Nine Women on Turning 30: Joys, Fears, and Regrets
I turned 30 last November. But I didn’t have the time to fully take it in, as that birthday weekend last November was spent in a flurry of activities. So I guess I didn’t feel (at least at that exact time) the huge impact of turning 30. I don’t think I’d also previously given much thought to the 30 age. Apart from the fact that I’d considered a fancy photo shoot with the big 30 foil balloons included - because social media makes us believe that’s what you do, I hadn’t seen it much as a defining age and for the most part I assume things will go on as normal.
But I’ve realised a few changes and inner paradigm shift in my thought process and general thinking. So, either it’s true that 30 for many women is an age where they really start to think, or it’s just a coincidence that right now in my life as I turn 30, I’m very conscious about self discovery.
But how do other women feel turning 30? What are their joys, their fears and their regrets?
In this piece, 9 amazing women who turned 30 at their last birthdays, share how they feel about this magical age!
I’m very excited to have turned 30! My twenties were a bit choppy, but life has eased into an adventurous, upbeat rhythm of enjoying the highs and standing firm in the lows. I’ve learnt to live beyond myself, sharing in the burdens of the disadvantaged and seeing how far a little love can go.
The thirties are all about doing! I plan to consolidate on the experiences of my twenties. I am especially grateful to experience my thirties with my husband and best friend. He is such a force, propelling me to be the best version of me. My relationship with Jesus also received new life in my twenties, and I cannot wait to live out all the amazing things He has planned for this life of mine.
One thing I plan to live by in the thirties and beyond, is to stop wasting time! There’s so much to do with the life and time I’ve been given, it would be such a shame to fritter it away on meaningless stuff. I also plan to live in conscious joyfulness no matter the circumstance.
I still can’t believe 30 is here. I know I don’t speak for myself alone when I say I feel 21. Unlike a lot of people who have dreaded turning 30, I’ve actually looked forward to it.
Turning 30 to me, means embracing womanhood, taking charge of my life, and being unapologetically me. In my early twenties, I felt the need to fit in rather than stand out, and spent much time worrying about what others thought of me. But as I’ve grown older, the quote “why fit in when you were born to stand out?” has become a daily reminder to embrace myself.
I am thankful my twenties are concluding on a high note - bagged my degrees, married an amazing man, and became a mother! Cheers to 30! To pursuing godly connections, great skin, and staying hydrated!
I’m mostly happy, but sometimes I feel a wave of anxiety. Not because I’m worried but because I’m constantly checking if I’m being my most efficient.
I’d always been one to shy away from responsibility, but after turning 26, I decided I needed a shake-up. I didn't want to enter my thirties being a non-starter. So in 2014, I started a not-for-profit organisation, ActionGX, which encourages children and adults to love and take better care of their communities and the earth through environmental education and participation. The scariest thing I started with 30 staring me in the face, is my podcast, The Clime. Although I had a million and one reasons not to, thanks to my friend Usman who was constantly on my neck, I started afraid and we’re eight months in already.
I’ve learnt the importance of wholesome friendships and not to be selfish or take them for granted. Also, discipline - treating myself with a firm hand - has helped me achieve a number of goals. Finally, I can’t leave out reliance on God. If He has called you to a journey, He will fund it.
I never intended to view turning 30 as a significant, life-changing moment. All I wanted to do was travel solo and spend my birthday in Rome, which I did. But the funny thing was that on 1 January 2018, it was as if life forced me to address and take cognisance of my life, who I am, and where I was headed.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that pain and suffering are inevitable in life and our purpose is not to avoid them, but rather to understand that we can still find peace and joy in their midst. I have spent most of my life trying to avoid discomfort and pain. But when I turned 30, I was faced with so much of it that I had to stop and reflect. This allowed me to be fully present and treasure every single experience, be it good or bad, because it was there to teach me something.
The other lesson I have learned is to trust life. And what I mean by this is, trust God. Easier said than done, particularly when things are not necessarily going as planned. I had certain expectations of what I wanted to accomplish by 30 - some of them unrealistic, others not. But, the “disappointments” have forced me to learn patience and most importantly, trust the One who created me, for He knows the plans He has for me. I have come to realise that everything I need, I have and that is enough - the rest will come when and if I need it.
