30 Bad Habits You Should Leave Behind Before You Turn 30

by Zara Barrie
Aliaksei Kaponia

I'm 29 years old, and on May 1, I'm turning 30.

Look, I don't have any hang-ups about turning 30 like women are expected to. In my eyes, there is nothing remotely attractive about being in your 20s. I won't even consider dating someone who is still in his or her 20s. I don't know how I've managed to convince anyone to date me all these years.

I just find it mind-blowing that I'm entering a new decade. I feel like I've been in my 20s my entire life. I don't remember anything before the age of 20. Maybe I'm suppressing some trauma I haven't yet confronted.

All I know is I'm ready to kiss this tumultuous decade goodbye. It's been real, 20s, but I'm over you.

Your 20s are just a scalding hot mess. I don't care how successful you are. I don't have one friend who is in his or her 20s who is totally stable and confident. You're just this weird mix of being really entitled yet wildly insecure and self-hating at the same time.

It's an unflattering juxtaposition that really repels people who are older and wiser. Everyone hates you when you're in your 20s.

Thirty feels like a fresh start. And honey, I need a fresh start so effing bad. (My editor says I curse too much, so I'm trying to scale back, but I'm struggling to find the right words).

I want a clean state. I saw a tarot card reader last night, and she told me I need to "clear my aura." She's right. My aura is really messy right now, because I'm at the tail end of the messiest decade ever.

I plan on having a crystal clean "aura" by the age of 30. And that pesky ol' aura isn't going to clean itself, Kittens. Even I know that, and I hardly passed high school.

It's going to take me leaving behind the ~bad habits~ I've cultivated in my 20s. In order to break a habit, you have to first confront the habit, which is never fun. I hate confronting things (another bad habit I need to rid myself of). So today I've decided to come up with a list of 30 bad habits I plan to leave behind at 30.

This is going to be a painful exercise in self-awareness, but alas, it MUST BE DONE in ORDER TO BE 30 AND THRIVE.

1. Not wearing sunscreen

Being a bronzy goddess is pretty in your early 20s, but damn will it age you in your 30s. I don't want to look weathered; I'm vain, and my self-esteem is very much connected to the way I look (bad habit). I shudder at the thought of having leathery skin.

My tanning days are officially OVER, and I'm going to be slathering on the SPF 100 daily (even in the winter) for the rest of my TIME.

2. Living solely off meat, cheese and white wine

I don't eat vegetables -- like at all. Occasionally I freak out about this and get a really expensive "juice" from Whole Foods, but honey, that's not enough.

No amount of juices will detox all that wine. I need to subsist on more than slabs of ham and fatty cheeses, too. I've gotten away with it thus far, but it's going to start to show up on the ol' bod if I don't get my sh*t together.

3. Skipping the dentist

I have a pressing fear of the dentist. (Full disclosure: I take impeccable care of my teeth. I even FLOSS, which no one in my generation does consistently). I need to get over this fear, pop a Xanax and just TAKE IT like a big girl does.

I don't want to spend $50,000 on a set of fake teeth (that's what they cost.) when I turn 40 because I neglected my dental care. And you know I would spend that sum of money because I'm vain and wouldn't dare walk around with ugly teeth.

4. Having relationship relapses

I'm a Taurus (Ew, I hate myself for referencing astrology), so I have a hard time "letting go" of anything, especially people. I need to LET GO of all my exes and not relationship relapse with any of them (as I've been known to do) ever again.

5. Taking out "small business loans"

My best friend Eduardo (a total reckless spender like me) and I call it taking out a "small business loan" when we consciously overdraw our bank accounts. Yeah, it sounds cute in your 20s.

"Oh, I'm taking out a SMALL BUSINESS LOAN," we will giggle, as we put ourselves $500 in the hole. But it's not acceptable anymore. GROW UP, BITCH.

6. Not opening my mail

Look, no one is sending me love letters (only hate comments on the Internet!), so I don't open the mail. Because mail is bills. And bills equal reality. And boy, do I hate reality.

7. Saying yes to everyone's plans

I just end up disappointing everyone.

8. People-pleasing

I just end up disappointing myself.

9. Forgetting to eat

"Why am I being so bitchy to my NICE co-workers?" I will think to myself daily around 4 pm. OH YEAH, because I haven't eaten all day, and my blood sugar is falling.

10. Extreme dieting

My 20s are defined by many things, and extreme dieting is sadly one of them. I've put my body through hell with a slew of miserable, extreme diets that left me feeling sick and weak.

It's time to find a healthy, ~balanced~ lifestyle so I can feel GOOD in my 30s. When you feel good, you look good, act good and live good, right?

11. Hating my body

I feel like all the models I've worshipped with their unattainable physiques have robbed me of the pleasure of enjoying my body. I've spent the past decade wanting to be THINNER, SILKIER and TALLER. When you're mean to your body, you're being mean to your soul.

