If you’re a woman, chances are pretty high that you’ll spend most of your twenties making mistakes and trying to find yourself. It’s an era of insecurity and questionable decisions – a time of terrible internships, and bad sex, and confusing emotions. If you can escape your twenties without making any life-altering mistakes, like marrying a psychopath or ruining your professional reputation, you’re doing pretty good.
On the flip side, however, your thirties are the time for self-fulfillment. By this point, you’ve established your career (yay, big-girl job!), you’ve become secure in your identity, and you’re somewhat solid on the path you hope to create in life. You’re at the point where you’re ready to stop taking shit from others and start kicking ass. You’re entering a pretty amazing era.
I’m turning 32 in a few months, and I now feel like I have enough solid years in my thirties to share the decade-appropriate life knowledge I’ve gathered with other women – hopefully to the betterment of everyone involved. I also solidly believe that one of the best ways to figure out what you want is to first be confident in what you don’t want. Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of things that every thirty-something woman should refuse put up with – things that we all reluctantly dealt with in our twenties. This is a short list of things we should no longer accept or waste our precious energy on as grown-ass women.
Okay, here we go. Here are 10 things that women are too old for past the age of thirty:
1. Being underpaid.
This goes double if you know that you are being paid less than your male counterparts for the same types of positions. I have no idea how the gender-based pay gap still exists in 2015 in the United States of fucking America, but it does. If you feel like you are being underpaid, or you know you are, you need to take the appropriate steps to get that money, girl. Do your research, build a case for the value of your unique skillset, approach your boss, and let them know what you expect to earn going forward.
Don’t accept the run-around or a litany of bottled corporate excuses. If they don’t want to pay you what you’re worth, it is time to clear the decks and move on. Let them pay the intern salaries to the actual interns. You’re a grown-ass woman and you deserve to buy yourself something nice, or at least not struggle paycheck-to-paycheck. Get. That. Money.
2. Neglecting your body.
Okay, so everyone understands that metabolisms slow and weight shifts on every lady as time passes. However, the “I’m in my thirties” excuse is not a valid reason to stop taking care of your figure once you reach a certain age. If you’re hating on your hips or missing your old waistline, hit the gym and reclaim that shit. You may not be a youthful size zero ever again, but you can certainly transform yourself into the best, healthiest version of thirty-something you possible.
Personally, I’m 5’5 and have gone from a waifish 118 lbs in my twenties to a healthy 125 lbs in my thirties, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Mostly, because I’m exercising regularly and taking care of myself, and that’s the best way for a girl to maintain her physical confidence. So get yourself up on that elliptical, girl. I hear the view is pretty great from the top of your physical game.
3. Apologizing for who you are.
I’m a writer. I’m ambitious. I’m passionate. I love with my whole heart. In my twenties, I would often apologize for myself when others accused me of being too much of a dreamer, too impulsive, or overly romantic. Now, I literally give zero fucks about others’ opinions.
If you feel good about the decisions you make and how you treat others, that’s really all you need at this point. Insecure people who feel lousy about their own behaviors or lack of confidence may try to pick apart your character or life choices, and that is completely their problem. You keep doing you girl. Live how you feel and let your freak flag fly as high as you want it to. If you know you’re a good person, you’ve got nothing to apologize for at all.
4. Inconsistent dudes.
In your twenties, you have plenty of time to waste on guys who are super sweet toward you one night and then pretend they don’t know you the next. Some guys are just not ready to handle a romantic situation with a grown-ass woman or willing to put forth the effort that you need from them. And that’s okay.
If you have to guess what he’s thinking, initiate every date, or wonder how many other chicks he’s banging on the regular, it is time to show the bro to the door. You’re an adult now, lady. An amazing smile and killer night moves are no longer adequate replacements for consideration and honest communication. If you’ve given that guy every chance to prove that he’s worthy of your attention and he still keeps fucking up, it’s time to move on. Your thirties are not the appropriate era in which to be putting up with romance-related bullshit. Regardless of how much you care about him, let it go. You are worth someone who puts forth a consistent effort to be a part of your life.
5. Being insecure about getting physical.
I have had countless conversations with my girlfrans who expressed concern over various sexual encounters in which they were worried about the way that their may have ass looked from behind, or if the bedroom lighting was ideal, or if their partner thought that their thighs were too fat. My advice to them, almost always, is: Who. The. Fuck. Cares?
