I Just Turned 30 & These Are The 13 Things I *Wish* I Knew When I Was 20

Aoife Hanna

Hey guys, I turned 30. IKR?! Yes, the balloons have all either been popped or deflated, the partying went on a little too long, and my bank account is definitely a little lighter than it was but OMG worth it am I right? Turning 30 was one of the most exciting and liberating things that has ever happened to me, but left me thinking there are a whole dang bunch of things I wish I knew when I turned 20.

I don't know if it is Saturn returning, hormones chilling out a bit, being a little wiser and sage, or what kind of magic but I must say, turning 30 has absolutely been the most calming experience. Don't you feel like, maybe a combo of TV and popular culture makes you feel like your 20s is going to be the absolute best? That you will sort your life out, have the best time ever. I actually shudder to think how many number ones Rihanna had by the time she was 25. And what had I done by the age of 25? Kind of stuff, but mainly like kind of nada guys. And even Rihanna wishes she could give her younger self advice. So here's what I'd tell myself if I could go back in time.

You Are Probably Going To Change Your Career Path Loads

OK so real talk, it makes me laugh so hard when I think that I genuinely believed that my degree would be exactly what I would work as when I grew up.

My path has gone something like: TV production, nannying, street-food, chef, barista and now writer. So, weirdly I kind of did loop around back to the media end of things but honey, boy oh boy did I shop around.

All of these roles were punctuated with periods of interning, bar work, cafe work, all while ignoring what I am good at and what I actually want to do. And when did I actually start doing what I wanted? 29.

You Will Cry Over A Lot Of Partners/Potential Partners

OMG. If I could go back in time and hug myself and let myself know that like, it is a rare few who have stable and long term relationships in their 20s.

Dating is not finding out what you want but finding out what you absolutely do not want. Real talk. Date the trash in your 20s, then finding treasure in later years will be a far more streamlined process.

You Will Carry Those Teenage Insecurities & That Is Fine

Good golly, Miss Molly. I'm going to be real and say the first half of my twenties I felt just as bad if not worse than my teens. Because you still have insecurities, but you also have to pay like a lot of bills you didn't have to before, and bills are the absolute worst. Also, you have to work a lot more than maybe you had to before.

Just let yourself be, and understand that you are not alone and other people who might seem super confident might also feel a little crappy too.

You Are Going To Stay Broke For A Fair Old Time

Oh my gerd. So, don't get me wrong, money comes and goes. Money is not everything. Also, I remain broke, but I feel like a lot of people seem to have like financially stable lives as they get on a bit.

But periods of time where there is nothing in the fridge and nothing in the bank to replenish it with are real. Check out the end of day discounts at local supermarkets, work in hospitality or know people who do, or just stop spending all your hard earned money getting on it.

Do Not Believe People's Social Media

OK, so your friend who seems to be on top of everything, glowing like cray, loving their job, and high on life is probably none of those things. Satan went on ahead and invented filters to deceive u all.

Chances are, they are not on top of their life. If they are, they are the equivalent of of an actual rare AF instance like finding a £50 note in your pocket. Which they probably do all the time — yawn.

You Will Weasel Out Toxic Relationships

I am not just talking those terrible partners. These might actually be friends. A friendship break up is more sad than a partner break up.

For example, people have arguments, but if you have someone who uses an argument as a means to tear down every insecurity they know you have? They are toxicity personified. Don't take on other people's insecurities or issues. Friends are for love, LOLs, and support.

You Will Learn Not To Be Nice To People Who Aren't Nice To You

Maybe that is just me here, being a massive softy, but serving "please please like me!" vibes and spoiling people and making them dinners and being dead lovely and getting nothing in return? Babe, they are just not that into you and that is super fine.

Spend your time, love, and maybe a little bit of your spondoolies on friends and family who are always there for you.

It Is Absolutely Fine Not To Want To Stay Out All Night

Guys, newsflash, most people love to get home and into bed. Some people don't and that is super rad too. When I think back on all the time I spent pretending to be happy in a club or a pub when actually all I wanted to do was get home, into my cozies, and get to bed. As a rule, remember if you want to go home? It's time to go home.

Also on the rare occasion you do actually stay out until the next day and have the best day ever? You will really appreciate it and remember it. Well, kind of remember it.

Peer Pressure Remains Real But You Can Ignore It & That's Way Cooler

This is a bit of the above. Anyone who says you are boring for not doing something you don't want to do, is actual trash. How bored are they that they have to say that to you? Stick to your guns. You won't regret it.

You Are Going To Eff Up A Lot But Babe, You Are Growing

OK so you are going to make heaps of bad choices, do dumb stuff, enable crappy people, waste time on things, and of course make some sartorial decisions that will haunt you forever.

Whatever babe, do not worry. What seems like a huge deal in your 20s feels like a big fat zero later on. Time is wonderful. It makes you heal, move on, and of course, grow.

Learn From Your Mistakes & Shine Bright Like A Diamond

Now, it is key to learn from all those mistakes you make, if you can. Maybe you might be like me and make the same mistakes repeatedly but meh, it is character building AF and you will figure it out eventually.

Stop Worrying What Others Think. They DGAF

Babe. Stop eating away at yourself with worry. People are so self-obsessed, especially in their 20s. You're not being scrutinised anywhere near as much as you think.

I actually shudder when I think how stressed and worried I was about being queer and what people would think. Such a waste of time. You do you honey.

Give Yourself A Break

Please stop being hard on yourself! You are very human and perfectly imperfect. I remember a lady I worked with once said to me "go wild in your 20s, sort it out in your 30s, and the rest should be a bloody breeze." Live that mantra babe. (Disclaimer: I am not sure if you ever sort it out, but it gets easier.)


Being in your 20's is a bit like a tasting menu, not a full meal. Think of all the ups and downs as canapés that you might like, not be so sure about, or absolutely despise. Try a little of everything and remember, you don't have to eat what you don't like again. Yes, you might be gnawing at the bit to get a full meal but you won't have this opportunity again. So fill up honey.