11 Super Common Things People Say You Have To Do By 30, But You Really Don't
There are a lot of things you don't need to do by your thirties that listicles and people will have you think you do. There's a lot of pressure to "get it together" at every age. By high school you're supposed to know what your career is going to be, by college you should have a job picked out, and by your twenties you should be a full-functioning adult. But, IMHO, the most judged age group is your thirties. It seems that most of the world thinks that by the time you've lived three decades, you should have it all figured out — despite the fact that people change, interests grow, some boxes don't fit well, and people tend to fall outside the mean.
This is why we need to take back that milestone birthday. Forget the lists and the pushy advice. You don't need to have anything figured out by that age, so if you're still struggling on a couple of key pieces, no worries. You have nothing but time, and there isn't a deadline for a single thing in your life. t might sound radical, but it's true. Below are 11 things people say you have to do by 30, but you really don't.
1. Find Your Significant Other
When I was in the first grade, I totally thought I'd have a handsome, Ken-like husband and a litter of kids by the time I was 23. It was because that age seemed impossibly old to me, and all the movies, cartoons, and Barbie scenarios backed up the notion that that was totally appropriate. But now I quite like the idea of not being hitched 'til well into my thirties, if even then. And I'm not the only one that thinks so. Business writer Adrian Granzella Larssen at career development site The Muse thinks you don't need "a spouse—or even someone you want to go on a second date with" once you leave your twenties Here, here.
2. Find Out Where You Want To Live
This one always gives me the lolz. Why should you decide where you want to set up shop for the next 60 years? Take that crazy pressure off of yourself and instead allow yourself to bounce around and see how you grow in different parts of the country or world. Lifestyle writer Locke Hughes from self-development site Greatist recommended, "Move once (or twice). Check out new cities you may want to live in. Spend more time outside your apartment than you do in it." It's not erratic — it's a willingness to search.
3. Get Over Your Wild Side
Is it time to hang up the quirky dresses, put away the pastel hair dyes, and throw out our tattoo artist's number? I honestly don't see why. Lifestyle writer Carla Sosenko from Time Out New York agreed, "First nose ring at 32? Why not. Neck tat at 35? You know it!" Just because you're in a new decade doesn't mean your idiosyncrasies die with the blowing of a candle.
4. Starting That Side Business Or Switching Jobs
You can literally do anything you want at any age. You can become an artist at 40, visit the beaches of Thailand at 60, start writing your book at 50... there's no time limit. So if you think you'll change career tracks or start a small business but aren't 100 percent ready yet, don't worry about it. Career strategist Jenny Foss at The Muse offered, "If it’s a seed in your mind now, it will either grow over time or shrivel up as you find other interests. Now, if you’re ready to pull the trigger, it may be time to start building a tangible transition plan. But if you’re more just concerned that you won’t get to it on time, let yourself off the hook. You’ve got plenty of runway ahead of you." Let it unfold naturally.
5. Your Dream Job
Is it a little unsettling if you don't know what you want to be when you grow up? Sure, but there's no deadline to figure it out. You can keep taking it slow and experimenting with different paths until you come across the one that feels the most fulfilling. Larssen chimed in, "Should you figure it out? Yeah. But, because you deserve it— not because you have to have it by 30."
6. Learning How To Cook More Than An Egg
If you're not one to throw dinner parties or pop in a roast into the oven before going to work, screw it. You don't need to know how to make more than pasta if that's not your thing. As long as you're happy with your simple meals and takeout choices, that's all that matters. Hughes agreed, "Knowing how to make pasta or the perfect boiled egg are nice skills to have, but don’t feel like you need to throw together four-course dinner parties for your friends every weekend." We all have our interests — we don't need to subscribe to all of them.
7. Get The Party Animal Out Of Your System
Apparently many are under the impression that when you hit your thirties you no longer have a taste for tequila and wild dance moves on the dance floor. I think that's total BS — getting messy with your friends is fun no matter your age. Sosenko painted a picture of how your thirties actually look, "While our counterparts are tucked safely in their beds and getting ready to wake up and mow the lawn (people do that, right?), we're shooting as many pickle backs as possible before last call, then heading down the street to Artichoke for a drunken curbside slice while recapping the night with our equally sloshed friend, mascara running down both of our faces." And may I point out that at this point you probably have the funds to actually go out and play!
8. Know How To Handle A Set Back Like A Champ
No matter what age you are, you're allowed to feel disappointed, cry, have moments of pity-party-dom, and lean on people in order to gain strength. Larssen agreed, stating you don't need "the ability to handle a crisis (or moving) without a crying phone call to your mother." Being an adult doesn't mean having all the answers and cutting yourself off from help.
9. Have A Career Trajectory
You might be thinking right now, "But how will I know what steps to take and what to shoot for?!" Sure, you can have a vague idea, but don't color-code and laminate those lists. That could actually do more harm than good. Foss explained, "Folks, when you’re 29, 30, or even 42, you don’t have to have the entire storyline of your career mapped out. In fact, you could miss out on an incredible opportunity if you don’t allow yourself to be open to possibilities that come your way, curious about alternative paths, or flexible in how you define “career success.” So if you don't know where you want to be or don't have it all mapped out, good. You'll get there.
10. Get A Handle On Maturity
What does that even mean? When I think "mature," I think of a stuffy financial adviser with a pin striped suit, but we can't all be that can we? So instead of trying to be serious and deadpan, instead make the goal to know how to read people and a situation. Lifestyle writer Amanda Chatel from lifestyle site Livingly offered, "As long as you know when to have a giggle, when to be serious, and when to show compassion, that’s all that really matters."
11. Figuring Out Your Balance
Somehow you're supposed to balance work, friends, and love interests without a hitch when you enter your third decade, because apparently now you're wiser and have this living thing down-pat. But do we... learn some sort of secret after blowing out the candles? Why would that be a requirement when ditching your twenties? It takes time, and you should be okay with that! Hughes explained, "there will be periods of reveling in your glorious singledom as well as those crazy-in-love times when you can’t leave your SO’s side. Both are perfectly fine and normal, but finding the exact ratio of time to give your love interests, your friends, and your family is a giant balancing act that takes time to figure out."
Be okay with where you are in life and be patient — the age never matters. Only your happiness does.
Images: @lichipan/ Instagram