I’ve recently turned 33 and I’m finally getting to an age where I don’t feel like a kid anymore – yes, at the age of 33! For the past 10 years or so I’ve felt like I’ve been playing grown-ups, not like I actually was one.
But after the birth of our third child and with life slowing down a lot due to the COVID, I do feel like a real grownup now and I’m actually really happy about it. When I was in my 20s I thought I’d want to be in my 20s forever but once I’d lived that stage of my life I was ready to move on to the next. Life would be like groundhog day if you stayed young forever and with each year that has passed I’ve felt very ready to start a new chapter of my life.
I loved being 18 and going to uni, going clubbing virtually every night, living on £50 a week, waking up every morning with a hangover and life being one big party. But I definitely wouldn’t want to do that again!
I loved being 21 and travelling the world, meeting new people every day, staying in budget hostels in a dorm room with 16 people, sleeping somewhere different every night and life being one big adventure. But again, I wouldn’t want to do that again!
I loved being 26 and living in London, hustling hard, working and networking, burning the candle at both ends and life being all about my career. But, yes you guessed it, I wouldn’t do that again either!
And now I’m loving being a mum to young children. Life is chaotic and noisy but also slow and tranquil. There’s so much joy in the everyday adventures and the little moments that will soon be the big memories. But I wouldn’t want to get stuck in this stage of my life forever. Having young children is a stage in life filled with so much love and emotion but it’s hard work and all-consuming. I don’t want to rush this stage but I also know I’ll be happy to reach the other side of it and get some time back for myself.
What I’m basically saying is that it’s really important to enjoy each stage of your life, but it’s also important to be happy when that stage is over and feel ready for the next stage.
Without further ado (yes, I’ll stop waffling) here are 33 thoughts I’ve had recently that were about turning 33 or things I’ve realised since entering my 30s!
- If your 20’s are for finding yourself then you’re 30’s are for enjoying the person you found. Honestly, your 30s are amazing.
- Life becomes much easier when you’re genuinely happy in your own skin. You stop thinking ridiculous things like, ‘What if no one likes my outfit?’ or ‘Did someone think that was a stupid thing to say?’ When you love your outfit, you don’t care if no one else likes it. And when you know that was an important thing to say, you don’t question it. Unless you’ve had four G&Ts and stupid stuff really is spewing out of your mouth. That still happens!
- I’m genuinely quite nervous about the next 33 years of my life. The first 33 years were incredible, what if the next 33 aren’t as good? What if I just got really lucky for these first 33? I can’t picture what my future will look like and that scares me.
- I LOVE that I’ve finally accepted my personal style. I used to say I wanted to ‘find my style’ but I actually always had a style. I didn’t need to find it, I just needed to accept that my style is always jeans!
- I’ve been surprised to find that aging doesn’t bother me. I don’t mind getting older and looking older and I don’t try to hide my signs of aging. Growing old is a privilege and what once seemed ‘old’ now seems so young. I look 33 and I’m absolutely OK with that and I don’t want to look like a 20 year old!
- The media would have us believe that our younger years are the best years of our lives but I don’t agree. Don’t get me wrong, my 20’s were amazing but life just gets better and better because you have more and more amazing memories.
- My school days definitely weren’t the best days of my life! People tell school kids to enjoy their school days because they’re the best of your life and this terrified me. The best days of my life definitely weren’t spent shivering on a cold hockey pitch, learning about algebra, desperately trying to get served in the local pub and waiting tables in a restaurant. Trust me, life gets much better!
- I still feel really young. I wonder when I’ll stop feeling young?
- It’s probably when I talk to a 20 year old and realise they are so young! I thought I was so mature at 20. I wasn’t. I was a child.
- ‘At age 20 we worry what others think of us. At age 40, we don’t care what others think of us. At age 60, we realise they weren’t thinking of us at all.’ This is a quote by Ann Landers so I’m cheating with this one but this is just so true. Maybe I’m old before my time but I’ve already realised that most people don’t give a shit and they’re not overanalysing that stupid thing you said when you were drunk. No one cares about the stpid thing you said when you were drunk.
- You will never be as young as you are right now. If you see a photo of yourself now and you don’t like it, you’ll probably look back on it in 10 years and think you looked incredible. So take more photos, you look amazing.
- Real life communities are the best thing. Online communities are great but nothing beats real life connections and feeling part of a group. I was so sad to leave London but moving to a rural village with a very strong community has been wonderful.
- Less is more. Always.
- Listening to my feelings and instincts is probably the most important skill I’ve learnt since turning 30. I have this urge to tidy, declutter and organise whenever life feels a bit overwhelming. I’ve had this all my life but I’ve never acknowledged that the two things go together and acknowledging things like this is really helping me understand myself better.
