I’m about half way through my 30’s, and while I enjoyed all the excitement that life had to bring in my 20’s, I am truly enjoying my 30’s far more than I ever imagined. Here are some of the reasons why, and what I’d say to a younger me if I had the chance!
Life in my 20’s consisted of graduating college, landing my first career, buying our first home, getting married, traveling to and falling in love with Hawaii, welcoming 2 babies into our family, losing several of our grandparents, changing jobs, dealing with a life-changing illness in our daughter… Many of these things are amazingly happy, big life events. But even if happy events, big life events bring along a significant amount of stress, and the unhappy things we faced are extremely stressful things to deal with.
While my 20’s brought A LOT of joy, they also brought A LOT of stress.
Coming into my 30’s was no picnic either. The decade started out with me having to quit work due to our daughters illness; after 10 years of being a career woman and mom, I became a stay at home mom living in isolation for 6 months to nurse our daughter back to health. We lost another grandparent, sold and purchased a new home, and changed schools for our 1st grader. We also welcomed baby #3 who was almost born on the highway on the way to the hospital.
Now that I’m hitting my mid-30’s though, I can honestly say I’m starting to become happy with who I am again. Life is starting to get into a groove and the kids are getting bigger and a little more independent. We are settled into our new-to-us home and it actually feels like home. I have also started working again, which gives me a different sense of purpose than being a mom and wife does, and is honestly something that I crave.
Some of the most important contributors to my newfound happiness come from within.
But I think some of the most important contributors to my newfound happiness come from within. I am finally happy with who I am. I am adjusting to the new me, the stay-at-home mom and wife me… and most recently the work-at-home mom and wife me. I feel like I have done a life-long amount of maturing in the past 5 years. Here are some of the things I would go back and tell my younger self if I could.
- God comes first. In all things pray, and have faith. God has a plan for you, and while it may be extremely hard to see at the time, and while your natural control-all-things instinct is to be stressed, anxious, and even panic at times, praying and having faith is so much more helpful and will get you through things much more gracefully than if you let the anxiety and worry and stress get to you.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, my prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6.
- Your marriage comes second. Unfortunately, it has taken me almost 10 years of marriage for this to really sink in. When I was working, I allowed work to consume me. When we had kids, they needed so much attention, it felt natural for me to give them all my attention. Between work and the kids, I didn’t save anything for myself, or my husband. When he would tell me he missed me, I would reply with ‘So do I.’ I had lost myself and was losing my marriage. My tank was running on empty all the time. During our most recent trip to Hawaii it really sunk in. The hubs and I actually talked about us, our dreams for our future, our goals, our wants and needs. While this might not seem like a big deal, it is. It seems once we became parents our conversations all started to revolve around the kids, our goals for them, our hopes for their futures, our dreams for them… and we lost us. Don’t lose your ‘us’. Keep your marriage second.
- Taking care of yourself is not selfish, it is selfless. I have always had a hard time taking care of me. I always seem to be needed by someone else, and so my needs fall to the wayside until I have time to get to them, which is never. But as I am now trying to find myself again, I realize I need to give myself the downtime I need in order to be happy. I need to follow my passions and drive towards my goals in order to fill my tank to have the energy and want to take care of everyone else like they need. I need to dream and make goals, and then find the courage and drive to crush my goals and live my dreams! I also need me time to recharge. Reading is a big tank-filler for me. As is taking a shower by myself without little hands pressed up against the door waiting for me to be done. Lucky for me, my husband knows this, so when he is home on the weekends, this is something I usually get to enjoy. A full 20 minutes of me-time. Hallelujah!
- Be careful who you surround yourself with. This one can be complicated. The saying that you become who you surround yourself with is true. Being around negative people will bring you down. Even with a strong sense of who you are, eventually it starts to effect you. Surrounding yourself with positive, driven, honest people will bring you up and keep you on the path to becoming a better you. Find people who have goals and dreams, who are driven and honest. These people naturally seem to be encouraging as well. Equally as important is making sure to be the kind of person you want to be around. Honest and positive people won’t want to be around someone who skirts around the truth and is always complaining. Keep yourself in check!
- Stand up for what you believe in. I find that in my 30’s, I no longer have the desire to be ‘cool.’ It doesn’t bother me to go against the grain if I believe in something different than others. It’s not easy to not be afraid to choose differently, especially in a crowd or with family, but you need to stand up for what you believe in in order for you to be happy and not live with regret. You need to be YOU. That being said, when voicing your opinion it’s also easy to come across as being rude or unfriendly, even when that isn’t your desire. I’ve found that keeping my tone in check and not over explaining (most often saying less is best!) makes a big difference in how disagreeing with someone is perceived. It should be done respectfully and graciously.