In less than a month I turn 30. You might say I have spent the better part of this last year kinda, maybe, definitely stressing out over this. But the stress has not been without its positives – mainly what I have learnt this year. This is what I learnt while I 29 worrying about turning 30.
Make new friends.
Be really active about making new friends, like really active. If you've never had to move cities or live outside of your comfort zone in your twenties this probably won't come naturally to you. But as we get older and friendships and lives change (people move, have kids, you realise you never really liked half the people in your life from your early twenties anyway and you’ve alienated the rest of them when you were wasted every weekend) it's important to make sure you still have a wide support network. I made a conscious effort when I was 28 and 29 to expand my friendships and am feeling the benefits as I approach 30. Remember things about your new friends and ask them questions the next time you see them. Listen to them, make them feel like they are valued. I’ve discovered people like it when you do this. Who knew?!
But love the fuck out of the friends you do have.
Whether your BFFs have been around since you wet your pants in computing class when you were eight or you met them taking drugs in a club bathroom a year ago, your close friends shape and reflect who you are. Best friends will be there to pick you up from the bathroom floor after you’ve spent the day vomiting. Best friends don’t mind if you don’t feel like wearing pants. They’ve seen you make the worst choices in your life (hello tencel jeans and ex-boyfriend I went back to three times over) and also been there to celebrate your best ones (the day I invented the grilled haloumi and mushroom on rye and then drunkenly co-created pesto on bacon). If you don’t have your besties, you don’t have yourself. And without yourself you’re just a bag made of skin. Gross.
See a therapist.
Seeing a therapist is great, enlightening, more often euphoric than taking drugs and let’s face it, we all need a little mental tune-up now and again. Maybe you’ve experienced pressure from your parents ("you know, a lot of people your age have settled down and gotten married and had babies by your age Hannah"). It could be any one of your past or current relationships. Your childhood most likely set you up for failure as an adult (I'm talking about you, eldest child syndrome). Maybe you have anger issues (getting angry with Sue at work for using the last of the milk when you are really angry at the mailman for not hiding your Iconic package well enough, which is really just residual anger because your last boyfriend was a mailman, is not helpful to anyone). Even if you’re feeling completely stable, having a qualified, unbiased and educated professional to chat to about your life is a solid foundation for being, if not happy, at least balanced. Plus, unlike your friends they are paid to be there so can't leave if you start talking about your obsession with mailmen again.
Trust that it will be OK. But only if you make it OK.
Yeah, yeah, blah blah. We've all heard them a thousand times; “if one door closes, another will open”, "everything happens for a reason" and "the universe will give you what you need". Yeah well, the universe won't give you what you need if you don't go out and seek it and another door won't open unless you bang on that door with both fists and maybe yell at it a little. Turns out there a million different paths we can go down over the course of our lives, so if one path ends suddenly, you’ve got to trust that you will find another. By all means cry over the doors that close (cry right then and there in front of your two bosses and the HR manager the day you are made redundant if that's what makes you feel better) but then embrace the change (hello sleep ins!) and work out your next steps (hello New York!).
Make friends with your parents.
Well try to make friends with them at least. Even if they are responsible for fucking you up or are the dorkiest people you know, they also put time and effort and monies into raising you and now you’re an adult, you should get to know as people. 29 was the year I learnt to take walks with my Dad and realised that Mum is just as fallible and unsure of life as I am. They are humans who need you and your friendship as much as you needed them when you were learning how to eat. So, a lot.
Have satisfying and creative sex.
I didn't have sex for six months when I was 29 (six. whole. months. 182 days. Yep, just give it some thought). I didn't want anything mundane or pointless, and that’s all I was faced with. When I did have sex again I made it count. You are too old at any age to spend time (even five minutes) doing mediocre activities if you don't have to and you are definitely too old at nearly 30 to still not know the things you like in bed – so go out and find what they are if you don’t already know. Open your eyes, tell your partner (whether life partner or night partner) when they are blowing your mind, be present when having sex and try new things. I repeat, try new things. Because as a wise person once said to me, "why should it only be women kneeling or rap squatting in tiled rooms in order to please the other person?" (It shouldn’t be, that’s the answer. Fist pump for equality).
Take the exercise.
I guess I’ve always been partial to this one, but now that my metabolism is slowing down it’s counting for more (that’s right 22-year-olds. It slows down. It’s not a myth and it will happen to you). Run, swim, yoga, walk, dance, buff it up at the gym. Whatever you can hate the least, do it. Just make sure you shower afterwards, because sweaty, warm skin leads to bacne. That’s also right 22 year olds, one day you too will have wrinkles around your eyes while simultaneously sporting a pimple on your shoulder.
You are not too old
For anything. For liking Justin Bieber’s new banger. For changing career paths. For taking a gap year in South America. For moving to New York. For buying a pair of tencel jeans. For getting a facial piercing. For sleeping with a 22-year -old. For sleeping with a 40-year-old. For staying up to see the sun rise. For making new friends. For saving old friends. For selling your bed and sleeping on a mattress on the floor. For forming new habits. For jumping on the quinoa bandwagon. For anything. If you want to do it and it’s not harming anyone else, just understand that you are not too old and go for it.*
*except bacne, you’re too old for that. Sort your shit out, body.