If your 20s are the time to party hard, live large, and have an amazing time, your 30s are the time to start settling down and taking a longer term view of life. That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your 30s every bit as much as you did your 20s, but it does mean that your definition of fun may start to shift to better accommodate the things you need to do to be successful in this new phase of your life.
The first thing that you have to face in your 30s is your finances. A few people hit the big 3-0 with no debt to their name, but for most of us, it’s time to get our financial affairs in order. Pay down debt, be careful with your money, get a budget in place that you can live with, and make sure you’re saving for your retirement. You may have spent your 20s thinking you can do it later; later is now.
Next step? Get your health in order. Take care of your skin, your hair, your body. Get exercising, if you don’t already. Moderate the excesses of your 20s. Have a drink, party now and then, but expect that your body isn’t going to tolerate it, if you keep rocking the house down every single night. The thing about bodies is that they break down slowly, and over time. Slow and stop that process by taking care of yourself before the damage is there.
After that, build your family of choice. Don’t allow people in your life who don’t add value to your world. If they don’t respect and love you, stop tolerating their behavior. But the people who are worth it? Be good to them. Enjoy them, keep them close, and build those relationships.
Find focus. Your 20s are about exploration, about sampling everything; in your 30s, find your passion, and delve deep. It may be something you’ve been doing since you were a kid, or it may be something brand new, but it’s time to really put some roots into the thing that fills your heart with joy.
And finally, be kind to yourself. People are awful to themselves for many different reasons. In your 20s, it’s often possible to ignore it and keep going; for a lot of people, these sorts of issues come to a head in their 30s. Breathe through it, and make sure that you’re living your life in a way you’ll respect and be proud of when you hit 40.