Since when is life downhill from 30?

Since I cracked my thirties I’ve noticed a big shift in the targeted advertising that I see while online. Ads for health insurance, comfortable shoes and IVF. I also scrolled past an article about being 30 which was accompanied with a picture that said, “Level 30: Game Over”. I beg your bloody pardon. Since when is it all downhill from 30?

Most people have been telling me that 30 is the new 20, which I don’t want a bar of either. At 20 I was wearing revealing clothes with cleavage pushed up under my chin, so much so that I had a party trick of holding drinks and even doing shots thanks to my elevated bust. I was living overseas “finding myself” and so consumed doing that, that I didn’t truly appreciate the fact I was living in one of the most beautiful places in the world: The Canadian Rockies. Don’t get me wrong, 20 was fun but at 29 I was HANGING to turn 30.

The main reason I was obsessed with ageing is because I thought with age comes more wisdom, knowledge, credibility and stability. Turns out you must work for those things – you don’t just wake up with no debt, a house, partner, possibly with pets and kids as well. Remember when you were 16 and you’d meet a 30-something-year-old and think they had their life together? I’m now in my thirties and I can tell you we’re all just winging it a little. When I meet teenagers now and I tell them how old I am I get thrown questions like “Are you married?”, “Do you have kids?”, “Do you have a house and a really cool car?”. Those things aren’t really the benchmarks for life, though.

There are hundreds, if not thousands of articles online with check lists of things to do before you turn 30 and I may have read about 10 of them. Having a quick scan, I was chuffed. I’ve slept on a beach, gone skinny dipping, lived alone and travelled alone, learned new languages, volunteered for charities, raided Mum’s wardrobe and taken part in many karaoke nights. One website suggested to do a half marathon and I will be damned if someone suggests that to my face as my body is not made for running. The only one I’d consider doing is the Beer Lover Marathon in Belgium, because you don’t have to finish the course and there is a lot of beer involved.

Thinking back to some of the goals I set for my 20s, I realised I had achieved them:

Get my health in order. It may have taken me the best part of a decade but I got there.
Win an ACRA (Australian Commercial Radio Award). I am lucky enough to be the proud owner of one but I have since realised an ACRA doesn’t equal career success.
Cut my hair off. It took until I was 22 but I did it. And I’m not so sure why I was so scared to do it because it cut down my getting-ready time. And the hairdresser bill, too.
Be OK with the fact that not everyone will like me. Such a simple thing to grapple in theory yet hard to remember. I am at peace with this FINALLY.
Learn to cook and host dinner parties. My friendship circle taught me this and I’m so thankful. I’m not applying for Masterchef anytime soon but I’m starting to have fun in the kitchen.
Teach my palate to like wine. Oh, my mature palate. I graduated my way through all the white wine and have landed on red. Mulled wine is a current fave.
Be honest. I don’t mean answer yes if someone asks me if I pick my nose. I mean have honest conversations, be honest with myself and even when I know it may not be received well, speak the truth.
Meditate. This took me 7 years to crack this one but now that I’m on board, I can’t recommend it enough.

What do I want for myself over the next decade? Get my super in order, exercise weekly and floss my teeth regularly. I’d also like to learn how to clean stains without having to call Mum and Dad to come over to help me. Although, it is a good excuse to get my parents over to my house as we live an hour apart.

The term “fake it until you make it” seems to be applicable for adulting so I will stick with that and hope that I’m doing a good job. I think I am and I finally can say that I don’t care if you disagree. You do you.