1. A lot of people are going to get married around you, one right after the other. One day you’ll be 24 and no one will be married, the next day you’ll be 29 and everyone will be married.
2. The people who made fun of their friends who got married younger (i.e. before 26) are often the people who are going to be lonely at age 30. This isn’t revenge, it’s just the way it usually works out.
3. Having kids is an important separation between groups of friends. It doesn’t mean you’ll fall totally off the planet if you have a kid, but it does mean that you probably aren’t going to be partying as much as you used to, and it will mean you form different friends.
4. The people who are still as obsessed with drinking at 30 as they were at 25 are not the kind of people you want to hang out with.
5. Some of those people (the 30-year-old party animals) used to be your friends. You won’t really know how to relate to them one day, and somehow it won’t seem that strange.
6. Not everyone is meant to stay friends forever, and you’re naturally going to fall out of touch with a lot more people after the “marriage-and-kids” waves.
7. Everyone generally moves after college, but they settle back in, and usually by around 25 you’ll have an established group again — but by 30, a lot of you will have moved again and settled in somewhere else. This is natural.
8. Having a house where you can invite someone over goes from being something no one has to something everyone has.
9. Being afraid to grow up isn’t going to stop it from happening.
10. 30 isn’t as scary as you thought it was going to be, especially if you are in a place where you have the things you want. 30 is less about chronological age and more about a moment when you look around you and ask what you’ve accomplished.
11. People will cling so hard onto 29 you’d think they were falling off a cliff.
12. If you haven’t already experienced it, sometime between 25 and 30 you will have the first divorce in your extended friend group. It’s weird and awkward, and reminds you that you’re getting older, but as long as both parties are mature it’s not the end of the world.
13. If you’re the type of person who moves around a lot (like a military wife, hello!), a lot of your friends are going to fall out of touch. The ones who stay around and make the effort to email and call are the ones who mattered all along.
14. It’s a two-way street, though, and if you’re not reaching out you only have yourself to blame.
15. Keeping weight off becomes harder. What you could eat at 25 without much thought becomes something you really have to consider at 30. This goes double if you have kids.
16. Mommies can be some of the scariest people in the world. We think we know the most cliquey people out there in high school or in college, but we really don’t meet them until we’re getting closer to 30.
17. You will never actually feel old, but people will start calling you ma’am and it will be really hard to accept.
18. Things start hurting that didn’t before, but it’s also a time when you’re a little bit more responsible about your lifestyle. If you’re eating better than you did at 25 and working out more, not to mention not going out four nights a week, it will all even out.
19. A lot of the most exciting moments in your 20s come in your late 20s, because you actually have money to do things with.
20. Friends who still don’t have “real” jobs and friends who do become pretty separate, because of finances and of schedules. (And yes, stay-at-home moms count. We still have to get up really early.)
21. People will judge you for a lot of your life choices because everyone is in such a different place between 25 and 30, but that shouldn’t matter to you, because you’re never going to live the life that everyone else wants for you.
22. There is no “right” time to do anything, except the time that makes the most sense for you.
23. Celebrating your 30th birthday with your partner, if you’ve been together for a long time, is actually one of the best moments of your life. It feels like an accomplishment, even if it’s just another day.
24. You can’t pull off the same clothes at 30 that you did at 25, and honestly you shouldn’t want to. This goes for both sexes.
25. Your priorities are going to become different as you near the 3-0, but that doesn’t mean you’re becoming boring. If you learn to change your definition of “fun” from “partying, staying up late, and dating tons of different people” you actually start to look forward to your 30s. Wanting to stay young forever is a mentality, and one that you can change if you want to start embracing your age. And I know I do.