Thirtying Like a Boss: Some Facts About Turning 30

FullSizeRenderI’m officially 30 years old.

I was the last grandchild born on both sides of my family, always the baby wherever we went. I must say, turning 30 feels surreal.

If I’m 30…are they all….DEAD?!!!

I’m at this weird juxtaposition where I was an adult, but not really because who’s that much of an adult as a twentysomething, but now I’m really, really an adult. Because I’m 30. I’m 30.

One would hope that with each birthday you get a little bit wiser. So today I bring you…

Some Facts About Turning 30

1. You will have mixed feelings about this. 

With societal pressures being what they are, especially if you’re a woman, turning 30 feels momentous. Because when you tell all your twentysomething friends that you’re turning 30 they see 30 as something lightyears away which causes them to respond by saying things like “Seriously? You don’t LOOK that old?” and “Oh, you’re NOT going to go out to celebrate?” And that leads me to the following internal monologue:

  • I’m sorry, you must have misheard me. I’m turning 30, not 300. There’s no reason to buy dentures and Bengay just yet. And furthermore, just because I’d prefer to stay in and celebrate with close friends rather than pub crawl my way through the occasion and wake up in last night’s mascara does not make me alien, it makes me 30. I already have dark circles under my eyes and I’m not trying to define them. 

Then when I tell my thirtysomething friends I’m turning 30 they all get this reassuring look in their eyes like they’re mentally patting my hand and inviting me to join a cult that takes ups crafts like scrapbooking and knitting. They say things like “Don’t sweat it! Your 30’s are your best years!” and “You’ll be more confident in your 30’s, enjoy it!” I think:

  • Yes, I’ve been looking forward to this growth stage. I will be a more indestructible me. I will takeover the world. … But then I remember I still don’t know how to cook anything besides baked chicken, and how the last time I tried knitting I gave myself carpel tunnel. So how will I enjoy the greatest years of my life when I still feel like such an impostor? 

2. Phrases like “enjoy it while you can” and “you’re face is going to freeze like that” take on new meanings.

I’d say somewhere between 28 and 29, eating whatever I wanted and not gaining a pound went away. Now I have a license to conceal and carry…my muffin top. As the youngest of four, I have fond memories of sibling scrabbles and epic battles of making grotesque faces at one another. Plenty of adults warned us to knock it off or else our “face was going to freeze like that.” I somewhat regret making this face so much.

Let's not talk about what's happening here.

Let’s not talk about what’s happening here.

3. You won’t have it all figured out yet, but you’re better at it. 

Your 20’s involve getting a leg up. You’ll do crap jobs to work your way up a ladder you’re not sure you want to climb, but that’s ok. Say YES! It helps you figure out what it is you DO want to do. My 20’s is when I figured out I did NOT want to do sales, but also where I learned I’m good at talking to people, being a leader, and that I wanted to get back into writing.

4. Remember all the cool girls who guided you along your way. Now you get to BE one. 

I wouldn’t be who I am today without the love and support of some amazing girlfriends. Mentors along the way who let me be me. And there are a few older ones whose wise words and attention particularly meant something. I had coworkers who gave advice and let me vent when I just needed to get my frustration out. I have professors who’ve become friends and asked for my help or had me talk with their classes. And I’ve got four older sisters who all treat me with respect and love. Now, I love love love giving that back. I love being a mentor to the college students that I meet at work and help pump up their confidence to try new things and make messes and seek opportunities. I don’t mind that when I attend conferences, I’m often sharing advice or experience instead of always getting it. I remember what it was like, and now I get to be the one that helps. That’s a great feeling.

5. You’ve lived three decades on this earth! 

In case you didn’t major in math*, I’ll add it up for you, you’ve lived three whole decades on this earth!

*I didn’t major in math, so I asked a friend. Yes, it is in fact three decades. 

You officially have experience with things. You are now old enough to make references to pop culture that young people won’t understand!

What do you mean you’ve never heard of Popples?!!

And you have friends who’ve known you half your life or more!


Basically, 30’s not so bad. So don’t sweat it.
I plan to rock 30 like a boss. 

Cheers, everyone! 


36 responses

  1. Congrats, and Happy Birthday :-)…from a 48 yr old who spent more money on my 30th bday party than I did on my wedding and who registered at Toys R Us, for the occasion :-).

