“My next 30 years I’m gonna settle all the scores
Cry a little less, laugh a little more
Find a world of happiness without the hate and fear
Figure out just what I’m doing here, in my next 30 years.”
– Country singer Tim McGraw
Turning three decades old is a big milestone!
But what you do after this milestone can make or break your life.
Sadly, so many people make all the wrong decisions and don’t realize until it’s too late.
Here’s how to do it right after 30 and avoid these five big unforced errors.
5 mistakes people make after turning 30
1) Giving up on love
One of the biggest mistakes people make after turning 30 is giving up on love.
By this age, many of us have been through hurtful breakups and disappointments in romance.
It’s hurtful and exhausting to have found love but not had it last.
It can also be tiring to be in a relationship currently that you feel is unfulfilling or not really right for you.
If you’re paired up but feeling unsatisfied you may feel like a fake who’s trapped in a life you don’t want.
If you’re alone and unlucky in love you may feel that true love and intimacy has passed you by very unfairly.
You may even have a strong feeling you’ll always be alone or are destined to never meet your match.
But I strongly encourage you not to fully give in to this despair.
What helps is knowing what your partner truly wants from you. And the older you get, the clearer this becomes.
What do you think me really want? Sex? Love? Excitement?
The truth is that men want something else entirely.
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2) Becoming completely set in your ways
By age 30 you’ve likely pursued a career, had several relationships, and tried your best to succeed in life.
Whatever your current situation, it’s crucial to remain flexible.
Getting stuck in your ways shouldn’t happen until your 40s or 50s.
This advice goes for really every domain, but especially when it comes to your beliefs and convictions about religion, politics, the world, and life.
There’s a lot of mystery out there: don’t shut yourself off to our strange and awe-inspiring universe!
Leave at least the next decade to explore ideas, beliefs and life experiences.
Whether single or with a partner, use this time to discover new things and challenge your beliefs and preconceptions.
Take time to get to know someone you’ve always found strange or unlikeable; take up new activities that push you beyond your comfort zone.
Stop living up to someone else’s idea of who you should be and start living up to your own!
Take any setbacks as par for the course and learning experiences.
It’s never too late to start over, try something new, discover new ideas and make new friends.
3) Underestimating your future career potential
By age 30 there is a lot of social and even family pressure to have your career figured out and locked down.
For those of us who think out of the box and pursue truth and authenticity, a career can take a while.
If you’re like me, you’re also never static:
You’re always changing, dynamic, and growing in some way.
This is a good thing!
A career is all about who you know and it involves a lot of hard work, but also some serendipity.
When I think about shitty jobs I’ve had in the past, it often felt at the time like I would never find my way through them or into something I was better suited for.
But I did, and you will too.
Don’t ever underestimate your future career potential.
You may be stuck in a boring job in insurance now, but in five years you could be running an art gallery or starting a food truck business in San Jose!
Who am I to say? Who are you to say? Follow those dreams!
4) Beating yourself up about your shortcomings
It’s easy to be hard on ourselves, especially when we hit a milestone like age 30.
Common inner voice complaints include:
- Poor body image
- Low self-esteem
- Worries about relationships
- Depression over past trauma
- Beating ourselves up over anxiety and other challenges
- Insecurity about our looks and intelligence
As we age a bit more, it’s common to notice our body aging and feel a little insecure and depressed.
Don’t let it get to you.
And don’t beat yourself up for your other shortcomings either.
Trying to improve every day is an awesome goal, but striving for perfection or an end to “negative” emotions and experiences can actually put you on the path to having a damaging attitude of toxic positivity.
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5) Believing that outward purpose can define you and bring happiness
Finding your outer purpose and fulfillment through work, relationships, friendship and practicalities like having a home are great.
But making your inner wellbeing and purpose dependent on that is a mistake.
Even a “perfect” life can get boring, and all of us suffer and age no matter how “correctly” we do things.
Do your best, but don’t hit age 30 with the idea that you’re going to be the one person ever in history to who the rules don’t apply to.
You should also strongly avoid a savior complex or the idea of finding a grand mission or heroic purpose that will save the world and fix everything.
This is often just an ego delusion and it won’t get you anywhere but Brokenheartsville.
As the shaman Rudá Iandê says:
“I’ve seen many people looking for a greater purpose in life, like a kind of mission to save the world. Basically, they were trying to find something to make them feel super special and fill their ego.
Purpose is something different. You don’t need to change the world. You just need to shift your perspective, from ‘what you can take from life today’ to ‘how you can contribute to life today.’”
Good luck in your 30s!
Your 30s can be your best decade ever, setting the stage for a fulfilling and meaningful 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond.
It’s easy in our society to judge by numbers, but remember that age 30 doesn’t have to be “crunch time.”
This is a time to reflect and plan your next move, absolutely:
But it can also be really liberating and empowering.
Tackle the future with enthusiasm and energy, and don’t let the expectations and doubts of those around you define who you are or what you will become.
Remember never to compare yourself with others, but instead try to always be a better version of yourself than yesterday.
Avoiding the mistakes above will put you on the path to happiness for the next 30 years and more.
Here’s wishing you the best of success for the road ahead!
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