Like everyone else, I slightly dreaded turning 30 when I was in my late 20s. It seemed a little frightening to me to think that I was no longer very young, that I was “getting older,” and that time was running out for me when I still had a lot of things I hadn’t accomplished. Now that I’m in my 30s, I have to admit that it felt pretty damn good. Let’s set aside the joints’ cracking and popping as well as the backache for a moment—and OK! I’m not as physically fit as Jennifer Lopez, who defies aging with a phenomenal figure and the ability to pole dance in her 50s (#cryinginside, I aspire to be like that), but I’m here to tell you that getting older isn’t all bad. My 30s have been wonderful, even better than my 20s in so many ways. There is no denying that. With each passing year, the internal side of my life—such as my attitude, my personality, and my outlook on life—gets better and better. You can trust me on this: as much as you don’t want to reach 30, you will eventually, and once you do, things will start to fall into place for you.
There have been lots of changes over the past decade: prime ministers, mobile phone sizes, my cat’s belly, my neighbor’s husband, my mom’s anger, and Justin Bieber’s hairstyle. 😁 However, the following are the most major life changes I’ve noticed in my 30s.
In my 20s: While many people spend their 20s having fun, enjoying their lives, partying with friends, going to clubs and pubs, etc. I spent my 20s mostly working. Other than my full-time job, I was also involved in modelling and had a small business as a side hustle. My days were filled with work, photoshoots, and fashion shows, and they often ended late at night. I basically worked 24/7. I never really had much of this “fun nightlife,” but I frequently found myself being outside my home until late at night hanging out with friends, which was pretty much just for a meal, movies, or work-related reasons.
In my 30s: After my cholesteatoma surgery, I stopped working so much. I began to prioritize my own well-being and learned to be grateful for what I have in my life. I started traveling, spending more time with people I love, taking good care of my body, and engaging in activities that brought me happiness. When I have free time, I prefer to stay at home—watch movies or TV shows, read books, play video games, and of course, write! You will find me making numerous excuses to avoid being outside, especially at night. If someone managed to convince me to go out, let’s say for dinner, getting home by 10 p.m. is non-negotiable.
Arguments with people.
In my 20s: One of my ex-boyfriends used to say, “You’re always angry.” 🤣 He was right. I had anger issues and was easily irritated. People who met me in my 30s will never believe that I ever had anger issues. It’s gradually fading as I get older. Back then, even the slightest inconvenience could set me off. Whenever there was a disagreement, I felt the urge to speak up as soon as I could so that I could either express my opinions, voice my disagreement, or convey exactly how I felt. I responded to every hater, criticism, and negative word that has been made about me, and I continue to argue with them basically only to justify myself.
In my 30s: I’ve learned to value my peace and have become more patient and the level of patience that I now possess is ridiculously high. When I’m angry, hurt, annoyed, frustrated, disappointed, or in disagreement with someone, I’ll take a few deep breaths and remove myself from the situation. Whenever I feel overwhelmed by an issue, I often resort to music to calm me down before I can return to processing the issue with my right mind. My approach shifts now when I’m in my 30s. I pick my battles. For the most part, I try to stay out of arguments, especially with the people I care about. I don’t want to be the kind of person who just blurts things out when she’s upset and then later regrets it. Now, I have better control over my emotions. People are free to think or say whatever they want about me. I don’t bother to explain myself anymore because I’m aware that in the end, time will tell.
Dating and relationships.
In my 20s: I have the impression that I spent my 20s searching for the right one because I hoped to get married before I turned 28. I had a tendency to seek happiness in others. This could be because I was spending the majority of my time alone at the time and assumed I needed a partner. I became super clingy whenever I had a partner—it didn’t matter whether it was serious or not. It bothered me a lot if I didn’t always get his attention. If any guy left or rejected me, my ego took over, and I started sending long, stupid messages to express my feelings. Yes, I was that dumb girl—kill me, please. Haha. If I must be honest, I was also insecure and totally immature. I didn’t know myself well or what I wanted, and I got jealous over silly things. I also had to put up with mistreatment and abuse that I didn’t deserve just to avoid being left alone. For a very long time, I had this false idea in my mind that my happiness depended on the happiness of my partner.
In my 30s: Practicing self-love is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I enjoy having my freedom now, and I’m truly happy being on my own. I’m glad I didn’t get married when I was in my 20s because it wasn’t until I hit my 30s that I started to have clarity about who I am and what I want. Being single for a long time and staying away from men truly helped me focus on myself and, ultimately, find peace with being alone. I won’t allow anyone to come into my life and ruin it. If they don’t contribute in any way that could increase my happiness, I don’t bother to keep them in my life.
