Life Realizations After 30

Since leaving my twenties, I wouldn’t say that my life has changed dramatically.  I haven’t had some epiphany and been able to solve the world’s problems, let alone my own.  But it’s been a gradual change in my attitude towards life, towards my body and a general shift in the experiences I seek and the value I apply to them.  I’m loving the fact that I seem to be more thoughtful, more present and less likely to make generally dumb decisions. I’ve had a great run so far and am grateful for the realizations that I’ve had and continue to have with each passing year.

I take quality alone time. Being alone has never been a struggle for me, as I’ve learned to be more of an extrovert but am innately introverted. However, I’m finding that taking quality time with myself is having an impact on my life. It’s easy to spend your free time catching up with friends, or spending time with a significant other. But some time may be best spent alone by reading a thought provoking book, writing in a journal, taking in a yoga class or pondering current situations in your life. I’ve found this type of alone time can bring about positive personal changes that have a lasting effect on my mood and disposition. It’s a time to re-set and re-group; think about your week and keep your life moving in the right direction.

I eat alone.  I remember a time when I wouldn’t dare consider eating alone. What would people think (gasp)?! They would think you are eating alone. Seriously, what was I afraid of? That someone might think I don’t have any friends? So weird. I wouldn’t think twice about eating alone now, and actually quite enjoy it. It can serve as some downtime from a stressful day at work or an opportunity to treat yourself.

I don’t care what other people think.   I’ve spent my entire life avoiding a desk job and ignoring every person on the planet who has told me what I should and should not be doing. But I find myself caring less than I already did. I’ve come to realize that honestly, other people’s opinions don’t matter. I matter. What I think of me and my decisions matter. And to some extent, of course my family matters. But we are at a point in our lives where we need to focus on doing the things that fulfill our lives and give us purpose.

Unless you are an integral part of my life, you don’t get a vote. And there is zero reason for me to care what you think. I’m going to worry about my life; you worry about yours.

I party less. And less. And less.  Not only can my body not handle the hangover that comes with extreme partying, I’m much more cognizant of the aging that alcohol does to your body and your skin. And, I find more pleasure in taking in a gallery and sipping a martini than I do in drunken twenty somethings spilling their drinks and hitting on me. I feel like we are at the age where the quality of the experience is much more enlightened when you can actually remember the experience. I urge anyone who is still getting hammered on a regular basis to expand your horizons and look for other ways to explore your life socially. It will take less of a toll and enhance your life immensely.

I need less validation.  It’s so much less of a burden to be able to look in the mirror at the end of the day be happy with what you did or where you are, without needing a pat on the back from someone. 5684115572_55bc83414f_zWe live in a world of social media where it seems everyone needs to post a selfie, showing off something…anything. And while I applaud the occasional selfie and see the value in posting about recent accomplishments, from many people it appears to be non-stop. Life can’t go on without a million followers or a hundred people commenting on how great you look. When I post, I’m genuinely proud of whatever it is and want to share it with people that matter. The fact that people like it or think it’s cool, is just an added bonus. I simply don’t need the validation anymore, and that feels amazing. The only person I’m trying to satisfy is myself.

I love my body (or like it a lot). Well what a long and winding road this one has been. And I am still on that journey, but I am making progress with each passing moment. Perfection is in the eye of the beholder and that person is you.

And as an incredibly intelligent woman, you know that perfection doesn’t exist. So trying to attain it or beating yourself up about it because you don’t have it, is like being mad because you didn’t find a jackpot at the end of rainbow.

I’ve finally come to realize that I have to start being nicer to myself about my body. I’m in great shape. I have abs. I can run six miles (at least) with zero training. I can do plenty of pushups and can still walk on my hands for a considerable distance. I can beat dudes arm wrestling. So I’m not as small as I would like to be…who is?? I’m working at it, and I’m taking great care of myself and making improvements every day. And that’s all I can ask of myself.

I stay connected with my family.  I live in California. My dad, his wife and my half sister live in Mississippi. My mom and stepdad live in Tennessee. My sister, her husband and my gorgeous and perfect niece live in Arizona. We all lead very different and busy lives. But I’ve found that staying connected with them is one of the most important things I can do for myself. In your twenties, everyone seems so young. It feels like your parents will be here forever. Obviously, that’s not the case and that reality begins to set in after thirty. Fortunately, with the inventions of Skype and FaceTime, I feel like I can talk to my family and stay connected with them. But actually physically seeing them is something that is non negotiable at this point! I recognize how important these people are in my life and that I won’t have them forever. It’s important to keep them close to my heart and value each and every moment I have with them.

I spend more wisely.  My first job, outside of teaching dance, was working as a professional dancer in a theme park in Memphis. I was 16. I made about $450 per week, as I recall. It’s not a ton money if I had been living on my own, but a whole lot when you consider I was 16 and living at home with not a single bill to my name. Similarly, when I was living and working in Vegas, I danced professionally and made a great income. I also worked additional modeling and acting jobs on a regular basis. Where did all that money go? I don’t even know. I remember shopping a lot. But truly, it baffles me. Now, I have a savings account and an investment account for retirement. I have zero debt and haven’t lived paycheck to pay check in a long time.

The wonderful feeling of being financially sound has way out weighed the joy of a shopping spree or buying random items that I simply don’t need.

I take the time and spend the money to travel.  Everyone’s priorities shift, as they grow older. And with many of you, your children are your16702518527_a12b385cf0_z biggest priority. But I have always wanted to see the world, and I am finally in a position to make it a top priority. Since 2013, I’ve visited Bali, Hong Kong, and Italy with an upcoming trip to Greece in the fall. I’m at a point where I would go without food in the fridge before I would sacrifice one of these trips. If you ever have wanted to travel, I can’t recommend enough that you take the time and spend the money to do it. It has been such a life enhancing experience for me; Bali literally changed my view of the world. I recently read an article about the benefit of spending money on experiences rather than things, and it confirmed what I’ve already discovered; these experiences give me greater happiness than any pair of shoes could.

I take care of my body.  Massages, acupuncture and trips to the spa have become a regular occurrence in my life. While they used to be infrequent and seem like splurges, I now realize that taking consistent care of my body is what is going to keep it going for years to come, so that I continue to experience all that life has to offer. I’ve switched to a mostly gluten free diet (upon recommendation of my doctor), eliminated artificial sweeteners and take care of my injuries when I have them.

Beating up your body, be it mentally or physically, is not only unhealthy but also unproductive. It’s time to truly treat my body as my temple, as it is in fact, the only one I have.

I’m living my life in the best way that I know how, enjoying every moment and loving the changes that come daily with experiencing life past my twenties. I hope you too are relishing in your own personal growth and are living with purpose and passion and fulfilling your own quest for happiness.

Photo credit: Anjan ChatterjeeSean MacEnteeKerri Lee Smith

 

Lea Waide

Lea is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of BeyondThirty.net.  She is a former professional dancer and IFBB fitness competitor, triathlete and all around fitness and beauty aficionado. Her passion is sharing her knowledge with women beyond the age of thirty, who are looking to continue to feel beautiful and fabulous.

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