By Vicki Little
I remember dreading my 30th birthday. I felt so old, like the “young” part of my life was over. Now that I am almost 40, I realize that the past 10 years were some of my best in terms of coming into my own as a woman. We spent our childhood growing and learning within the safe boundaries set by our parents, our teen years were spent learning about how to relate to others, and our 20s found us figuring out how to live on our own. Our 30s are the perfect time to learn more about ourselves and what we are capable of. Here are 10 things that every woman in her 30s must do.
1) Realize that your significant other can’t be everything to you. Your better half should be someone you want to have around, not someone you need to have around. Become confident and get comfortable in the knowledge that you can take care of yourself, and that you will be OK if — for whatever reason — your significant other is suddenly not there anymore.
2) Travel. Go somewhere you have always wanted to go, take a really long road trip to a place you have never been, or visit a country that intrigues you. Either alone or with a friend, experience different cultures and traditions and try something new.
3) Fix something major. It is strangely empowering to take on the task of accomplishing something you don’t think you can do. Replace a toilet, plant a garden, create a play space under the stairs, install tiles or whatever. Just be sure it is something big enough that it makes you a bit nervous — and that you’ve never done it before.
4) Have a conversation with someone who has the complete opposite viewpoint as you. This can certainly be frustrating, but it is vital to expanding your knowledge and opinions. How can you fully support an idea if you haven’t heard the opposite side of it? Worst-case scenario: You may change your opinion. Best-case scenario: You will be able to provide a stronger debate for your current viewpoint in the future. Either way, you will end up with more understanding and tolerance for other viewpoints.
5) Accept that sometimes both people can be wrong/right, and nobody wins. Everyone has something they feel strongly about, and when someone disagrees with us on that particular topic, sparks can fly. While it is completely normal and healthy to have discussions and disagreements, sometimes it gets to the point where we need to agree to disagree. Taking that to a slightly different level, though, women in their 30’s should accept that it is possible the other person is right — either totally or partially. It is the old tomato vs. tom-AH-to analogy. Both people can be right, but if they continue to argue and become bitter, they will both lose.
6) Stop comparing. There will always be someone you think has it better than you. And there will always be someone who thinks you have it better than they do. Whether it is about parenting, careers, houses, income or weight, you will always be able to find someone you envy. The trick is to stop wasting time being a green-eyed monster and start changing the way you think about your situation. Instead of focusing on the extra five pounds (that your husband probably LOVES anyway), think about how your desserts are the most popular thing at the party and, dang it, you are going to enjoy them! Or see it as an opportunity to try out something new like bike riding. What works for one does not work for another.
7) Maintain a balanced budget. No, it certainly isn’t fun, but it is necessary. And you will be much happier in the long run. If you don’t have a budget written out so you can refer to it come payday, then you can easily rationalize that you can afford those killer new shoes. Be sure to include savings in your budget so you can handle an emergency or car repair if it comes your way.
8) Take better care of yourself. Despite our best efforts, years will fly by — leaving behind laugh lines, droopy skin, slower metabolisms and joints that can predict the weather. When we turn 30, it becomes even more important to get regular exercise, eat healthier foods, get plenty of rest and take time for ourselves. Focus on your body, mind, heart and even your spirituality.
9) Say NO, without feeling guilty or offering excuses. At some point, being busy and overly scheduled became the new norm. Moms are particularly prone to volunteer to do something to help someone else — even if they don’t have room in their schedules to accomplish the task easily. Just say no. You don’t have to come up with an excuse — that is the great thing about being an adult. If you say yes, it is important to commit, but if you say no, that is all you need. You don’t have to attend every gathering, volunteer at every function, or always step in when someone else drops the ball. YOU are worth taking care of, and your family will thank you for it.
10) Take significant steps towards a dream of yours. Dream job, dream car, dream house, dream whatever. Sometimes it feels like now that you are in your 30’s your life is decided. This isn’t true. You still have plenty of time to go back to school, learn ballet, backpack through Europe or whatever else has settled deep in your heart. Don’t just think about it or read about it, do something big enough that will make you follow through with it. Even if your goal isn’t accomplished while you are still in your 30s, you will be much closer than you were in your 20’s!
What do you think women in their 30’s should do?
Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two young kids. A Colorado native, she is the Publisher and Editor of Macaroni Kid Aurora and Downtown Denver. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, reading, camping, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends.
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