30 Reasons Why Your 30s Shouldn't Be a Hot Mess!

There's nothing quite like a birthday to get you thinking about life. I'll turn 32 next month. Lately, I've been thinking there's something about this particular time in life I just want to bottle up. But what is it? I decided to ask some 30-something friends and colleagues to chime in too. Here's what we came up with.
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There's nothing quite like a birthday to get you thinking about life. I'll turn 32 this month. Lately, I've been thinking there's something about this particular time in life I just want to bottle up. The 30s surely feel like less of a hot mess. But what is it? I decided to ask some 30-something friends and colleagues to chime in, too. Here's what we came up with.

  1. A confidence boost: Yay! You made it out of your 20s in one piece. Mostly everyone asked expressed feeling more confident in their 30s. You stop caring about what everyone thinks and really start owning who you are. "The key has been finally realizing that the exhaustive task of trying to please everyone around me was not important; while instead, simply accepting myself made me happier," said Andrew Horsefall, 31, an attorney in Syracuse.

  • People take you seriously: You've been in the workforce for a solid chuck of time now. You're no longer entry level. You might have a mortgage, a spouse, or your own business. These things are all very adult and come with a new level of respect from the world.
  • You can afford things: We all know the 20s can be a struggle financially. Going from college life to your first low-paying job isn't easy. Your paychecks are now more in line with the cost of living.
  • Less drama: Despite what you may see on reality T.V. there's way less drama in your 30s. Maybe it's because you're probably not getting drunk as often? Seriously though, the he said/she said stuff definitely tapers down.
  • You know what you like/don't like: By the time you're 30, you know what works for you, and what doesn't. You know what you're willing to put up with and what you're not. "I feel like turning 30 was a permission slip to start trusting my brain," said Eric King, 36, a news anchor in Dallas.
  • Stop comparing yourself: In your 20s you may have found yourself monitoring the career moves and love lives of your peers far too much. In your 30s, you truly stop paying as much attention to what everyone else is doing.
  • Defined Your look: Nobody's judging you, but your look was probably still somewhat of a hot mess in your 20s. Some favorites from your teen years spilled over. Maybe it was over-plucked eyebrows or too much hair gel. Whatever the case, you've finally gotten your aesthetic under control.
  • No more roommates: This may come with a few exceptions depending on where you live. You might still have a roommate if you call New York City or Los Angeles home. After a cast of characters in your 20s, chances are you're no longer shacking up with someone to split the rent, unless they're your boo.
  • Focused fashion sense: You've had time to experiment and see what's out there. You start to focus on building a wardrobe rather than chasing trends. The bonus is you can actually afford some designer items now, too. It becomes about quality and what looks good on you. " I feel more confident in my skin (yes, even after two kids) and I can afford a sharper wardrobe," said Roni Proter, 34, lifestyle expert in Dallas.
  • No sleeping on couches: Chances are when you visit your friends now they have a real bed (and possibly a guest room) to host you in, not just a leaky air mattress.
  • Understand your parents: You get your parents by now. You see them as complete people who've probably had their own struggles.
  • You're more self-aware: You've had time to recognize how the world reacts to you and take it in. You know your strengths and your weaknesses. Enough time has passed for you to let this marinate.
  • Cliques don't matter: By the time your 30s roll around you don't care about hanging out with a particular group just for cool points. You hang around who you actually like and enjoy.
  • Start seeing results: All the hard work you've put in starts to pay off. Maybe you went to grad school or started running marathons. Whatever it is, you're starting to see the fruits of your labor. "All the work in my 20s (personally, professionally, physically) is finally starting to work out," said Nneka Nwosu Faison, 32, a journalist in Boston.
  • Accepted the journey: You've learned to deal with life's ups and downs. Disappointments don't distract and defeat you as much as they did in your 20s.
  • A solid network: You've been around long enough to establish a solid professional network. You've got good references and recommendations from people with credible resumes.
  • Experiences to share: Perspective is everything. A decade of life experience as adult gives you something real to share with younger people. "I have great experiences to draw from when I give advice in my personal and professional life," said Yasmin Adam, 32, an HR Recruiter in Vancouver.
  • Priorities are straight: Whatever is important to you as a person is pretty clear by now. Whether it's family or climbing the corporate ladder. You've worked out a pecking order for where things stand in your life. If not, your proprieties are definitely becoming clearer.
  • Stronger relationships: At this point the people who've remained in your life are there for a reason. You've seen each other through some things. You've shared all kind of life experiences together from starting to careers, to marriages, and having kids. "I know myself, the Lord, and that genuine relationships make me happy," said Crystal Berger, 35, producer/host in New York City.
  • Legacy matters: You've started to think about what you're going to leave behind. You're concerned with building something of significance wether it's a contribution to the community or a family.
  • You can give back: You don't dread those donation emails from your alma mater as much anymore. You're actually interested in giving back to the people and places that have helped shape your life. You feel like you can make an impact mentoring younger people and paying it forward.
  • Staying home is cool: Let's be honest, on a Friday night you're tired after a long work week. In your 30s you no longer feel pressured to hit the latest hot spot every weekend. You're totally cool with staying in and watching Netflix.
  • Paying less: You actually paid more for certain things like car insurance in your 20s, simply for being young and dumb. It's one of the items you should be paying less for now (unless you went from a Honda to a Bentley). And If you've maintained good credit, borrowing money may cost you less now, too. These are good things.
  • A better place: You may not be a homeowner yet, but chances are you're living in far better digs than you did in your twenties. No more dingy apartments. Along with ditching the roommate came an overall upgrade in accommodations.
  • Relaxing group dinners: Dining out with a group of friends is a lot less stressful in your 30s. There's no more tracking who had what and trying to split the bill accordingly. At this point, everyone is cool with splitting the bill evenly.
  • Freedom to choose: You're the shot caller of your own life and it feels awesome. "I'm free to just be me. Free to take new risks or not take risks," said Toni Duclottni, 31, an actress in Los Angeles.
  • You're building something: There's definitely a sense in your 30s that you're building something meaningful.
  • Refined musical taste: You've got an musical appreciation for The Cure and Frank Ocean respectively. Enough said.
  • You're still young enough: In the grand scheme of things, you're still in the younger part of the population. You still have time to get things together. You're still hip enough to catch onto pop culture and tech trends just as fast as 20-somethings do. "Old enough to be taken seriously, yet young enough to still have growing pains," said Exavier Pope, 38, an attorney in Chicago.
  • You're not a hot mess: Reasons one through 29 are proof enough that you've actually gotten cooler as a person. More cool points equals fewer hot mess points. This is why the 30s are awesome!