What turning 30 means for different people across the planet

There’s a lot of hype around turning the big 3-0. Like, all of a sudden, you’re supposed to really grow up and things like taxes, mortgages and weddings start to become capital ‘I’ Important. The reckless abandon you approached life with in your 20s comes to a kind of end (or at least it can feel that way) and you start pulling yourself together in a more serious way. This isn’t the case for everyone—turning 30 years old is a big deal for some people and just another birthday for others and a lot of this depends on what you’ve accomplished and what you haven’t by this point in your life.

When Paris-based Photographer Stephane Domingues turned 30 in December 2013, he recognized the significance of what 30 meant to him. According to My Modern Met, Domingues thought of his 30s as a time to “be assertive and confident after a period of self-discovery in your 20s.” He was curious about how others felt about turning 30, so he set out on a global trip to capture the faces and thoughts of 30-year-olds from around the world.

For his project BEING 30 YO, Domingues photographed and interviewed a diverse group of 30-year-olds from all different walks of life, in various stages of their lives. Some people admitted they felt old, and some said they felt young. Some people have kids, some don’t. Some people said they are happy with where they are in life, and others are searching for more. Most of them have embraced their age and are confident in their adult selves, which could be the key to living a successful and meaningful life.

Check out some of the faces from the ongoing project and what the people behind them have to say about 30 years of life:

Magdalena —Tourism marketing/logistics — Puerto Tranquilo, Chile

“The only thing that changed is that, when someone asks my age, I try to avoid saying it.”

Gaston — Sales — Ushuaia, Argentina 

“I always forget my age!! But I think that we get experienced and become more mature.”

Zoltan — Project manager — Budapest, Hungary

“Within 10 years, I want to accomplish travels such as visiting Mayan ruins. Basically, I want to fill my mind with memories… I will be able in 10 years, to tell stories about my travels, how fun they were.”

Maceo — Entrepreneur — Los Angeles, USA

“They say that in your 30s you settle in your identity, and I feel that’s very much true…”

Beatrice — Entrepreneur — Likoma Island, Malawi

“I am oId…because 30 is a lot of years…I have 3 children already, the oldest is 11. That is almost as if the next generation was already there… It seems like my life is already settled and won’t deviate much from what it is now in the future.”

Anne — Consultant — Paris, France

“I am 30, I don’t feel old, I am young at heart… That’s what really matters!”

Kevin — Software developer — Cape Town, South Africa

“I don’t feel old, just more experienced and that’s really a good thing!”

Faruk — Fisherman — Ilha do Mozambique, Mozambique

“My best memory will be ‘right now!’ Why? Because I am able to have a better job and income than ever before.”

Stefanie — Actor, writer, model — New York, USA

“I don’t really care about being 30, I am confident enough to just not care.”

Oscar — Miner — Potosi, Bolivia

“Turning 30 did not change much in life. I got my first children quite early (21 yo) and all responsibilities came at that time…”

Janice — Marketing consultant — São Paulo, Brazil

“I have a lot to do in a really short time… Travel as much as possible, get married, and have children, and write a book… I need dreams to be happy!”

Sindani — Housewife — Masai Village, Tanzania

“Even if life is quite tough, I wouldn’t change anything. We have the basics: a home and water.”

You can see the project in it’s entirety here.

(Featured images with permission via Stephane Domingues)