Karen Fratti
August 07, 2017 6:59 pm
NBC

In general, we all tend to be pretty hard on ourselves. That can be a good thing, in a way. It means we’re holding ourselves to some pretty high standards. A lot of these standards, though, are totally dictated by what we think we should be doing at a certain point in our lives. At every milestone birthday, it’s common to have a little identity crisis. Like going over all of the things you think about right before turning 30. Everyone does it.

The worries about turning 30 years old are the worst.

No one’s getting any younger around here, and 30 years old is definitely not the same as turning 21 years old. Of course, 30 is still really young! Life is not over and, frankly, if you tell someone who’s even just 35 years old that you feel stressed about turning 30 years old, they will likely laugh (and laugh…and laugh).

Because, just like they did throughout your twenties, things change. There is no “perfect picture” for what any age looks like. We are all constantly setting goals and then re-working them, or coming up with new ones. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to accept or that we don’t have anxiety about it.

Here are some of the things most of us mull over before turning the big Three-Oh.

1“What’s going on here?”

It’s likely that when you were an ambitious teenager, you had a vision for what life at 30 years old would look like. And it’s pretty likely that that your current life looks nothing like those daydreams. It’s totally normal to feel like things are out of control — being in your twenties is hard, too! Taking a minute to assess where you’re at, without judging, is pretty common.

2“I really should…”

Finally quit smoking, drinking, having one-night stands, get your finances in order, etc. There’s something about turning 30 that feels like you need to be SUPER GROWN-UP, cape and all. That’s true. There are some things you should kind of, sort of, have in order by the time you’re 30-something. But there are exceptions to every rule. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. (Though quitting smoking is a great idea.)

3And wear sunscreen.

Yo, wrinkles are great and natural. But it’s around this time that you realize all of the older women urging you to invest in a good sunblock and moisturizer your whole life had a really good point.

4“Maybe it’s time to change…”

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Around your 30th birthday, it’s likely you’ll be taking stock of what’s working in your life and what’s not. This isn’t the last time you can make a big career move, or finally move to that city you’ve been planning on living in, or break up with that partner who’s actually not all that great. But a lot of us make some big choices right before turning 30 years old, because, well, it’s a good excuse to get rid of the BS you’ve been putting up with.

5“I will die alone.”

If you’re single, 30 years old, and a woman, this is likely the time where you start to super freak out about the fact that you don’t have a long-term partner, worry about finding someone “in time” to have babies, or that you actually really, really, really like being single. Thirty feels like a make-or-break age for finding love. Reality: It’s not. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take some time to get that truth through your head.

6“But look at them…”

Ugh, yes, our culture makes it so that we assume that if we hadn’t had the big Father of the Bride-type wedding yet, or the big promotion we think will make our careers, or even paid off our student loans and credit card debt, that we’re failing. Some of your 30-year-old friends seem to have it all together, while you still feel like you’re Forever 26. Roll with it. Stop comparing and just enjoy your birthday.

Turning 30 is a big deal, to be sure. But honestly, most of us make it seem a lot harder than it actually is.

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