10 Ways Being in My 30s Has Been Better Than My 20s

There's just a certain swagger that comes with 30.

I was pretty annoyed about turning 30. I felt like it was an end of an era–an end to my carefree, youthful years, mostly because I wasn't sure where I was going. 

Here's where I was: I was a new mom emerging from a self-identity crisis having just quit the job I'd had for years. I didn't know who I was anymore. I sort of knew what I wanted, but I wasn't entirely sure about my skills and talent, so I had no idea how to get there. Lost and unsure, I could feel myself on the precipice of an awakening.

I remember looking down at the glittery candles on my raspberry chocolate cake (with cream cheese frosting–seriously, hands down best cake I've ever had) and actually making a wish. I just really, really wanted to be confident. I wanted to fulfill my dreams. I wanted to join the I've-got-everything-together 30-club that most of my friends in were in. 

But turning 30 brought with it a lot of preconceived notions. In actuality, the milestone birthday has been an empowering journey filled with a deeper understanding of myself and the world around me. 

Here's why being 30 has meant being way more badass:

1. I've learned to question the status quo. I examine every mainstream school of thinking. I pick apart every old, worn-out platitude I've ever heard. I speak up and express my contrary opinions. I no longer drink the cultural kool-aid. 

2. I no longer desperately seek approval. I don't look for anyone else's validation. I look to myself. Am I being the human being I want to be? Am I putting something out into the world that no one else can? Do I like my green hair? Yes? BOOM.

3. I'm a feminist. And I claim it. Sure, I took the college courses. I sat in "Women's Studies." But would I call myself a "feminist" in my 20s? Unfortunately, no, for fear of automatically being labeled a "man-hater." I learned early on that having feminist viewpoints doesn't bode well for employment under misogynistic upper management. Whatever. I work with mostly women now.

4. I value and support women. See above. By valuing women I build them up in any way I can. I praise them. I promote them. I recognize and articulate the great work they do. After all, they've done the same for me.

5. I'm way more self-aware. I always knew I was kind of bookish—that I preferred at least 30 minutes of silence when I came home from work. (I took note of my social awkwardness at parties.) But when I was younger, I actively tried to stop being like that–as if something was wrong with me. It wasn't until I was in my 30s that I learned what an introvert is and slowly started identifying as one. Knowing that I'm an introvert helps me harness my strengths and be the most productive (and happy) person I can be. 

6. I actually go to bed at night. I value good sleep because I know doing so makes me the best mom, wife, and worker. I just need it. 

7. I make travel a priority. I've taken every opportunity to go new places on several different types of budgets and on several time tables. I've even taken my young daughters along for the ride. Spending a night under the stars in the Sahara Desert was life-affirming for us all.

8. I've stopped apologizing. I've stopped saying "sorry" for things I shouldn't actually be sorry for: being right, making people uncomfortable, asserting my opinion. I'm loud. I'm intense. I have a point of view. I leave parties early. I curse a lot. I'm done with being sorry.

9. I'm mindful. I take time out to observe and dissect the environment around me more deeply. I don't sit around meditating (although, I probably should). But I do take more time to be present. By doing this, I am way more confident and I have way more clarity.

10. I want to make a difference. I am moved to make an impact. I want to shake up old ways of doing things. I want to transform the way I work. I want to grow with my family and focus on defying cultural expectations and gender norms for my daughters and for myself. I want to leave something meaningful behind.

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Sarah Hosseini

Sarah is an introverted urbanite hiding out in the suburbs, wondering where is everybody? But, secretly hoping no one comes out of their house to talk to her. Work has published on Huffington Post, Bustle, Scary Mommy, BLUNTmoms, The Indie Chicks Magazine and many more. Sarah has been featured on Huffington Post's and Nick Mom's funniest tweets list. Sarah lives in Atlanta-ish with her 2 girls and husband. You can find more of her work at MissguidedMama.com.