Even if 30 is a couple of years away, start planning!
When I turned 18, 30 seemed like a lifetime away. People in their 30s seemed so much older than me; so much more settled than I was then…
Now, at the ripe old age of 45+, I realise that most of what I saw was a veneer that comes with age. I mean, yes, since then I have learnt how to drive, lived abroad, graduated university, had countless jobs, got married, had a child, got divorced, and had numerous relationships and quibbles with neighbours. But deep down I’m still that self-doubting teenager with a million dreams and not enough answers to life’s biggest questions.
But because I’ve now lived through my 20s, 30s and most of my 40s, I can see very clearly what I should have done before I turned 30…
And what I would tell my younger self now is:
Travel More & Travel Alone: It’s a cliché but it’s so true. The first time I went on holiday completely alone, I was 39… Right before my husband and I decided to get separated. I felt like I needed some time away from everything and everyone – including my three-year-old son. I was going crazy inside my head and so I booked a trip to Morocco alone without even considering dates or money. It turned out to be magical and it gave me the determination I needed to be happy again… See, travelling opens up the mind and the heart, and doing it alone also opens you up to people you wouldn’t normally speak to and things you wouldn’t normally do. So, go abroad alone and often!
Learn to Play an Instrument: Just because you’re growing older doesn’t mean that you should stop learning. Many of us these days work on a computer and read and count all day long, and learning how to play an instrument uses the creative side of your mind. And that can be more rewarding than you think.
Do Something That Scares You: We live way too cautiously. We’re scared of saying something we feel strongly about because it might offend others; we’re scared of quitting a job because of money; we’re scared of saying I love you to someone because it may not be reciprocated. But what’s the point in living like that? As most people my age and older have realised, keeping something in doesn’t do much for you so dare to say or do something that scares you… What’s the worst that could happen most of the time, anyway?
Learn Your Family’s Story: As you grow older, you’ll start cherishing the stories your grandparents and parents told you about their childhoods, the war, and about what life was like 50 or 60 years ago. Ask them how they felt; ask they how they reacted. These are stories you’ll want to share with your children, too, one day!
Save Up: Save some money every time you get a pay cheque because you’ll need it down the line – either to buy a car or a house or because you’re out of a job. But don’t be stingy: buy that expensive thing you want, go out to eat or party. Life’s made for living, but it’s good to be safe.
And, finally, enjoy not being 30. Enjoy still being young enough to make mistakes, to not have that many responsibilities, to be able to go out clubbing till 5am and waking up fresh at 9am. All these things won’t last forever!
Is there anything else people should do before they turn 30?
Let us know in the comments section below.