PSA: You don’t start declining as soon as you’re eligible for your first smear test.
Reaching the ripe young age of 30 doesn’t have to mean retiring your bucket list, freezing your eggs, walking around with a Zimmer frame and never experiencing Glastonbury ever again.
Whether it’s backpacking through Asia, getting married or having kids – you should do things when they feel right for you, not because society or a listicle on the internet made you believe your twenties are the pinnacle of happiness and success. Forget 30 before 30 lists, age is but a number and you are never too old to realise your dreams.
The idea that the world is your oyster but only until you’re 29 is BS. So, please enjoy this myriad of milestones you absolutely *don’t* have to tick off by the time you’re 30, because you can be the best version of yourself at any age.
1. Have children. You are child-free not child-less <3
2. Have your shit together all the time. Every year presents a new opportunity for growth, if everything’s constantly in place there’s no room for self-development.
3. Settle down. Whoever said 30 was the year we have to freeze our eggs and stop *living* was respectfully a sad little misogynist.
4. Love your body unconditionally. It’s ok for you to merely accept your body as an ever-changing, fluctuating form. It’s an instrument not an ornament.
5. Spend excessive hours in the gym because you don’t want people to think you’ve let yourself go. In the words of Alex Light, sometimes letting yourself go is the most powerful thing you can do. Did you let yourself go, or did you let yourself live!?
6. Travel the world. If you’re a homebody, be a homebody. You don’t have to go travelling to experience defining moments in your life. A coffee with a friend or a walk to your favourite park never looks the same. The view is always changing, and you can have revolutionary epiphanies in the most ordinary places.
7. Lose weight for your wedding. The dress needs to fit you, not the other way round.
8. Stop wearing the clothes that make you happy. Pass me the f*cking balaclava already.
9. Find your dream job. You don’t have to have your entire career trajectory mapped out.
10. Say yes to everything. No is a complete sentence at 20, 30, 40 and beyond.
11. Look like you did when you were 18. Faces, bodies, skin – it all changes.
12. Start a business. Vera Wang didn’t sell a dress until she was 40. Toni Morrison wrote her first novel at 39. Ray Kroc created McDonald’s when he was 52. You can take risks and connect with your entrepreneurial spirit whenever your soul demands it.
13. Get casual sex out your system. You are free to enjoy good unattached sex at any age if that’s what makes you happy.
14. Find the one. Contrary to what society would have you believe, romantic joy doesn’t expire when you reach your 30s and marriage and babies are not the talismans of success.
15. Own a dog. You’d ideally need a garden for that and we all know what a rare breed they are. Friends with dogs are where it’s at.
16. Stop making mistakes. Slip-ups happen when you’re in the ‘Overs’ category too ya know.
17. Go out all the time because you won’t when you’re 30. Erm, two words. Bottomless Brunch.
18. Have a five-year plan. Lol. As the last two years have demonstrated, living in the present is all we can really do.
19. Own a property. That’s it, that’s the tweet.
20. Make all the friends or else be a hermit forevermore. Not so. Making friends when you’re an adult can be daunting but you can also find some of the deepest most meaningful connections with like-minded people in later life when you’ve got a whole decade of emotional baggage to bond over. What’s more, friendships that last for a season can be just as transformational to your life as long term ones.
21. Be in the best shape of your life. If it sounds a bit excessive it’s because it is. There are so many variables at play when it comes to physical health, at any age. Maybe you’re living with chronic pain, maybe you’ve had bottom surgery, maybe you’re agoraphobic. You don’t always have to be on the move to be moving. When someone is in the ‘best shape of their lives’ (translation: closest to society’s standard of beauty), their minds might be at their worst. Here’s something to carry through to your 30s – let go of the weight of other people’s opinions about your body. Why do they care?! If they have a reaction to your body, that’s on them.
22. Hustle and network or lose out on opportunities. Not all professional openings have to come from sticking yourself in a room full of industry greats and forcing yourself to meet people. Someone could stumble on an article you have written and get in touch, or you might go to an intimate book club meet up and strike up a random conversation with an author. Careers change and evolve way beyond your 20s and chance meetings can be just as instrumental for both your personal and professional growth.
23. Stay the same person forever. Klaxon: You’re allowed to change, no matter how uncomfortable that change makes someone else. If the person you’re becoming doesn’t match up to someone else’s perceived idea of who you are or the role you play in their life, then so be it.
24. Get into yoga. If anything, starting later in life makes more sense because that’s when simply daring to sleep on your neck means you must spend two weeks turning your whole body to look at someone.
25. Master TikTok. Enjoying it from afar is as good as catching the vibe gets.
26. Run a marathon. Move in whatever way brings you the most joy. If that means running 26.2 miles then go for it, but if that sounds a lot like violence then you’ll be forgiven for signing up for Burlesque classes instead.
27. Find a signature style. If low rise jeans can make a comeback, anything can happen. Let your fashion flow, grow and fail too.
28. Learn to cook. Listen, if you’ve got a roast dinner and a mean spag bol in your repertoire, you’ll go far. If you fancy expanding your culinary skills for dinner parties and bougie gatherings with Whispering Angel aplenty, then by all means book in for a few classes and have fun with it.
29. Get Botox. Sure, it’s a preventative blah blah blah but your face, your rules. You don’t have to be pressured into doing anything you’re not comfortable with.
30. Be financially savvy. It doesn’t matter how good you get at keeping receipts and organising invoices, a tax return will never not maim you.