To those who are next, turning 30 is a big deal, but not in the way you might think. It’s not about stacking your accomplishments against your friends’ or what society dictates, or suddenly becoming profoundly wise and knowledgeable. It’s really about realising that who you are (flaws and all) is enough. You matter. Whether you’re 22 or 30, what you have to say matters.
Your greatest wealth is your relationships (learn to lean on them) and your greatness is not in what you do, but who you are. If you still don’t know who you are, you have your whole life to figure that out. Why not start at 30?
I am thankful for the highs, lows, setbacks, progress, growth, tests, trials, joys, and every single experience I have had in the last decade. I survived two near-death experiences, studied at the world’s best law school (even if I say so myself), failed for the first time, experienced heartbreak, graduated with a first class, and mentored young law students/lawyers. I have also fallen in love, travelled to new places, developed new relationships, received recognition for my work both publicly and in private, and had the opportunity to do things I only ever dreamed of. I am proud of the woman I am because of these experiences and very excited for the future.
I have learnt to live life on my own terms and I love it. The Yoruba adage says “A kì í wo ago aláago ṣiṣẹ́” which means “Do not set your time using someone else’s time piece.” We are all on separate journeys and should not compare ourselves with other people. While I do not advocate being lazy, I believe things happen for each person at a different pace. As you wait on those goals, bloom where you are planted and be inspired by the progress of others.
I used to be terrified of failure; it literally became a decision maker in my life. If I felt like I was going to fail at something or an idea I had was bound to fail, I did not go ahead with it. In my twenties, I found myself in a situation beyond my control and I failed at it. When it happened, I thought my world was going to crash. In retrospect, that event taught me the true meaning of love through my support system, gave me the opportunity to be there for a friend who had to have lifesaving surgery and, in the end, led to great career opportunities for me. I have now realised that every time I allowed the fear of failure decide for me, I cheated myself of invaluable experiences and learning opportunities.
“Do what you love” is the inscription on a bracelet I bought as a pre-thirtieth birthday gift to myself. I hope to be more intentional about truly living life as against just existing; do more of the things I love even if it means stepping out of my comfort zone.
I enjoy teaching and hoped to be an adjunct professor of corporate law before I turned 30. That has not happened because I procrastinated and allowed “life” steer me in other directions. It’s still on my “goals list” and I plan to realise that dream sooner than later.
Focus on your goals and dreams and if they don’t come true before you turn 30, it’s okay. At the end of the day, your thirtieth birthday is just another date on the calendar of your lifetime. Finally, as you go through all of life’s multiple demands, remember to pause and enjoy your life’s journey.
When I turned 30, I felt this sense of freedom and responsibility like I’m finally at the stage where I really do not care about people's futile opinions or 'people-pleasing.' It also makes me feel like I’ve joined the league of extraordinary old and wise people; like I’m a grown-up.
I am proud of having completed my Masters. Although I’m not where I want to be career-wise, I’m grateful to be where I want in terms of starting a family.
In my twenties, I learnt to always 'go-for-it'; work hard, use every opportunity. I also learnt that it’s okay to make mistakes, but more importantly to learn from them and move on. One advice I’ve definitely dropped is 'testing waters to see how it goes.’ If I can sense something is not right for me, there is absolutely no use trying it out.
Like the Nike slogan, ‘Just do it,’ I hope to follow my dreams. Take more risks, travel a lot, and basically just live my life.
I had hoped to be more settled in my career but things have not quite worked out as well as I hoped. Still, I am hopeful - I believe God has a purpose for every delay or setback.
Don’t let the pressures of turning 30 get to you. It’s just a number and an opportunity for a fresh start for the next decade of your life. Simply do you and get better!
I feel like turning 30 is God’s way of saying you are now “born-again” into your true being. It doesn’t feel like turning 20 where I just wanted to be seen as an adult. It feels like I am fully coming into myself and who I was created to be.
