I turned 33 this year, and I’m loving it! I once thought that my thirties were “the beginning of the end” -- the end of fun, fashion, and flirtation with my spouse, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve never felt more confident in my skin or excited about the future.
As I look back at my twenty-something self, I would tell her not to fear her thirties - they’re actually pretty great! I’d also share these other nuggets of wisdom with my sweet, wrinkle-free self.
1. Choose Friends and Influencers Wisely
When it comes to friendship -- go deep, not wide. The older I get, the more I crave relational quality over quantity. Do your friends always speak well of you? Of others? Do they influence you to be better? Your community will shape your beliefs, values, and lifestyle more than anything else. Quality friendships are worth waiting and fighting for!
A good friend will say difficult things to your face and good things behind your back. If you’re in a season of destructive choices, a good friend will also be there to encourage you and support you and help you get back on track.
Choose a close circle (or even just one friend) who stands firm in their beliefs and convictions and can help you do the same.
2. Speak Kindly to Yourself
I wasted too many years hating my body -- picking her apart, comparing her to others, speaking negatively about her. Every time I looked in the mirror, my eyes would zero in on my “problem areas.” Self-hatred continually drained my energy and robbed me of my joy. It. Was. Exhausting.
Now in my thirties, I’ve learned to honor the beauty and strength of my body. I now recognize that the sculpted physiques or smooth skin of others don’t detract from what I bring to the world.
I also learned that a lot of my self-destructive decisions were based on low self-esteem. I gave away parts of myself that I regret and I often let others use my body - even though it made me feel worse than before.
When I began to speak kindly to and about myself, I realized I didn’t have to forfeit my beliefs or boundaries for the attentions or affections from men who didn’t deserve it.
3. Seek Healing from Past Wounds
Your emotional health is worthy of attention and care. Although you can’t change the past, you have an opportunity to write the ending of your story. Here are some truths about healing:
- Your pain doesn’t get to define you.
- Family cycles of dysfunction can end with you.
- Healing within yourself helps bring about healing in others.
- Give yourself time.
On this subject, if you’ve had an abortion in your past and feel that you need to reach out to someone who’s been there and begin the healing process, come see us. We provide post-abortion support and counseling in a safe, confidential, judgment-free space.
4. Make Choices that Reflect the Future You Want
This one is simple in theory, but often difficult in reality. The question to ask is,
“What decisions am I making today that will help build the future I want?”
Changing unhealthy habits can sometimes take time, while others just take resolve. Not sure what habits or destructive choices need to change? Sometimes it helps to envision what you don’t want and then make decisions that would protect you from unwanted or unplanned outcomes.
As a counselor, I’m pretty familiar with the unplanned. Our clients facing an unexpected pregnancy often share how they wish they had ended their unhealthy relationship months ago, or say they knew they should not have changed their physical boundaries to please a guy, or they regret their previous abortion and don’t want to continue down that path.
We never judge those “I regret” or “I wish” statements, but we are here to encourage you to live an empowered and healthy life. Making decisions in your twenties that you want your thirties to reflect, takes intentionally, but it will always be worth it! Trust us.
5. Live Within Your Means
Mastercard, Amazon Prime, DoorDash -- we live in a culture of instant gratification. I can purchase new Nikes or the entire Taco Bell menu with a swipe! In a world of “buy now, pay later,” it’s easy to rack up debt and neglect a budget. However, smart financial decisions in your twenties will enable you to reach long-term dreams.
Here are several ways you can achieve financial freedom and set yourself up for future success.
- Set and stick to a budget. I personally recommend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course.
- Don’t fall prey to living outside your means. Your rent and/or car payment should not be over 25% of your income.
- Pay off credit cards and cut up the troublesome ones. If you can be faithful about paying them off, keep one or two open and boost your credit score by completely paying off your card(s) each month.
Live within your current budget and circumstances and your future self will thank you!
I hope some of these thoughts have resonated with you. The goal is to be happy and content with where you are while keeping your head up and focused on where (and who!) you want to be. Being content is definitely a secret I wish I had learned much sooner, as contentment takes great focus.
I believe that misery and joy are fueled by our focus, not our circumstances.
When we focus on all that is good, we are practicing gratitude. This humble virtue has the power to transform our mood, emotions, and the way we experience life! It’s tempting to believe that joy is found in the next big life event - marriage, parenthood, homeownership. But in reality, joy is found in a heart that has learned the secret of gratitude. Your thirties aren’t something to be feared or rushed. Learn to drink in this sweet decade of life -- with all its energy, vigor, and collagen!
I’m cheering you on, Twenty-something! The very best is yet to come!
If you’re reading this and you are in need of pregnancy services or after-abortion support, make an appointment today. We are here for you. No shame. No judgment. Just the care you need in the season you’re in.