Disclosure: Some articles on this site may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Project Hot Mess may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Turning 30 wasn’t easy for me. I know right… poor me hey? But really, it was a struggle. I remember when I was a child my mum told everyone she was 29 for about 4 years. 30 seemed the scary number. I’m not even sure why, it’s just an age after all.
Then I turned 29 and realised that 30 was next, and it seemed to come at me real quick. I thought by this stage in my life I’d have my shit together. You know, life would be dandy, I’d be seasoned at this ‘adulting’ thing and I’d know my ‘purpose’.
But that’s sooooo not the case. Which, as I’ve realised, is totally okay.
So instead of dwelling on the perceived negatives of turning 30, I thought I’d share all the things women should know by the time they are 30.
1 – Life doesn’t happen the way you plan and that’s the best thing.
When you’re young you have this image of what your life is going to look like. What job you’ll have, the kind of house you’ll live in, your husband or wife and your kids – you just have these ‘plans’.
But life doesn’t always go to plan. Which is actually really freaking awesome, because more often than not, when things don’t go to plan, it’s because something better is coming along instead.
2 – You don’t need to know what you want out of life.
Can you believe we expect high school kids to choose a career for the rest of their life? How level headed were you at 16? Did you understand how the world worked? Did you know what you liked and what you enjoyed? I know I didn’t. You don’t need to know what you want out of life at 16, 25, 30 or even 50!
3 – But you do need to be doing something.
While you may not know what you want out of life as a whole, it is important that you have something to work towards each and every day. It might be your next holiday, a promotion or building your own business. Maybe you’re studying for a qualification or training for a triathalon. Whatever it is, make sure you have something that drives you.
4 – Putting yourself first is incredibly important.
As women, we tend to put literally everyone else before ourselves. We would sooner help out a stranger in the street before taking time to look after ourselves. Which is really sweet, but also incredibly draining. You need to put yourself first. Maybe not all the time, but at least some of the time.
Schedule it in, whether it’ half an hour or a whole day – dedicate time to putting yourself first.
5 – ‘No’ isn’t a bad word and ‘yes’ should be reserved for when you mean it.
Somewhere along the line we start to think we need to say yes to everyone and that saying no makes us selfish or stops people from liking us. Not only is this unfair on ourselves, but it’s also unsustainable.
If you’re a serial ‘yes-er’ then start off small. Say no to staying back at work for the fifth day in a row, say no to a night out when you really want to just stay at home, say no to the shop assistant who insists on finding you clothes to ‘try on’.
6 – Know how to cook at least 3 staple meals.
With Pinterest and YouTube showing you how to do everything from boil an egg to preparing a 10 course degustation, there’s no excuse for not knowing how to cook at least 3 staple meals.
One that takes less than 20 minutes, for the times when you’re rushed or just don’t want to cook. One that impresses guests, because it’s nice to have people over sometimes. And one that is your favourite meal, after all you should be able to cook something YOU love too.
7 – Investing in your health is wise.
In your twenties you’re pretty much invincible, you rarely get sick, your metabolism still seems to be functioning and you can handle a night of drinking and dancing until 2am and get up to work the next day. For some, health doesn’t seem like a priority. But it is so important.
Spend the extra money on the organic food if you can, see the doctor when you’re unwell, be active, eat healthy and don’t fear spending money on looking after yourself.
8 – You cannot look after others unless you look after yourself first.
I learned this lesson big time after my son was born. He was unwell and required a stay in the NICU for quite some time. I figured I just had to keep on going for him, I was there from super early in the morning until late at night, doing everything I could for him. Then my milk supply started to decrease.
Turns out, it’s biologically wired into us that we need to look after ourselves first so we can look after others. I started to sleep a little more, take a break each day for myself and drink more water and within a few days everything was functioning much better.
9 – What others think of you is really none of your business.
Not only does it not matter what others think of you, it really isn’t any of your business. Do you like every single person you meet? Of course not. And not everyone is going to like you. Which is absolutely okay. It literally has zero bearing on your life.
You don’t have to like everyone, they don’t have to like you, but you should still be nice to everyone. It’s just polite.
10 – Buy the expensive shirt.
I have spent a lot of money on clothes over the years, particularly on clothes that were ill fitting, that wore out quickly and weren’t that spectacular, because they were cheaper. I wished I’d learned earlier on to buy the expensive shirt I loved, the one that fit perfectly, the one I felt confident wearing and the one that was just so luxurious.
You don’t need as many clothes when you love the clothes you have.
11 – When someone loves you, they won’t try to change you.
Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who tells you they love you just the way you are, but still manages to dislike just about everything you do or tries to change your point of view on things? That’s not love.
When someone truly loves you (and when you truly love someone) you can respect their decisions and choices and not feel the need to change them.
[clickToTweet tweet=”When someone loves you, they won’t try to change you. ” quote=”When someone loves you, they won’t try to change you. “]
12 – Everyone knows something you don’t know.
Literally every single person in this world knows at least one thing you don’t know – imagine if you could have conversations with them and find out what it is. The things you could learn! Make it your mission to find out at least one new thing from each person you meet.
13 – Know your own personality type and use it to your advantage.
Personality tests are seriously valuable tools that can give you so much insight into who you are and how you thrive in this world. For example, you may find that you struggle to work jobs are service based and deal with change on a regular basis because you need structure to feel like you’re achieving something.
This is good to know – it can help you work out a career you’ll love or at least a way to cope.
