I had great conversation with a very close girlfriend a few days ago about the benefits of turning 30.
To be honest, I'm utterly grateful to be exiting my 20s. There's a special sense of freedom, consistency and self-awareness that is creeping into my life and I couldn't be more pleased.
During my 20s, I inflicted a lot of self-suffering because like many others, I cared way too much about what everyone thought. It's absolutely impossible to skip this passage into adulthood and I often feel that we all have to spend a certain amount of time caring, to learn how not to care.
In a few weeks I will turn 30.
As I examine the past 10 years of my life, I realize that it has become less about what others think of me or my choices and more about whether I'm smiling or frowning. When people ask me questions about what I do, who I'm with or where I'm going, I often become quite tense because I feel that they are asking all the wrong questions.
Well, actually, they are not asking the one very specific RIGHT question: Are you happy?
Here are 10 reasons why turning 30 is going to be golden -- cue Jill Scott -- and why happiness is the only thing that matters.
10. Family time is the only time. The fragility of life is made more and more apparent as you get older and right now, there isn't anything more important to me than my family.
9. Those curves, girl. I've noticed that over the course of a few years, I've accumulated a certain amount of extra padding in very strategic places. Personally speaking I couldn't be happier, and I suspect, so are a few gentlemen.
8. Respect. I have absolutely no patience for disrespect. Whether it's with my career, my relationships or friendships, I passionately aim to respect myself and others.
7. Leaving parties early. I've probably upset enough friends with this but I can no longer stay out until the odd hours of the morning. Don't get me wrong, the occasional girl's night will find me dancing all over Manhattan until my feet hurt but really, it's once in a blue moon. I've come to accept my love for my bed, the comfortability of coming home to a clean apartment and most importantly, not feeling haggard the next morning.
6. Investing in my relationships with other women. I don't think I was ever serious about my relationships with women during my 20s. I was busy trying to be relevant and figure out who I was to really understand the components of a great friendship. I think that in our 20s we sometimes think that if something doesn't work, we can just replace it with the next best thing. As I continue to evolve and learn, I realize that my girlfriends are my saving grace. The time I spend investing in our friendship is crucial to my growth and theirs. Simply put, I'm happy to have someone's back than to go along friend-hopping... and it's taken me 30 years get that.
5. Sleep. Now, everybody and their mama knows that there's not enough anti-wrinkle cream to hide your tiredness. Girlfriend, I suggest you prioritize sleep over everything else!
4. Time alone. Whether it's just me, my coffee and a copy of Vogue, time spent alone is the very best way to come to your senses. I never thought I'd value the lazy Sunday afternoon stroll through the park, a solo vacation or even a cozy solo dinner at my favorite neighborhood restaurant, but I so passionately do.
3. Embracing ones faults. Admitting my faults on a regular basis and not apologizing for them has become the daily routine. I'm both insecure and confident, sensitive and strong, positive and pessimistic. I over-share, I write way too much, I take a lot of Instagram photos, I'm terrible at being patient and I may or may not be obsessed with Piers Morgan. My point is, I embrace everything.
2. The personal matters, too. Taking work and career seriously is very admirable but it's not everything. I like kissing and I don't like to sleep alone, and for the first time in my overly articulate life, my schedule is no longer an excuse or barrier.
1. There's no need for approval or permission. Plain and simple.