4 Mindset Shifts I’ve Made in My 30s
posted on September 6, 2018 | by Tessa Bowman
I love being in my 30’s. I’m more grounded than I was in my 20’s and have a much deeper sense of who I am. While I certainly don’t have everything figured out, I’m much better prepared to handle the unknown. When I look back on my 20’s, I see a decade of usually having to learn the hard way. I found myself caught in between less than ideal jobs, encountering less than ideal men, all while trying to figuring out who I was and what I wanted to do with my life.
Reflecting on the past decade, I think there are some mindsets that don’t serve us well going into our 30s and that are best left where they belong… in the past. Here are four of those!
If you find yourself blowing out thirty birthday candles still not knowing what you want to do as a career, that is OK. For many of us, our 20’s are filled with jobs to pay the bills, but it might not be our dream career. Lamenting over crappy bosses and annoying coworkers is commonplace, but it only flies for so long. Once you enter your 30’s, it’s time to make a game plan.
As a 32-year-old who switched careers last year, I can confidently say there is never a good time to leave your job. It’s scary! There will never be the perfect time to make the leap, and you will never feel completely ready. The bottom line is life is too damn short to be miserable for most of your (waking) hours.
Not sure where to start? Talk to your friends, find out what they do and if they like it. Take an online career personality test. Think about what kind of company you want to work for and what kind of employees you want to work with. There are many career counselors and life coaches that can help you narrow in on career fields that are great fits for you.
In our material possession driven society, it’s easy to believe that what we wear, drive, and where we live defines who we are. We compare ourselves constantly to others and what they have. Most of my life I thought I was “less than” because my family didn’t have a big house. Or because I couldn’t afford many of the designer clothes and accessories that my friends wore. I threw away a lot of money in my 20s trying to keep up with appearances and my savings account – or lack there of – took the hit.
I now look at money in a very different way. I’ve learned that money and possessions don’t make a person happy. Instead of money defining who we are, I look at it as currency and nothing more. It’s a way to keep a roof over our head and get me from point A to point B.
Managing your money can be intimidating and feel like a scary rabbit hole but it’s one we all need to be mature enough to dive into. And luckily there are countless apps and resources to make managing your money easier and more approachable. (This article should help, too!)
I’ll readily admit I was certain I would be married by 26 with two kids in tow by 30. I think many of us have this invisible floating expiration date of 30 hanging above our head. “If not married by 30, please send out to pasture”. But due to many social and economic reasons, people are getting married later, and I’m all for it!
I worry much less about my single friends. I more wonder if my friends that got married really young will regret it later on for settling down before experiencing life fully as a single adult. At 32, I have a number of friends in their 30s who are complete catches and are single. Nothing is wrong with them, they simply haven’t found “their person” yet. It’s only a benefit to a person the older they get married because they will know themselves that much better.
One mindset that really shifted for me is believing a partner would complete me. I had to undo years of Disney brainwashing me into thinking a man would come sweeping into my life and “save me”. After dealing with some undeserving guys who didn’t value me, I took some time to work on myself. I took a few months to read some self-help books, reflect, and get clear on what kind of guy I wanted to show up in my life. Realizing that I was complete and whole within myself was crucial to attracting a wonderful partner who was on my level.
In your 20’s, everyone is your friend. It’s fun and exciting to have a plethora of friends to rotate through your social schedule. I say that I used to have two groups of friends: fun friends you call to go out with; and real friends who you call when your world is falling apart.
Your 30s sees a really interesting shift for friendships. We move towards quality vs. quantity.
Friends start to get married, couples start to have kids and subsequently priorities change. New friends appear (especially for new moms) and old friends might fall to the wayside.
Many of us have a really hard time letting go of friendships, but there is no need to feel guilty for outgrowing certain friendships. Especially those “fun” ones. Be thankful for the purpose they served at that time in your life and move on. There is nothing more valuable than your time. Spend it with people who share similar values and who, bottom line, make you happy.
I hope these perspectives help you excel in your 30s! What mindsets have you realized are better left in your past?