We all experience different stages in our lives and are constantly in a state of change (whether we realize it or not). Most of us will not be the same person at 25, 40, 60 and so on. In fact, a study at Harvard showed that we have major personality shifts every decade, though many of us think we won’t change as we get older or that we’re done growing all together.
“It’s not that we don’t realize change happens, because we all admit at every age that a lot of change has happened to us in the last 10 years,” Daniel Gilbert, a psychologist at Harvard University, told LiveScience. “All of us seem to have this sense that development is a process that has delivered us to this point and now we’re done.”
In our 20’s, most of us are just trying to figure life out and grow into our own. We finish college, get our first real jobs, fall in love for the first time, mess up, make mistakes, and set the stage for who we are to become in our 30’s, which is probably the most pivotal, exciting decade of our lives. No one is perfect, and while these factors are definitely something to strive for by your 30’s, some of us may take longer to get to where we want to be. In other words, don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t conquered these traits yet. Having said that, here are 5 essential factors to master by your 30’s.
By your 30’s you really should be starting to build a nest egg and be working on staying (or getting) out of debt. Many of us make financial mistakes in our 20’s, but by your 30’s you should be taking financial responsibility -especially if you’re hoping to settle down and/or start a family. Money matters in relationships and if you or your partner are bad with money, it can ruin your relationship and strain your family. Outside of relationships, your 40’s will creep up on you quicker than you think and it’s important to be able to take care of yourself regardless of your relationship status.
This means eating healthy, exercising regularly, limiting your alcohol intake, getting yearly annual exams and teeth cleanings. We all know our bodies start to change in our 30’s so by this time it’s important to establish healthy habits to maintain yourself as you reach your 40’s and beyond. Once we reach our 40’s our bodies really start to change drastically and this is the decade where illness and disease can creep in. Bottom line, take care of yourself early and avoid future health problems.
Ditching Abusive/Bad Relationships
By our 30’s, we should know better than to put up with people who are abusive, treat us poorly or are simply not compatible with us. Sure, in our 20’s we’re kind of clueless about love and dating, but by our 30’s it’s time to start showing people the door when they mistreat us. Screaming matches, weekly breakups, cheating, and the like should be huge red flags by this stage in life. Just say no.
To quote The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.” Some may say to be able to travel is a privilege, and perhaps it is, but like primary education, it’s practically essential to understanding other cultures and the world around you. Even traveling to other parts within your own country can open your mind and expand your experiences, and it doesn’t have to be costly. Jump on a bus, stay in a hostel, whatever you do, get out and see the world. By doing so, you gain empathy and can begin to understand others better. Travel is not just about enjoying life or capturing nice photos for Instagram, it’s a form of cultural education. It’s not always perfect and glamorous, but it’s not meant to be that way. The best travels are not when you laze around by a pool and sip on a pina colada all day at a 5 star resort. The best travels are when you throw on a backpack, get sweaty, and immerse yourself in another culture. It can be challenging, intimidating, and messy, but that’s the whole point. To step outside your comfort zone. If there is anything worth spending money on, it’s travel. It’s “the only thing you can buy that makes you richer.”
Taking Responsibility For Your Life
Once we reach adulthood, our life choices become 100% our own responsibility. By your 30’s this should be even more apparent. It can be easy to blame other people, your parents, your ex, the government, outside circumstances etc. for our failures, but pointing fingers won’t get us very far, even if they were part of the problem. Most of us deal with adversity in our lives, the difference between those who succeed and those who fail is the ability to take full responsibility for our lives regardless of the circumstances. Who is in charge of your life? The answer is: YOU. Do not give someone or something the power to control the outcome of your life. You DO have a choice and you are stronger than you realize. As Alice Walker once said, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”