    1. Um, is there a blog link to that story? Cause you need to share it.

      1. LOL, no post as of yet. But since you mentioned it, I’ll be happy to write one. 😀

  2. Happiest birthday, Jess! I’m loving my thirties, and have no doubt you will, too. xo

    1. Well I’ve already joined your Girl Boner cult, so I believe you!

  3. Happy Birthday! Looks like you have 30 and onwards completely in hand.

  4. Happy Birthday!! I loved my 30s — but I didn’t figure out that I wanted to write novels until I was almost 40, so you are waaaay ahead of the game. 🙂

    1. Now if I can finish editing this year! 😵

  5. My ex-wife had a very hard time with 30. I could not understand why; I loved it myself! 40, on the other hand…ugh.

    Hope you had a happy birthday, and embark upon the best decade of your life!

    1. I’m not too worried about it. Everything I’ve heard about 30 sounds awesome. Cheers, Mark!

  6. I can honestly say, the older I get, the better my life gets. I’m in my 50’s, and I’m still having fun…doing what I want to do, not what anyone says I should be doing (sometimes chilling at home with hubby is the most fun). I just wish my body felt as good as it did when I was 30! LOL

    1. And looking fierce in your stitch fix clothes! Keep on rockin’ Lauralynn! I think you’re badass!

  7. Well happy birthday, but I am laughing so hard. I am double your age and except for the numbers, not much has changed.

    1. That is both reassuring and frightening. LOL. Here’s to figuring it out!

  8. Happy Birthday! I was the baby of the family, too, untill my nephew was born, when I was 31! I can totally relate! When I turned 30, all my younger friends made old fogey jokes, and all my older friends kept telling me I’m still a baby!

    1. Exactly! That’s so true!

  9. Happy Birthday! And you’re right about #4! I am 24 and I do look up to 30 somethings and turn to them for adive. Also: “You’ll do crap jobs to work your way up a ladder you’re not sure you want to climb, but that’s ok.” This is the exact description of my life right now 😉

    1. Hang in there Sunita! It’s all good. You will walk away with new skill sets and lessons learned. If you ever need to vent or swap stories or you need a pep talk, hit me up girl! I’m here for ya!

  10. Catherine Johnson | Reply

    Each decade brings awesome things. You are so right about the 20s. Have a fun evade!

    1. Thanks Catherine! I’m looking forward to a new chapter!

  11. I love your #4!! I don’t know what ot say about it… just that I love it! 🙂 Happy 30th to you! What a ride your 30s is! I wish you lots of adventures + peace on your journey!! xoxo

    1. Liz, you don’t have to say anything. I know from your blog you are one of the cool girls. ☺️

  12. Happy Birthday 🙂 I just turned 34 last month, and most of the time I forget I’m in my 30s…except for the muffin top problem you mentioned. I don’t get it. It was like I hit 30 and my metabolism died 😛 That aside, I think every time in our lives can be a good one if we want it to be.

    1. Very true. I’m gaining a lot of perspective about…well, perspectives. Our own attitude has everything to do with how fulfilled we are, what we seek out, who we seek out, how happy we are. I need reminders sometimes, but I think everyone does. 🙂

      Happy belated birthday Marcy!

  13. Happy Birthday, Jess. 30 years young!

  14. Happy Birthday Jess! Love this post, it reminded me of my two birthdays I struggled with. Thirty was hard for me (turning it, not living it) because I WOULD NEVER BE IN MY TWENTIES AGAIN. Ever. That seemed hard at the time. I was pregnant when I turned 40, so, you know, was thinking about other things…but 45 was another of those OH MY GAWD I’M ALMOST 50! And then 50 was no biggie, go figure.

    1. Well good to know it gets easier. I’d say you’re rocking 50, Amy!

  15. Rock it out, Jess. I turned 29 this last June and didn’t do much for my b-day, but I’m planning a huge shindig for my thirtieth. Can’t wait to join the club and show thirty who’s boss. lol Happy birthday, sweetie.

    1. Oooh what are you planning to do?

      1. I’m thinking a whole Magic Mike theme party. lol 😉

          1. Wouldn’t have it without you, Jess. 😉

  16. Popples!!!! Now I know what I should have gotten you for your birthday!!

    I had such an unexpected freak-out over turning 3 (cough 3 years ago cough), but it is pretty cool to be in this unique generation where we actually know what it was like not to grow up with a cell phone!

    1. I grew up with old parents. We had a ROTARY phone!

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