They say your college years are the best of your life. Well, tomorrow, Wednesday, May 25, is my 30th birthday and I've never been happier. For the last six months, I've been representing the (albeit overused) hashtag "#ThisIs30."
Why, you may ask? Well, it's because by the time you hit 30, you've already experienced the stress, the responsibility and in my opinion the “adulting,” and it has made me appreciate who I am and all that I have.
Here are a few areas of life that have only gotten better with age:
1. Fewer, but stronger friendships.
You have 1,600 Facebook friends and 670 Instagram followers. Five years ago, those stats meant way more to you than they should have. As you get older, you don't let a Snapchat score of 5,400 (OK, I joined that Gen-Z party late) determine your worth.
You've started to crave deeper connections, and superficial numbers hold less weight. And now that you're 30, you've carefully compartmentalized your friends. You have your drink-wine-all-night friend, your shopping-til-you-drop friend, your work wife, your museum-going friend, late-night-clubbing friend, globetrotting friend and the list goes on. But hopefully, by the time you're 30, you've distinguished who really matters, who enriches your life and brings you happiness.
We also learn to let go of the toxic friendships because time is precious, and with everything else going on in life, you barely have enough time for your most valued and trusted friends. This also makes room for new relationships and experiences. And with a little luck, we'll continue to meet interesting people and make new friends long after turning 30.
2. Money in the bank.
You now have the financial freedom to lead a life of luxury. Just kidding. You're basically just excited you don't have to hold your breath every time you swipe your debit card, praying you have sufficient funds.
In all seriousness, you can finally start to afford some of the finer things in life. Like rent for a slightly bigger apartment, a Rent The Runway subscription or a trip to NYC where you can stay in a posh hotel and don't have to couch surf. Sure, we still worry about the future and have goals that are yet to be met, but unlike when we were younger, we now have enough financial experience to know what we need to do in order to continue moving forward.
3. No more faking it until you make it.
By now, you're an OG. You've been in the game nearly 10 years, and this ain't your first rodeo. You've been promoted from straight executor, to visionary. Your experience carries you, and your peers know your voice is an important one. You know your professional worth, can advocate for yourself accordingly in the office and navigate tricky situations. You take risks, mentor and lead teams.
Your peers and friends inspire you. You look up to woman leaders and have an idea of where you're headed professionally. You know the importance of finding your stride when it comes to balancing home and work. And the funniest part is you don't realize you're doing all of this in the moment. One day you look up and realize you made even more happen than you even knew possible.
4. You give zero f*cks.
Remember all the lessons from your early 20s you had to learn “the hard way?" Whether they concerned relationships, work, finances or any other major area of life, chances are you learned (and grew) a lot. Yours 30s is the era of "been there, done that."
You've taken all those 20-something life lessons and applied them to you life. You want what you want, and you no longer apologize for it. You know the importance of the word no, and the implications of saying yes. Basically, the same "I don't give a damn" attitude you had in your teens is back. But now it's more finessed, and you've got the goods to back it up.
5. You're more confident than ever before.
We all have different strengths and weaknesses, and now that we've turned 30, we have a much better understanding of our best and worst qualities. You know what wine you like, instead of just randomly pointing at the menu in panic and drinking whatever they bring you. You know how to do your job and when you're doing it well. You know how to negotiate a lease, invest money, cook a roast chicken and organize a Thanksgiving dinner. Most importantly, you know who and what is important to you.
You've learned a ton about the world, in spite of yourself, just by living. Because you've gained so much more life experience through these milestones, it makes it easier to learn new things and feel more yourself and confident while you learn them. Bring it on, 30. Cheers to you.