Your 30s are typically a time of settling down. You can’t get away with many of the risks or bad habits that may have characterised your 20s.
We looked through the Quora threads “What is the biggest mistake you made in your 30s and what did you learn from it?” and “What do you regret not doing in your 30s?” in addition to author Mark Manson’s “10 Life Lessons To Excel In Your 30s” and noticed recurring messages.
For instance, many 30-somethings focus so much on raising a family and building a career that they neglect important relationships and ignore opportunities they may never get again.
We’ve collected below the most common advice from those who have already experienced their 30s.
1. They spend time with people who add value to their lives.
Manson collected over 600 responses from readers who have lived through their 30s, and one of the most common pieces of advice was to stop spending time with those who don’t treat you well and instead spend more time with loved ones.
“Don’t just work. Make memories. The older you get, the harder it is to make meaningful relationships,” writes Microsoft product designer Michael Dorian Bach on Quora.
The entrepreneur and blogger James Altucher writes on Quora that you also shouldn’t forget that your parents grow older as you do. “When I was 34 I hung up the phone on my dad in an argument and never returned his calls. Six months later he had a stroke and died. A week before that he had emailed me to say hello but I didn’t return the email. I’m sorry, Dad.”
2. They pursue their loftier aspirations.
Twenty-somethings often begin their careers with big goals that they set aside to settle for a job they’re not passionate about. Before they know it, a temporary job becomes a career.
An anonymous poster writes on Quora that the biggest mistake of his or her 30s was to become “addicted to a monthly salary,” in the sense that he or she chose job security over career satisfaction.
While it’s certainly more difficult to start a business or switch industries when you’re 35 as opposed to 25, it’s not impossible and may be the right choice.
Vera Wang, for example, didn’t enter the fashion industry until she was 40 and now she’s one of the world’s premier designers.
3. They don’t obsess about the future.
Manson recounts that one of the biggest lessons of his 20s was that there’s not a magical moment where you start feeling like an adult who has it all figured out. He was happy to learn that his older readers said the same thing about their 30s.
“Unless you are already dead — mentally, emotionally, and socially — you cannot anticipate your life 5 years into the future. It will not develop as you expect. So just stop it. Stop assuming you can plan far ahead, stop obsessing about what is happening right now because it will change anyway, and get over the control issue about your life’s direction,” his reader going by Thomas writes.
It’s healthy to have goals for you and your family, but don’t stress out over specifics. Acknowledge that you still have plenty left to learn and that you’re going to continue to grow as a person in unexpected ways.
4. They decide whether they want kids or not.
Kids certainly are not for everyone, but the majority of those who wrote to Manson or posted on Quora say they realised that putting off having children for an ideal situation is a bad idea. If you want to have kids, have them before it’s too late.
“You don’t have the time. You don’t have the money. You need to perfect your career first. They will end your life as you know it. Oh shut up … Kids are great. They make you better in every way. They push you to your limits. They make you happy. You should not defer having kids,” Manson’s reader Kevin writes.
5. They take care of their health.
With a growing list of responsibilities, one of the first things that can go is making exercise and healthy eating habits a priority. But think of putting forth a little effort in both areas as a long-term investment.
“Be healthy. That is priority 1. Don’t get into your 30s being slow and tired all the time. It sucks,” Michael Dorian Bach writes on Quora.
Adam Dehner says on Quora that “at 41, I’ve got a list of physical complaints that might not have come about had I been healthier.”
6. They establish a financial foundation for the future.
Hopefully you used your 20s to figure out a way to pay back the student loan debt statistics say you most likely had after graduating, and also started saving. But if you hit 30 and you’ve set nothing aside, it’s not too late. By this point, though, you need to start saving for your retirement.
Altucher writes about the many times in his 30s that he bet practically all of his money on a business venture and then lost all of it. He is doing well now, but he looks back on his failures as the result of recklessness.
Determine what percentage of your paycheck you can easily live without and consider setting up an automatic investment in a 401k and/or other savings accounts.
7. They still enjoy themselves.
And finally, just because you’re not in your 20s anymore doesn’t mean you need to stop having fun. Bach writes on Quora that he spent most of his 30s chasing money, and it only made him unhappy and more cynical about life.
Quora user Jeff Miller adds that he learned the best times in his 30s were going on dates with his wife and playing with his kids. Among all participants, there was a recurring theme that none of the money you work hard to make matters if you’re not enjoying life.
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