I also don’t actively seek to engage with men, but if I develop an interest in someone, he will receive my undivided attention. However, I will make sure my efforts match his level of interest. If there’s a lack of effort, I’ll know where I stand. It’s that simple. The most important thing is that we value each other’s time and feelings. I know my worth and that I have the ability to bring happiness to someone’s life; therefore, I deserve the same in return. If I get rejected or something, my only response will be “Okay,”—trusting in what’s meant to be. If I find my soulmate, okay. If I don’t, that’s still okay. I’m content with my life as it is.
In my 20s: Back in the day, I had a huge social circle. I really had no problem finding someone to talk to and hang out with, no matter where I went. I was friendly to everyone and surrounded myself with different kinds of people, regardless of the fact that some of them can be really toxic to me. I had this fake life too, where I tried to blend in and pretend to be someone I wasn’t when I didn’t feel like I belonged. I eventually started cutting people off in my late 20s.
In my 30s: I’m not as friendly as I once was. As I get older, I care less and less about making friends with everyone. I only talk to people I genuinely can connect with; someone with whom I can be my true self whenever I’m around them. I now keep my circle small. I’d rather have a couple of close friends that I can trust, who I know genuinely care about me and are good for my mental health—friends that I know I can call when I need extra support, and they’ll be there for me at any moment.
Health, Diet, and Beauty Routine.
In my 20s: I was blessed to have great skin when I was in my 20s. When comparing now to then, almost nothing much has changed. I’ve always cared about my physical appearance, and I still do. It’s highly important to me to take good care of my skin, hair, body, hygiene, clothing, and other aspects of my look. Oh, I believe that out of all the aspects of my appearance, I focused the most on makeup because I enjoyed putting it on. I don’t think I ever went out without it. Because of my modelling career, my face was also frequently covered in heavy makeup. I was also skinny. Zero sizes, haha, so I didn’t bother following a diet or doing workouts. In fact, I hated it.
In my 30s: When I turned 30, I started having acne outbreaks, for which I had to see a dermatologist to get proper treatment. I now pay closer attention to taking care of my skin the right way. Spoiler alert! As you get older, the cost of taking care of your skin gets really expensive since it requires more attention. OK. thank you. Now I’m going to go to a corner of my room and cry. Anyway, I now rarely want to use makeup. My focus is more on having healthy-looking skin so that I can use little to no makeup. I also started practicing yoga, going for runs, and doing other workouts. Now that I am at my ideal weight, to maintain it, I need to continue to follow an appropriate diet and engage in regular physical activity.
Spending time on the phone.
In my 20s: I have to admit that I was one of those people who couldn’t function without their phones like it was glued to my hand— I spent so much time on it because I was extremely active on social media; posting photos, status updates and also chatting with other people.
In my 30s: I only use my phone for specific reasons, such as work purposes, emergencies, staying in touch with family, and talking to someone important to me. I don’t even bother to look at my phone for anything else. As I write this, it has been more than 12 hours since I last looked at my phone. I rarely want to look at my phone unless I hear a certain ringtone that I’ve set up for people I want to pay attention to. Other than that, I usually ignore it, and I can easily live without social media too since I don’t care much about it anymore. I have stopped using Facebook since I was 27, and I only keep my Instagram account active so that my readers can easily reach out to me. One more thing, people who use their phones at the dinner table or while having a conversation with me are another thing that I cannot stand. I find it rude.
My life in general.
- Since being over 30, I’ve come to realize how fortunate I am in so many ways. Instead of focusing on what I don’t have, I focus more on what I do have. There is so much happiness in that simple mindset shift!
- I focus more on what I can control than on what I cannot.
- I’m more private with my life. I rarely want to share much detail about myself online.
- The 30s are the age when I gain clarity about myself, what I want from life, and how I want my partner to be.
- I understand what I’m going through and take accountability for it rather than blaming people and situations on my life phases. I also learned to be kinder and more relaxed when handling situations.
- I became better at resolving issues and arguments instead of creating a scene out of things that would be irrelevant the next morning.
- Other people’s opinions start to matter less to me. I now focus more on my happiness and what I need to make my life better instead of getting influenced by what others ask me to do.
- By the time I’m 30, I already have weeded out toxic relationships and friendships. There won’t be as much drama for me to deal with, and those who genuinely care about me will stay in my life.
- I am still sometimes challenging to deal with because of my obsessive attention to detail and my need for everything to be perfect, and I am learning to tone it down.
- I don’t keep my feelings to myself as much as I used to. If I’m angry, I’ll say so; if something isn’t right, I’ll say so; and if I like someone, I’ll say so. I try to make things as simple as possible, and I expect the same from others. I don’t like hints and assumptions. We adults, we communicate,
X, Hani. ♥