If you are in your 20s, you’ve probably felt the imminent threat of your looming 30s.
I was in the same boat a few years ago. Nearing the end of my fun-loving years and entering the more stable grown-up years of my 30s. Society tells us that aging is bad and conditions us to think getting older is something to fear rather than something to embrace.
But age is a gift and one that we shouldn’t take for granted. Turning 30 was a turning point in my life and one that I will always be grateful for.
Now 3 years into my thirties, I am more empowered, emboldened, and confident than ever.
In the grand scheme of things, our lives of very short. Yet, we rush through them, speeding from one opportunity to the next. We are constantly striving to reach the next goal or hit that next significant milestone. We do this while worrying about what other people think about us, how we live our lives, and the timeline of our achievements.
Surely how we approach our life is no one else’s business but ours? We should be competing with ourselves, not with the people around us. We should be trying to be better than the person we were six months ago, not Sarah from that yoga class.
Why does society tell us we should be married with kids and have a successful career by thirty? Doesn’t that timeline seem unrealistic? If you finish school at 18, head to college, and enter the workforce, that doesn’t leave much time to find out about yourself.
Society puts so much pressure on women to have their lives figured out by 30, and it needs to stop.
Our achievements should not be dictated by our age. Instead, we should be able to work on our own timeline based on where we are personally and professionally, not on our age range.
I was 29 years old, married with two children, and had a stable career, but I wasn’t happy. I had ticked all the boxes society said I should have as a woman about to enter her 30s. Yet I found myself floundering under the pressure of trying to do it all.
Can we please normalize not having your life figured out by 30?
Can we normalize telling women that they can do it all but don’t have to? Like most women, I was raised to believe I could do anything while raising a family, having a career, and being a homemaker.
Unfortunately, this reality is so harmful to women.
Yes, we can achieve those things but at what cost? By being the perfect career woman, wife, and homemaker, there was no time left for me. On the eve of my 30th birthday, I realized that I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know what I wanted outside of being a wife, mother, and employee. I knew that I was capable of so much more but had never allowed myself the time to find out what that looked like.
I had met the standards society expected of me, yet I hadn’t achieved anything.
I can’t explain what exactly happened when I turned 30. It was like I flipped a switch and started actively participating in my life. I started growing into the woman, wife, and mother I wanted to be.
I stopped giving away my power to others and started being accountable for my actions. It was like my 30th birthday gave me permission to be myself. It allowed me to discover who I was, apart from being a wife and a mother.
And you know what? Something crazy happened.
I became a better wife and mother the more I discovered who I was. I started to expect more of myself, my life, my husband, and my children. I wanted to actively create a life that we were in love with. I stopped worrying about other people’s opinions of me and started making decisions that made me happy. I started living life for myself instead of other people.
I grew, stretched, pushed boundaries, and lost friends. I outgrew people and situations, and that was ok. Because for every person that was no longer right for my life, a new person who was would walk in. I wasn’t scared to speak my truth and stand up for myself and what I believed in. I was bold in the decisions I made for myself and my family, and I was surprised by how many people I offended.
I hadn’t realized how many people wanted me to fit into their box and play small to make them feel comfortable
Turning 30 changed that, but I don’t want you to wait until 30 to start living the life you want.
Life is about living, but you need to be living for yourself.
We are given such limited time, and that time is not guaranteed. As a young woman, particularly a young mother, it can be difficult to forge your own path, but it’s what our kids need. We need to show them what it looks like to have big dreams and outrageous ambitions.
By stepping into our purpose and boldly exploring our interests, we are giving our kids permission to do the same. Don’t wait to do the things that get you excited and ignite your curiosity and passion. Life is short so get busy living it.
Hey, I'm Caitlin
Writer and Mom. Coffee, crochet, and creative writing are helping me navigate the chaos of motherhood as I share my knowledge and offer support to busy moms.