I thought I’d start with a bit of an introductory post, and try not to overwhelm you all with my madness just yet. As this blog is about owning your 30s, I wanted to begin by telling you some of my favourite things about this particular decade (my favourite so far… except being seven. I miss being seven!), and hope you will share some of yours too.
Turning 30 was a big moment in my life. I was separated from my then-husband, had quit my job, left the country I lived in, and wasn’t sure where my life was heading. As the date approached, those younger than me mocked me for what they saw as impending doom and a slippery slope to old(er) age. But it was the over 30s I loved talking to, who excitedly welcomed me over and told me the best was about to begin. And how right they were!
So I whittled my list down for you to just five of the reasons I love my 30s. Bear in mind, these are personal and may not apply to the rest of you. We’re all on a different journey after all.
1. Bye bye puppy fat
Ok, so I know they say keeping off the weight becomes harder once you enter the third decade of life, and there is something to be said for that. But for me, shedding the baby fat and losing (some of) the cheeks I was blessed with as a child was a pleasant surprise. I look back at pictures of myself as a 22-year- old, and I see a swollen face, engulfed by The Cheeks and struggling for air. I’m proud to say I think I look a damn sight better now than I did 10 years ago, and the same goes for a lot of my girlfriends too.
2. Sex isn’t so scary
I’m sure there are some of you that agree with this statement. (I can see my family read this post and shudder. Sorry Mum… keep reading, it’s not as bad as you think.) Yes, sex became less scary. That’s not to say I go out and do it all the time. It just means the fear and taboo I felt surrounded it a decade ago no longer exists in my mind. I remember getting lectured by (Asian) friends about waiting until marriage, and I remember the guilt that used to take over me just thinking about it.
Maybe growing up in a quasi-Muslim household played a part in that, but the last few years have instilled in me just how normal it is. On the whole, we’re getting better at talking about it, but in eastern homes and communities, it’s still considered something so private that it’s almost invisible. We all do it. We all enjoy it. What’s the problem here?
3. Happy being Me!
Cliché time (it was bound to happen) but I care less about what people think. Ok, caring less sounds a little obnoxious – of course I care. I mean, I worry less. I’m perfectly content being me, whether that be cackling with my mouth open and my head flung back, talking so loudly in a group that I have to be reminded to use my indoor voice, telling strangers to learn manners when they need reminding, having off days and wanting to hibernate and see nobody, having high days and wanting to do nothing more than run around and annoy the ones I love.
Worrying less is a tough battle, especially when you know it’s one of those niggling traits you were born with. That’s why it feels all the more victorious. Don’t get me wrong. That’s not to say I’m reborn and all zen – far from it! But I’m far more selective about it and so far, it’s proving to be a good move.
4. Separating the wheat from the chaff
This isn’t a point exclusive to me, and a lot of women in their 30s could proclaim the same, but you get to a point where you just don’t have the energy or inclination to give your time to people who bring nothing positive to your life.
Yes, it sounds obvious – isn’t that what we all do anyway? But life moves on, friends move on, circumstances change. Losing some friendships along the way is one of those things. People move away, priorities change, relationships shift. None of that can be helped. But it’s when you look into your life and the roles people play in it that you assess who and what is really bringing something to the table. I don’t mean having relationships that are based on tit for tat. I mean having relationships that are emotionally beneficial, that nurture your positive side and give you a lot of laughter and support. And vice versa.
(Having said that, I have my fair share of friends with traits I find annoying or difficult to understand – patience helps!) The same goes for romantic relationships. No time for losers or time-wasters. Next!
5. Appreciating life!
Learning you aren’t invincible is something my mum used to talk about when I was a teenager. And I’m gradually getting to the point of understanding that. You begin to hear about loved ones going through health problems, tragic tails of lives cut short, and recovery time after a night out takes days rather than a night of sleep.
But all this makes you enjoy everything so much more – every evening out with friends, every family dinner, every transatlantic FaceTIme call with my sister. So my life may not be the same as everyone else’s, and I may not be where I envisaged myself at 34, but my god I’m going to do everything in my power to make the most of it!
Get to know Mishaal Khan, the writer of this article.
Mishaal is a freelance journalist & writer, and has previously lived, worked and studied in Pakistan, London, Paris and Dubai. Although she happily calls London home, she still makes the most of travelling and experiencing new places with friends and family. Having grown up nurturing her more serious side (!), she is now working on bringing out the other (read: more fun) side of her personality!