14 – Success obtained by sacrificing happiness isn’t true success.
If you’re not happy, are you truly successful? You may have the promotion and the fancy car but how does it make you feel?
15 – Define your own success.
Seems like a contradiction to my previous point but they kind of go hand in hand. If you want to truly feel successful, you need to know what success means to you. For some it may be having a job that comfortably pays the bills, owning their own home and being able to explore on their weekends.
For others it may be owning multiple businesses, managing a large number of staff and travelling the world. Work out what success means for you and then work towards achieving it.
16 – Always have an escape plan.
From a job, a relationship, a date or any situation you’re in. While it may sound a little negative, it’s not something you need to focus on or dwell on. You may be in your dream job, which is fantastic, but at least have an idea of what you would do if that job no longer existed.
The same with relationships. I love my husband like there’s no tomorrow but if there was ever a scenario where the relationship ended I have some idea of how I’ll manage. As for an escape plan for a date, well that’s just smart.
17 – You can change your career any time you want.
You are not ‘stuck’ in any one career. The availability and flexibility of education and qualifications now is incredible. You can earn a University degree without ever setting foot inside a uni lecture hall. Amazing.
Can’t find a career you want? Create your own. You can really do anything you want to do. Your only limitation is you.
18 – If you don’t like where you are, move.
For most people, moving is only as difficult as you make it out to be. If you hate where you are, if you’re finding it’s making you unhappy, unwell or just not enjoying it at all, then find somewhere you love and move.
Make it happen. Take your sea change or tree change or whatever it is you need to be happy.
19 – How to change a lightbulb, how to change a car tyre and how to kill a spider.
Come on ladies, this isn’t the 50’s. Get your shit together and learn how to do the basics. You don’t have to be able to service your car but you also don’t have to be the damsel in distress.
And for the record – hairspray works to kill a spider if you use enough of it.
Oh and while you’re at it, buy yourself some basic tools like a screwdriver set, a hammer and a wrench.
20 – How to defend yourself.
Again, this isn’t the 50’s. You don’t need to wait for a saviour. Take a class or do whatever you have to do but learn how to get yourself out of a shitty situation and how to defend yourself (and for the record, having a gun license and a concealed weapon isn’t enough).
21 – How to dress to look your best.
Not for anyone else but so you know how to dress to feel amazing. Some women can pull off a pencil pleat skirt and look a million bucks, others (myself included) can’t.
Know what colours suit your skin tones, know what styles suit your shape and know what makes you feel like you can conquer the world.
22 – The ‘Wonder Woman Pose’ is freaking powerful.
Have you ever tried it? Stand in front of the mirror (or wherever you can) with your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart, hands on your hips and your back straight for 5 minutes each morning. It’s been shown to boost self-esteem and make you feel more powerful – it can even increase your testosterone levels. Amazing.
23 – You can’t expect others to speak highly of you if you don’t speak highly of yourself.
Think about the words you use to describe yourself. Are they positive or negative? You can’t expect others to speak in positive ways about you if you’re always putting yourself down.
Start by finding the things you love about yourself and reminding yourself why you are amazing. Soon you’ll find other people start to talk more positively about you too.
24 – Know at least a handful of ways you can reduce your stress.
Stress happens, and sometimes it’s unavoidable. Which means you need to know how to manage it and how to reduce it.
There are some great ways you can go about knocking your stress levels down a bit (other than a glass of wine), know which ones work for you and use them when needed.
25 – Toxic friends are not friends at all – move on.
You know those ‘friends’ that make you feel shitty after you spend time with them. The ones you kind of try to avoid because they just suck so much energy from you. We’ve all had them. Cut them from your life and move on.
You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most amount of time with, choose those people wisely.
26 – How to pay your bills and manage your money.
Not getting a hold on your finances in your twenties is only going to lead to more headaches in your thirties. Seriously.
Learn how to budget, learn how to manage your money and learn how to do so productively. Read a finance book, find a money management program and make your money work for you.
27 – Self improvement is for everyone, and it doesn’t stop.
There used to be a bit of a stigma around ‘self help’ – like getting caught in the self help section of a bookshop was like a neon sign pointing saying there was something wrong with you.
However, now more commonly referred to as self improvement, it is far more acceptable and encouraged. Self improvement should be something you’re always working on. Read a good book, listen to a podcast, talk to someone or take a course. There’s so many options.
28 – Negativity only creates more negativity.
If you put negative vibes out into the world guess what’s going to come back at you? More negativity. Complain less, compliment more. Criticise less, encourage more. Frown less, smile more. Even towards strangers. It actually makes you feel good too!
29 – Trying to build your own confidence by tearing others down doesn’t actually work.
Keeping on theme with the negativity vibe, tearing others down doesn’t actually make you more confident or build you up. We see it all the time on Facebook, people making horrible comments on posts criticising and doing their best to put others down to try and make themselves feel good. Such a negative space to live in.
Build your own confidence intrinsically instead, and speak kindly to others.
30 – Know what actually makes you happy.
Do you know what truly makes you happy? Like, what can you do to make yourself happy when the world gets a little too much?
I know that if I sit on the beach and just breathe deep and watch the waves crash over I always feel a million times better. I know snuggling under my husbands arm makes me feel happy and safe. And I know that cuddles with my son, playing games with him and hearing him laugh makes my heart explode.
Know what makes you happy and do it often.
Love this article? Be sure to share on Facebook and head over like our page.