Why your 30s are better than your 20s

Today, 30-year-olds are becoming social entrepreneurs’ – Jacqueline Novogratz

For many, many years I never really gave my age a passing thought; I never needed to. My birthday is at the end of July so I was always one of the youngest in my year at school, as a result I was the youngest out of my friends, I’m the youngest in my family, my husband is older than me and up until my current job which I started in 2012 I was always the youngest at work. I settled very nicely into my role of ‘baby’ in all areas of my life and I was quite happy being everyone’s surrogate little sister or daughter.

I had my first ever wobble about my age just before I turned 33 I July this year. It suddenly dawned on me I was edging towards my mid 30s, that means I’m halfway to 40, and there’s still so much I haven’t done yet; I haven’t travelled to the Far East, South America on been on safari yet, I’ve never done a bungee jump or skinny dipped. And I’m developing really deep wrinkles on my forehead. Where did my carefree 20s go? So I sat and had a think about myself at 23 then a think of myself and a lot has changed, and changed for the better I realised. Sometimes life changes so slowly that you don’t even realise it’s happening it’s not until you look back and realise how little you knew when you thought you knew it all.

Here’s why I think my 30s (so far) have been better than my 20s:

  1. After almost a decade of constantly owing money to different credit cards and doing 3 balance transfers a year to make the most of their interest free periods, I’ve now got my financial shit together and while financial management may sound old and boring, the less money I have to pay to credit cards, the more money I have for wine, so who’s boring now?
  2. I’ve made every hair mistake in the book in my 20’s and now know what compliments my skin tone and face shape the best. I’ve learnt to embrace my natural blonde and rock the graduated bob like I invented it.
  3. Clothes and make up wise, I’ve found my personal style. I know what suits me and I know what to stay away from. skinny jeans, ankle boots and cropped tops are not my friends and I’m ok with that.
  4. Eyesight deteriorating because of old age? No problem, I love the geek chic look anyway
  5. Work wise I’ve paid my dues. I’ve been the office junior, the girl who gets her ears covered when there’s even PG rated sex talk and the dogsbody who’s expected to work all the crappy shifts so the grown ups can have time with their kids. I’ve worked my way up to a good salary and because i’m not the youngest anymore, I get asked for advice and feel my experience is now more respected and valued.

    with great power comes getting picked for the corporate brochure

  6. All my friends are in the same place as me at the same time. Througout my 20’s I compared my relationship to everyone elses ‘they’ve moved in together but we haven’t’ ‘they’re engaged but we’re not’ – keeping up with the Jones’ seemed more important 10 years ago. Now we’re all settled with our wonderful men and it feels like it’s the first time in 10 years we’re all on the same page.
  7. Speaking of friends, i used to live by the ‘quantity over quality’ theory and believed that friends were like twitter followers,the more you had the better. But having a bad friend isn’t worth having and, whereas I haven’t fallen out with anyone or made any enemies, all those mutual acquaintances I never really had anything in common with have fallen away leaving me with my own special girl squad Taylor Swift would be jealous of.

    l-r Ruth, Patricia, Janine, Ang, Me, Steph & Helena all looking very calm on my hen do in York

  8. I’m starting to care less and less about what people think. I would worry about everything from what I wore on a night out to how I answered the phone at work, I don’t know whether it’s an increase in confidence or a decrease in patience for bullshit or a bit of both but when I compare myself to how I was when I was 23 I would say I care about 10% as much now as I did back then.
  9. As a result of not really caring what people think anymore, I take myself way less seriously and am more than happy to make a fool of myself if it’s funny, lightens the mood or cheers someone up. It’s also made me more honest, the more honest you are about yourself, and your shortcomings, then no one has any ammo on you.
  10. I take more risks, because , well life’s too short not too, when I was 30 I jumped out of a plane on my honeymoon, I’m not sure I would ever have done that 10 years ago.

    Floating down over the Great Barrier Reef in Jeremy’s safe hands

  11. I actually think by way of showing more of an interest in the news and current affairs, I’m cleverer than I was 10 years ago even though it’s longer since I was in school. I think I’ve learnt more about history, geography and the world around me through media and experience than I ever did at Crammie High.
  12. Some of my favourite celebs (who incidently are regarded as some of the most beautiful women in the world) Beyoncé, Pink, Jessica Biel, Mila Kunis and Amy Schumer are all in the 30s

I even opened up the question to some of my friends just in case it was only me who felt this way and have actually been on the waiting list at Dignitas since they hit the big 3-0. Turns out it’s not just me:

‘You get to spend Saturday night in watching crap TV on your own and enjoy it. I probably would have worried that people thought I was a sad do if I did that in my 20s but I relish the me time now. I also don’t live with my parents anymore 👍’ – Steph

‘I’m comfortable in my skin. I don’t care what anyone thinks, I wear what I want, eat what I want and I do what want. I’m in a better place financially but I’m also better with money so I’m overall richer!’ – Antonia

‘You don’t have to go clubbing anymore!’ – Dave

‘I do more things I want to do and spend time with people I want to. Coming to terms with the fact that I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up is ok because most people don’t and it’s not too late to learn thanks to Open University’ – Ang

So if you’re at all worried about turning 30, you really needn’t, and has my dad says, you’re the youngest now you’ll ever be so may as well embrace it!


  1. October 20, 2015 / 11:23 am

    great post helen – never give a shit about what other people think!

  2. October 26, 2015 / 3:04 pm

    Helen I love every single one of these points! You had me giggling and heavily agreeing at point 1. More money for wine, exactly!! Kudos for jumping out of a plane though, that’s still on my to do list and I keep backing out. Maybe I’ll leave that one till my forties!! Thanks for sharing such a great post. Louise

  3. October 26, 2015 / 3:08 pm

    Helen I love every single one of these points! You had me giggling and agreeing heavily at point 1. More wine – exactly!! Your thirties really are where things start coming together and you start caring less about all the other bits that don’t anyway. That’s a nice feeling! Kudos for jumping out of a plane though. That’s still on my to do list and I keep backing out. Perhaps I’ll leave that one till my forties!! Thanks for sharing such a great post. Louise x

  4. November 10, 2015 / 4:19 pm

    Couldn’t agree more! I turned 35 last week and I am loving this decade – more settled, my own home, husband, and a wicked business. When you care less about what others think you have more time to care for yourself.

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