit easier now, the same way I own my temper, my insecurities and sensitivities. The front I put on throughout a lot of my 20s has fallen away, because it has to. Trying to pull a charade this far into life is useless. The result is that the chasm between the life I want and the life I live has all but disappeared. It takes this entire decade not only to figure out what you want, but to implement the steps to get there as well.

People write about, photograph and film youth for a reason. Effortless happiness, laughter and beauty are yours. But if you’ve learned how to take care of yourself in all areas, you’ll know how to be at your best. Now if I don’t get enough sleep, eggplant-colored saucers appear under my eyes. I will never again have the smooth, lineless cheeks I had the day I turned 20, nor will I ever be able to carelessly suck on a cigarette after my fourth margarita and not have the list of long-term consequences scrolling through my brain.

I see those physical truths as a blessing.

We’re all hot, young things in our 20s. Your 30s become about aging gracefully, about accepting that process and loving yourself all the more for it. Instead of worrying about slimming myself down to a size 2, I’ve finally not only accepted, but embraced, my curves and the way I’m built–the wide hips, the ears that stick out, the freckles on my face.

With just 20 days left of being in my 20s, I’m ready to let this decade go. It was one well-lived, full of love, professional success, travel, adventures, a new country to call home, family and true-blue friends. How could I not be excited about starting a new decade knowing fully who I am and having achieved several of my dreams?

Me at 29 on a boat in St. Lucia

It only gets better from here.

40 Comments - Add Yours!

  1. Christine

    You still look just as great at 29 as you did at 23! Seriously, you must not have been having too many four-margarita and cigarette nights 🙂 And remember, we’re only as old as we feel 🙂

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      That is very kind of you — I stopped the cigarettes for the most part by 25 😉 You are right, it’s all in the mindset and I won’t let a number stand in my way.

      Reply
  2. Shari

    I love this. You so wonderfully captured all the angst, and offered a great perspective about the milestone that is turning 30. It’s refreshing to see someone willing to embrace it, rather be in denial about it. However, I totally admit that my ego gets sucker punched every time my waiter/bartender does not card me.

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      Your kind words mean a lot to me, especially since we experienced a lot of this decade together. I get mad about the carding thing too sometimes, haha. Once in a blue moon, it still happens — but I think it’s because some Aussies look older even at young ages due to all this strong sun.

      Reply
  3. Adam

    I agree with Christine, you’re as pretty now at 30 as ever. Great article, you bring your special positive outlook to many things you write about.. which makes it a pleasure to read.

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      Adam, thank you so much. I feel like we’re all in this together in a way. It’s awesome to look back not only at the last 10 years, but also our childhood and adolescence to see how we’ve all grown.

      Reply
  4. Heather

    You always look super cute 🙂

    OWN the 30s 🙂 I think I’m already seeing it as a much better decade than the 20s — I think you’re right, you love and accept yourself more and perhaps have more confidence to take things on!

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      Says the person who seems to have found the fountain of youth, in both looks and spirit! I look forward to seeing where the 30s take both of us.

      Reply
  5. D. Frederick Attenborough

    Cumulative experience due to aging and maturity can lead to a rich and rewarding life. Well done! Great read!

    Reply
  6. Meg U

    Lauren,
    You are so incredibly inspiring! You make me look forward to 30! I can’t wait to see you in December!!!
    And you’re hotter now than you were at 23!
    Muah!!

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      Thank you, my dear. I look to people like you to keep me young! The food and catch-up last night was awesome — I’ll see you again next week!

      Reply
  7. Kate

    I agree with the masses when they said that you look just as beautiful at 23 as you do now. 🙂

    Turning 30 is always scary because it basically means you can’t get away with a lot of stuff or make as many excuses for your actions, but I think it’s key to embrace it. Because we’ve spent our 20’s making those mistakes and learning those lessons; now at 30 (and beyond) we get to really LIVE and appreciate what we’ve learned. And share the wisdom to the younger folk.

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      You are too sweet, Kate. You definitely seem to be getting a lot out of your 20s — you are ticking off the could’ves and should’ves and making them “did its”!

      Reply
  8. iliana

    Well written, Lauren! I don’t remember how I felt turning 30, but I feel similar to you now – a year away from my 40 🙂 With the ‘gap’ between my mental age and chronological age growing bigger, I’d say…don’t be slave to the numbers, enjoy who you are! And you are an inspiring young lady!

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      No need to be anxious pretty lady! I’m sure you’ll be just as fab in the next decade as you were in this one.

      Reply
  9. Erik

    I have 40 coming up next year and these milestones are easier for guys I think.

    I’m pretty circumspect about it- I guess that would be from the fact that I have looked over 40 for many years with all my gray hair. My wife is 6 years older than me but people always think its the other way around 🙂

    I love your attitude on it, a positive outlook can’t hurt. You are as young as you feel, I always say.

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      Maybe it’s the looks thing with guys. Society tends to be a little less harsh on guys as they get older, but the minute you spot a fine line on a woman’s face, it’s like her life is over. I like your take on it as well — doesn’t matter as long as you feel good.

      Reply
  10. Russell

    Like a fine wine, I think you’re only getting better with age, Lauren. Must be down to all that Australian sun and an endless supply of Vitamin D 🙂

    Reply
  11. Tony

    Happy birthday Lauren! I’ve got this to look forward to next year but I totes agree with what you’re saying. We’ve achieved so much to date and seen some amazing things. The next 10 should be just as good 🙂

    Reply
  12. Gerald

    Lauren, only known you a short while but that phrase you used about ‘going through 20’s putting on a front’ is probably going to ring true to many. As a person nigh on twice your age I still marvel at your succinct writing, and the depth of meaning you set down in just a few words. You are a frickin’ good writer. As for 30 – reckon the ensuing ten from twenty until now has given you a solid sense of good judgement, many experiences upon which you draw and we in turn benefit. You got wisdom, we get enjoyment.
    Fear not – the best is yet to come.

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      Gerald, your comments floored me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and compliments — it means a lot. Enjoy the last few weeks of 2011 and may much happiness come to you in the New Year.

      Reply
  13. Ayngelina

    I am sure every 30 year old woman will tell you this but your 30s are SO much better than your 20s. Things that seemed to matter in my 20s don’t bother me at all now. I haven’t settled down a bit so don’t think age makes you boring.

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      Thanks for the great comment Ayngelina. It certainly seems you are living your 30s to their fullest, and you’re a prime example of how life can just get more exciting.

      Reply
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