If you’re a woman in her thirties who is doing everything she can to keep herself 100, there is no reason to waste your time or energy stressing about whether or not your man is comparing your thigh gap to Taylor Swift’s. Because if he is, he’s probably an asshole. Your body is a temple and you are aging like a fine fucking wine, girl. Be proud of what you’ve got to work with.
6. Comparing yourself.
Fuck Facebook. I mean really. Fuuuuck Facebook. With my most recent Facebook event invite, I realized that I will be the only one of my college girlfrans to show up at the next engagement party sans husband. And I’m okay with that. While still-insecure girls in their twenties may measure their life statuses by how many of their friends are engaged, buying houses, traveling the world, etc – grown-ass women in their thirties pay zero attention to such comparisons. By the time you’re solidly in your thirties, you’re mature enough to realize that everyone on the planet travels their own, unique path to happiness. You’re calm enough to just chill out and just enjoy the ride. It is pointless to compare yourself to the girls you graduated high school with, or your best friends from college, or that chick who dated your graduate-school sweetheart right after you did. Comparing yourself to others only leads to unneeded self doubt, and you are way too baller of a chick to waste your time with that, now aren’t you?
7. Cheap make-up.
There’s a reason that high-end beauty products cost four times as much as the drug store brands. If you want to escape Wednesday’s happy hour without getting raccoon eyes halfway through – you need to splurg a little for the good stuff. The same goes with skincare, eye cream, and high heels. There are some indulgences in life that make a woman really feel like a woman, and at this point you have worked too hard and come too far to live without them.
So go on, girl. Take yourself to Ulta and go crazy. Save up and buy yourself those Monolos. You deserve it, and besides – it should be easy since you’ve already taken charge and demanded equal pay in step one.
8. Dwelling on the past.
In the words of life coach Amy Young: “I have always done the best I could.”
Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in the choices you could have made, or what your life might have been like if you hadn’t done this or that. The truth of the matter is: You did do this. You did choose that. And life does not have an rewind button. There is no sense, at this point, in dwelling on your past mistakes or missed opportunities. Your sad feelings will do nothing to propel you into the future you want. More than likely, dwelling on what could have been will just drag you down. You’ve got to make like Frozen and let that shit go, girl. You need to trust that you have, in fact, always done the best you could for yourself with the knowledge you had at the time, and that’s all anyone can ever do.
9. Pretending to be okay.
So, I’m not saying that you have to let your emotions rule your actions at all times. However, if you’re going through something rough, it’s okay to take some time to yourself and deal with your shitty feelings about it. Who cares if other people don’t think that the thing you’re hung up on is a big deal? You do, and it’s got you down, so give yourself the proper time needed to heal.
This past summer, I was thirty-one and went through a terrible break-up with my boyfriend of over three years. He made some really bad decisions regarding our relationship, and my friends urged me to “get over it” as quickly as possible on the merit that “he didn’t deserve me.” While that may have been true at the time, I was the only one who knew how I felt about the situation, and therefore I was the only one who could decide what I needed to do to heal. If you’re going through something tough, listen to your instincts and take care of yourself. You owe that to you.
10. Boys without real jobs.
Okay, so I while totally respect a guy who has dedicated his life to a worthy cause or is currently leading a major peace-core effort or something, our thirties are the prime time to be working towards our futures here in the good ol’ US of A. If I meet a dude who is around my age and still living in his parents’ basement, trying to finish his bachelor’s degree, that’s a deal breaker. He could have a face like Gerard Butler and all I would see when I looked at him was the word “unemployed.”
Work ethic and ambition aren’t only sexy, they are key factors in determining the kind of future we might have together should we ever become a couple. Thirty-something gals, don’t settle for a guy who wants to sit at home watching Netflix with his hand down his pants and make you his sugar mama. You’ll only end up resenting the dude. Life is just too short to date boys who don’t know how to man up in the career department. It’s time to find yourself a go-getter.
I hope this little list inspires you to take charge and live the most amazing decade of your life in your thirties. And I promise to take all of the hate comments from the unemployed male readers in stride when they start rolling in.
The bottom line is: Enjoy your thirties, lady. You’ve earned the right to keep your standards and head high while marching to the beat of your own drum. You only have ten years to enjoy this perfect blend of youth and experience. Make the most of it.