Those of us over the age of 30 feel bad for you 29-year-olds. Why? Because you’re probably freaking the eff out, and we don’t blame you. Our current culture is so crazy ageist that women are taught—be it subliminally or overtly—that turning 30 is like falling off a cliff. Here, six irrational and ridiculous things about turning 30 that we’re conditioned to fear, but shouldn’t.
No, it doesn't, actually. You will be just as beautiful when you wake up at 30 as you were when you went to sleep at 29. Please don't run out and spontaneously get all kinds of things injected into your face for fear of looking your age. What turning 30 does mean is that it's time to start having some potentially uncomfortable talks with yourself. How do you feel about getting older as it pertains to your appearance, what steps are you taking to look and feel your best, both physically and emotionally, so you can be comfortable in your skin no matter how it ages, and what will your boundaries be for anti-aging treatments moving forward?
According to a 2014 Gallup poll, 64% of people 18 to 29 are unmarried. So, while you may feel like you're in the minority as a single person at 29, you aren't. There are plenty of people with whom you can continue to mingle after this arbitrary milestone birthday comes and goes, and according to additional statistics, you have an 8 in 10 chance of being married by 40. Besides, as we've mentioned before, lame men are less likely to waste your time in this decade of life than they were in the one prior, so your 30s are actually a great time to be out there and dating.
The truth about your fertility is infinitely more complicated than all the fear-mongering nonsense you've been fed your entire adult life; some people cite 35 as the scary age at which conception becomes difficult or rare, and some say fertility doesn't really drop off in any significant way until after the age of 40. The thing is, worrying about your ability to have a baby doesn't change your ability to have a baby. What you can do at 30, if you think you want children, is one of two things—resign yourself to fate and stop wasting time with worry, or take control of the situation as much as possible by freezing your eggs, planning to have or adopt a baby alone at a certain age no matter what, or making some other type of alternative plan.
Being subjected to "30 Under 30" lists featuring über-successful people in their 20s is bad enough, but now, with the rise of social media fame, we're endlessly confronted with overachieving teenagers as well. When Kylie Jenner, 19, is buying her third house while you're a decade older and still struggling to pay rent on a one-bedroom apartment, it's difficult not to feel demoralized. That said, there's no expiration date on success (even if this doesn't feel true, it is). Martha Stewart didn't get her start at being Martha Stewart until she was nearly 40. Julia Child was nearly 50 when Mastering the Art of French Cooking was published. Vera Wang didn't design her first dress until 40. Betty White didn't achieve fame until she was 51. And the list goes on.
It does get more difficult as you turn the corner into your 30s to feel "normal" if you're not adult-ing in a traditional sense (marriage, babies, etc.); however, we would argue that you should do whatever makes you happy at any age. For some reason, a 35-year-old who Rollerblades is weird or sad (unless they're doing so with a child), while an 85-year-old who Rollerblades is awesome (no matter what). But ... why? Who makes these arbitrary rules? You do, based on how much you care about what other people think about you. Sure, after a certain point in life it's not a great look to crawl into work hungover every day, but honestly that cutoff shouldn't be set by age so much as your desire to achieve/be respected/earn money to buy shoes. Trust us, the people who judge you for not acting your age in your early 30s will be the first ones to have a midlife crisis in their early 40s. Just do you, no matter what age your preferred behavior or lifestyle exemplifies.
Your wildest days might well be behind you, but certainly not your best. When you're in your 30s, you tend to care a lot less about many of the inane things to which you gave weight in your 20s, and it's an incredibly freeing shift. You've also generally narrowed down your life to include more of the people, places and things that bring you joy and less of those that don't. Might you sometimes wax nostalgic for the breasts you had at 20? Sure you will, but then you'll remember that you have better things to think about (and you'll be incredibly thankful for all the years that made this perspective possible).