I don't want that for my future. I want a kind soul and a loving bod.

12. Having emotional Tourette's on Twitter

No one cares that I'm feeling nauseous on the train in faux fur.

13. Refusing to get that weird mole thing on my wrist checked out

Girl, it's been there for a year. And it's not getting smaller. Swallow your fear, and get that sh*t checked.

Check your mole, and check yourself, Zara.

14. Keeping my toxic friends

Not only do I hold on to expired relationships, but I hold on to toxic friends from the past. They are energy vampires who suck away my light, and I let them because I can't let go of sh*t. No more.

15. Comparing my insides to other people's outsides

Just because that really fit-looking girl with the perfect ponytail at work appears to be the happiest, most "together," joyous entity on the planet, doesn't mean she is. Just because someone appears to be deliriously happy to the naked eye, doesn't mean he or she isn't self-hating and sad on the inside.

Beauty is an illusion; it says nothing about who you really are.

16. Running from feelings

Remember: FEELINGS can't kill you -- running from them with booze and pills CAN.


Had a bad day at work? Stressed, sad, sore and sick? Have a glass of wine, baby. It will solve all your problems. ACK, no, it actually won't. It will create more when you're hungover and feel twice as vulnerable and sh*tty about yourself the next morning.

18. Going blonde

19. Feeling guilty about everything

Guilt is a useless emotion.

20. Prioritizing things over therapy

Therapy is so essential to my well-being. I know this. If I go a few weeks without it, I'm a wreck (so is the life of a complex woman). But sometimes, I will prioritize stupid things over therapy -- like a new dress.

No more of this "If I skip therapy for two weeks, I can afford that Alice and Olivia 'fit and flare' dress!" You can't put a price on mental health, but you CAN on a flimsy dress.

21. NOT knowing when the f*ck to walk away

Walk away from the party when people start doing drugs and the night takes a dark turn. Walk away from the ex who incessantly f*cks with your head. Walk away from bad parties that make you feel insecure and miserable. Walk away from love when it's toxic. Love shouldn't be toxic. In fact...

22. Toxic relationships

I've experienced them, baby, and they hurt.

Yes, I'm glad I've experienced the amazing highs and mind-blowing sex that go hand-in-hand with the fiery toxic relationship, but it's time to close that chapter.

I want a happy life with someone I can depend on. I want children! I want stability! I don't want to ever have a relationship that involves incessant yelling, crying, screaming and manipulation again. Which reminds me...

23. Letting anyone yell at me

I've been yelled at by nasty male directors in Hollywood. I've been yelled at by horrendous bosses when I worked at the beauty counter in London. I've been yelled at by girlfriends. I've been yelled at by toxic friends.

But you know what? I'm an adult woman now. There is only a certain amount of emotional abuse I will accept from anyone anymore. I don't care if you're the Queen of Sheeba; you don't have the right to yell at me, an adult woman of the world. Ever.

24. Trying to make onesies and leotards happen

I have a very long body, and leotards and onesies give me camel toe. It's time to face the sweet music, Z. You tried to rock them, but they just aren't for you. AND THAT'S OK.

25. Spending all my money at

I love me some NastyGal, but it's time I start investing in some ~designer~ clothes come 30. I mean, I plan on making money in my 30s; I need to look expensive in order to draw in the ~big bucks~. Law of attraction, baby.


Being a wasted, hot mess with lipstick smeared across your face is cute in your 20s but tragic in your 30s.

27. Wearing hair bows

The funny/mean gay boys in my life have been telling me that "It's time to retire the hair bow" for awhile now. I always hissed back "never" when they pick on me about my hair bows.

However, I DO think it's time. The whole "sucking on a lollypop in knee socks and hair bows Lolita" act doesn't translate well into your 30s. I need to embrace my womanness.

28. Sleeping in mascara

Look, I'm a huge fan of second-day eye makeup. I love to rock a two-day smokey eye. However, it takes a beating on the lashes, and my lashes are my greatest trait. My holy grail!

I need to care for my luscious lashes before they turn brittle and break off (which totally happened to my mother, and I want better for myself).

29. Leading people on

I don't need to be the object of someone's affection to feel good about myself. Plus, leading people on is terrible, terrible karma.

30. Beating myself up

The biggest thing I want to do in my 30s is cultivate a healthy relationship with myself. (Cliche I know, but I'm a shameless walking cliche at this stage in the game.) At the end of the day, I'm all I have, right? Everyone I love will leave me or be left by me, eventually.

I need to accept that I'm in this skin forever, and I need to fall in love with the girl inside.

(I will, however, NOT STOP the following behaviors: mirror selfies, writing crude articles about faking orgasms on the Internet, having stupid fun, wearing crop tops, dreaming big, wearing violet lipstick, winging my eyeliner outrageously, wearing clip-in hair extensions and saying the word "F*CK," despite my editor thinking it's too much.)