Your twenties are over. The realisation may not be a nice one, but it’s one you simply can’t avoid. Middle-age sits squarely in your sights, with nothing between you and it but a notoriously difficult decade – one in which your career, relationships and person identity will flourish – hopefully. Here are our top tips to tackle the next ten years…
You should start saving
During your twenties, you almost get a free pass to be reckless with money. Still slightly shaded under the financial umbrella of your parents – if they’re nice – you can holiday, party and live large. And so you should. Your formative years are the best time to experiment with different paces and styles of life. But you’re in your thirties now – and as much as you don’t want to think about it, you’re almost as close to retirement as you are to birth. So, even if it’s not a huge amount, start thinking about a pension – you’ll thank yourself in the long run.
Your health becomes considerably more important
As with money, your twenties were probably spent in one of two mindsets. You’ve either been sensible your entire life, and began each morning with a run, watched your diet for years, or you’ve started each morning hungover, eaten more fast food than should be admitted and never darkened the door of a gym. But, now those halcyon days of fast metabolisms and mild hangovers are well and truly over, you need to watch what you eat, and do some exercise now and again.
You’ll find out who your friends are
Families will be cropping up all around you as the years creep on, and that – paired with your other friends’ intense focusing and preoccupation with their careers – will see social time cut down into very specific windows, or throw out of the window altogether. But that’s good. The droves of fake friends you accumulated through mutual acquaintances and work during your twenties will fritter away – and you’ll be left with a hard core of real friends, who you’ll likely remain close with for life.
You can’t have everything
The world may have seemed like your oyster during the last decade, but it’s high time you realised that success, relationships and happiness don’t grow on trees – let alone money. You can’t have everything, and the quicker you accept that the happier you’ll be. If you want a successful career, you can’t have a thriving social life. If you want to be a free spirit, a committed relationship may not be for you. Certain parts of your life will have to be sacrificed in pursuit of success – but, eventually, during this decade you will find a balance.
You can still take risks, and make changes
That said, it’s not too late to make changes – even drastic ones. Your career still isn’t set in stone, as you have a good 30 or 40 years of professional working time left on your clock. Similarly, you are under no obligation to proceed with poor personal relationships – if they’re not good for you, move on. You may not be as young as you once were, but you’re still far off old – so ensure you lay the foundations of a happy life now.
Travel while you don’t have too many ties
Travel truly does broaden the mind. So, if you spent your twenties working on a career – slaving away in the city instead of seeing the sights the world has to offer – then it may be time to take a break. Even if you are entrenched in a long-term job, many employers offer the chance to take an unpaid sabbatical. And, even if this doesn’t make financial sense to you, it’ll make even less so as you approach 40 – so make sure you don’t hit middle age without globe-trotting even a little.
Sleep becomes increasingly important
In terms of day-to-day living, there are also several important considerations to bear in mind when you hit the big three-o. Your energy levels will start to deplete noticeably – you’re not the same hormone-charged twenty-year-old you once were. But, even though you can no longer pull all-nighters without feeling as if you’ve been hit by a train – and struggle to get out of bed without your morning vat of coffee – a good 7 or 8 hours of sleep will still see you right. So remember, in your 30s, get your 40 winks.
You should be moisturising
You likely scoffed at the idea of moisturising when you were in your twenties. Not only was your skin as taut and unwrinkled as it was when you were a teen, but you’d probably have much rather bought another pint instead of a month’s supply of facial cream. And we don’t blame you. But now you’re in your 30s, it’s time to start take caring of yourself. Like sleep and exercise before it, this is where we tell you to suck it up and start moisturising your face. Ignore us at your own peril, but no-one wants wrinkles before they hit 40.
Never compare your progress to others
Everybody’s lives move at different paces. Some of us are settled and married before we even reach 30. Some young couples even have children already – but don’t let their head starts terrify you. Even if you’re still trying to find a foothold on the career ladder, or have recently moved out of your parents’, there’s still time for you – and you’ll only slow yourself down by comparing your progress to others of a similar age.
Nobody knows what they’re doing yet
And anyway, nobody has a clue what they’re doing. Even those with young families, or approaching marriage, or in high-flying professional positions, are winging it to some extent. As hard as you may try, you can’t plan out the path you’ll take in life, and you’ll feel just as powerless to external influences as everybody else making the transition from youth into middle age. Everything’s unpredictable; so just lean into it.