Having kids and serving through my business has taught me to live beyond myself. I am definitely dropping the YOLO mantra in my twenties. There’s so much more to life than that, like creating generational wealth and having a lasting impact.
What I am most proud of is understanding and embracing my journey. I used to be so engrossed in and carried away by the cliché rat-race; constantly comparing myself to people and putting myself under so much pressure. Now, even though I’m definitely not where I thought I’d be in my business, I’m doing what I always wanted to do – domestic staffing. I thought by now it would be on a larger scale. However, life happened -marriage, relocation, babies - but I am not in a hurry. I am on the right course and in due time, every dream will be actualized.
In my thirties, my major goal is to pay attention to myself and the things that bring me joy as an individual (not simply as a wife and mum). People don’t believe me when I say I haven’t watched a full movie in five years. Not because I don’t want to, but there’s always something else to handle (family needs especially). I know attaining this goal will take deliberate effort, planning, sacrifices, and money.
One of the major and most useful lessons I learned in my twenties is; "When you need to splurge, don’t dip into your existing savings. Rather invest it and use part of the dividends." So, I plan to increase my sources of income, save more, invest more so I can grow my wealth and enjoy life.
I am so excited to be turning 30. One word that describes how I feel would be “courageous.” 30 is courageous and satisfied to be me.
I'm most proud of my career journey. Winning top sales person in Sub-Saharan Africa in my organisation two consecutive times would be my most outstanding achievement.
I frankly never thought clearly about where I would be in terms of work but I’m definitely going to be deliberate about the next decade. I would also have loved to have a family of my own.
The most important lesson is to be clear about what you want and not settle for less.
I used to be a “destination addict” but I’m learning to be happy and thankful for the now! I plan to travel more in my thirties.
I know some people or movements try to make it seem uncool to want to be married, but I really do want a family of my own. It’s not a desperate need, but I am clear now about why I want to be married. I also thought I would have an MBA by now.
29 comes with a lot of pressure and makes you feel like time is running out. Don't fall for the scam.
It feels surreal to turn 30. I absolutely love it! I’m not sure there’s a way to feel. Old? I think I look a lot younger than 30. I do not even sound 30. It’s interesting how people’s facial expressions turn when I tell them my age. In my head I just say thank you Jesus!
I am proud of myself; I have grown and discovered a lot about myself. The way I think and communicate, my business, my walk with God -- it’s been amazing. I like to believe I’m on a journey. My past achievements and/or mistakes have been the drive and inspiration for the next.
I worked in HR for three years before cosmetology school and my boss would tell me “Uuch, you’ll have to start making decisions for yourself, not madam said this, my mum said this. What do YOU think? You have an opinion too and people want to hear you speak.” I love to teach. I’m working on how I deliver what’s in my head concisely. God gave me a nice voice and I may as well use it.
I hope to be intentional in all my dealings. I had the bad habit of procrastinating and would never get things done on time. Then when I’d eventually start, my perfectionist brain would tweak and fine-tune for a long time.
I’ve been basking in a season of extraordinary joy. This childlike behaviour keeps flowing out of me. I’d like to invest my time in productive things. Learn, unlearn, relearn. Chase after people and invest in them. Plan a holiday. Go out often. Take care of me.
I thought I’d be married by 25! I thought the salon would be churning out billions by now. I wanted to take my first solo Europe trip this year, but my purse had other plans.
Turning 30 soon? Don’t panic! You’ll be just fine. Be intentional about everything, from spiritual to financial matters, your skills, and relationships. Again, life is what we make of it; the extent to which you give determines how much you’ll receive. Give 110 percent in everything!
I know it’s not just me that thought these responses are filled with gems. If I tried to write my own experiences I don’t know if I’d have been this articulate but I relate with pretty much all of this. Being 30 is beautiful. Not perfect, but absolutely beautiful. It’s the year of coming wholly into yourself - accepting your awesomeness and yes, the flaws as well. The year of doing, putting all fears aside and embracing your wholesome journey.
Have you turned 30? How do you honestly feel. Are you still in your twenties - do you feel anxious about the big 30? Please share your thoughts!