- Finding your tribe is magic.
- I feel like I’ve still got a lot of natural fitness that comes from being young but at what age will I lose this natural fitness? When will I need to really work at my fitness to be able to enjoy life without getting puffed out?
- Spending your money on experiences rather than things really is a better way to spend your hard earned cash. In 10 years time you will have forgotten all about that £200 handbag but you won’t forget about that gorgeous weekend away.
- Taking photos and storing them safely is EVERYTHING. Even crappy photos of everyday moments become priceless little treasures in 10 years. Take more photos and videos and store them safely, you’ll thank yourself in the future!
- Recognising procrastination is an important life skill. When I was younger I’d spend hours making to-do lists and researching things and saving money to buy things – but it was all just a way of delaying something I was scared to start. Realising this was a game changer. It doesn’t stop me procrastinating but at least I can recognise when I’m scared to start something and ask myself what’s scaring me.
- When people are dicks, it’s usually because of fear. Get to the bottom of what they’re scared of and you’ll realise most people are really nice.
- Having goals is really important to me. I like to achieve things and if I don’t have any goals I don’t feel like I’ve achieved anything, even if I have actually achieved loads! Lockdown was a good example of this and I wish I’d set myself a little lockdown goal so I felt like I was achieving something on those long and endless days.
- Hangovers now feel like a waste of a day. I used to almost enjoy an indulgent hangover day on the sofa but now I’d hate to waste 50% of my weekend being hungover!
- You can’t make anyone else happy until you’re happy yourself. It’s a cliche but it’s true and I don’t think it’s selfish to put yourself first. I often put myself before my kids (shock horror!) because kids take up so much of your energy, you need to be running on 100% or they’re just going to drain you for everything you’ve got.
- It’s hard to find what makes you truly happy without being influenced by other people and the media. The media makes us think that more stuff will make us happy. This might be true for some people but it isn’t true for me and it took me a long time to realise this!
- As I’ve got older I’ve started to question all the things I’ve been taught, especially the things that were so normal that I didn’t ever question them as a child. Mostly to do with consumerism and this constant hamster wheel we become trapped in where we work to buy things we don’t need so we have to work harder to buy more things to maintain this lifestyle. But we then have no time to enjoy our lavish lifestyle and then we have to pay other people to look after all the lovely things we buy because we have no time or energy to look after them ourselves.
- Time doesn’t go too quickly when you do a lot. The years seem longer when they’re full of happy memories.Lockdown went really quickly because we didn’t do anything for six months.
- You’ll always have a special bond with people you went to school with. Even if you have nothing in common, growing up with a person makes you close for life.
- If you’ve got the power to change things you don’t like, you should change them. And you have more power than you think. I remember being around 18 and moaning about my flabby bingo wings. Now I’m in my 30s you’d never hear me moaning about my flabby bingo wings because I’ll be too busy doing tricep dips to make sure I don’t have flabby bingo wings! This is obviously a very trivial example but it drives me crazy when people spend so much time and energy moaning about something they have the power to change. If they put all that energy into fixing the problem then they wouldn’t have something to moan about! But this raises a whole new point about most people actually enjoying having something to moan about!
- Don’t compare yourself to people who are at a different stage in their life to you. They say comparison is the thief of joy but I don’t 100% agree. Comparison can be a great source of motivation to get out there and do all the things you said you were going to do. If Tracey Next Door has done it, why can’t you? But comparing yourself to people who are at a completely different stage in their life to you is where things get dangerous. Tracey Next Door just ran a marathon but Tracey’s kids are all grown up, she works part time, she was a long-distance runner throughout her 20s and she has considerably more free time than you to train! Don’t beat yourself up about it.
- Finding the joy in routine and organisation can be life changing. I wish ‘Organise and Declutter with me’ YouTube videos were a thing when I was 21 because I could have really done with watching those back then.
- Accepting what takes up headspace is really important. Sometimes it’s the accumulation of little tasks that take up the most headspace and they can leave you feeling overwhelmed. It can be hard to acknowledge that something as simple as deciding what to have for dinner every night of the week can make you feel overwhelmed but life is much easier when you accept it and find ways to make the decision making easier. Just because it seems like a small and simple task, it doesn’t mean it isn’t taking up headspace.
- Make more time to play. Play with your kids, your dog, your partner, your friends. Life is often way too serious and we forget to make time to play.
- Keep trying and learning new things or life will become boring very quickly. We live in a world where it’s never been easier to learn a new skill and try something new so take advantage of that and keep learning!