I’m a lawyer in private practice in Canada, and I’m now in my early 30s. I started this website to help other professionals take control of their money and career and, in turn, their lives through intentional living. You can read more about my story here (About Us). Mr. OYP (Owning Your Profession) is also a lawyer, and writes on the website from time to time.
In this post, I share with you what I’ve noticed change in myself now that I’m an early 30s female professional, with no kids and a dual-income couple. DINK means “dual income no kids”. Obviously, my list will not apply to everyone equally, but I thought it would be a fun way to share what you might expect to happen in your early 30s.
1. You’ll know who you are. You grow into your skin and find your identity.
I realize now that when I was younger, I didn’t know exactly who I was or who I wanted to be as a person. I don’t mean what career I wanted, but actually who I was as a young woman. Now, in my early 30s, I know who I am and I’m confident in my own skin.
I know what my values are, I know what’s important to me, I know my strengths and what I’m good at, and what I could be better at. I also know what I enjoy spending my time on, what I enjoy doing and what brings me pure joy.
If you’re looking to do some self-discovery, I highly recommend you check out Ms. Montana Money Adventures posts on Money Mentoring Questions: Be – Have – Do and her exercise on What is Your Ideal Day?
Mr. OYP (Owning Your Profession) and I have done this exercise together, and it was very eye opening to see how I envision my ideal day and how it compares to the days I’m currently living … (Yikes! My current days need some work!)
In your early 30s, you figure out your priorities and what’s important to you: relationships with family, relationships with friends, having a nice house and driving a nice car, financial independence, your career, community connections, personal hobbies, travelling, pursuing your passions (personally and professionally). It could be one of these things or a mix of some of these things, with some being more important to you than others. It could also be something totally different that’s personal to you.
2. You'll become more confident in your body.
When I was younger and had to wear a bathing suit or a dress, for example, I was so focused on my insecurities and what was “wrong” with my body that I couldn’t accept it as it was and love the favourite parts of my body.
Now that I’m in my early 30s, however, I’m less insecure about my body and I “own it” – flaws and all. I’d be lying if I said that I had no insecurities, but I definitely have WAY LESS than when I was younger.
I think it’s because now I’m comfortable with my body, now that I’m older and wiser. My body isn’t going to change for the better (without surgery or a ton of exercise), so I might as well accept it and highlight my assets. I wish I could have felt this way when I was younger because it would have saved me from being so concerned about all my flaws and what was “wrong” with my body.
In your early 30s, you grow into your body and learn to love yourself or learn that loving yourself can be powerful. Cause, unless you’re getting surgery to fix something, you’re stuck with what you have, so might as well embrace it.
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3. There’s less drama.
Compared to when I was younger and thought the world revolved around me, there is much less drama in my life now.
I find that the “drama” that does come up in my life, is different in that now that I’m older, I have self-awareness and have developed the skills to handle difficult or stressful circumstances with more poise, confidence and strength than I could (or would have) in the past.
4. You'll appreciate your family more and want to spend time with them.
Now that I’m older, I want to spend time with my parents and make sure I keep in regular communication with my parents.
Life gets busy and it’s easy not to call your parents for days, heck even more than a week. But for me, my family is important and a priority, so I know that I have to be intentional about maintaining those relationships. So, whether it’s flying out to see my parents for a weekend or putting a reminder in my phone to call my parents, spending time with family becomes important in your early 30s.
With technology today, thankfully, it’s much easier to stay in touch with family. If you don’t already, why not get a WhatsApp Group Chat started and have a family chat group where you can send messages, photos and videos?!
When I was younger, I was always looking for ways to challenge my parents’ authority (sorry, mom and dad), and now I feel terrible about how I behaved in my teenage years, so maybe in a way I’m trying to make up for it now. But, in all honesty, my parents are like my senior advisers, and I consider them my friends.
It doesn’t even have to be your own family that’s your priority – it could be a friend’s family that makes you feel special and you enjoy spending time with or it could be your significant other’s family that treats you like their own child.
The older I get, I also appreciate that life is short and spending time with your family is an important part of your life and you have to make an effort to spend time with them and contact them.
5. Your friend list may shorten, but you’ll find out who your real friends are.
Your free-time becomes more limited when you’re working full time, have a significant other you want to spend time with, hobbies you want to pursue, a side hustle, places you want to travel to, and a place you want to keep neat and tidy.
So, this one comes back to your priority list and what you’re going to make time for and can make time for. I have a few friends, but they are the best kind of friends, because whether I see them monthly or once a year, we always pick up right where we left off. I have a few friends that I message with on a daily basis and others I only see at Christmas.
You’ll find that you have to be more intentional with your time because it becomes more precious and limited than when you’re younger and the world revolves around you, or at least that’s what I thought.
And, final point, unless you’re super intentional about spending time with your friends who have a child or children, because your interests will change, so too will your relationship with them. You’ll attend less events together and while they’re hosting or attending kids’ birthday parties, you’re off traveling in Europe or working during a weekday birthday party. I find that I still keep in touch with those friends, but that we spend much less time together.
6. Your metabolism slows down.
I can tell that my metabolism has slowed down, not only because I’m getting older but because much of my day job is me sitting at a desk, in front of a computer.
I can certainly notice that it’s catching up to me, and sometimes more often than I like to admit.
When I was younger, I’d be able to skip gym days, eat pizza or McDonald’s fries, study for hours on end without moving from my chair and gain minimal weight. Now if that happens and I have long hours in the office for a week or a month, I gain weight quickly and it takes twice the amount of time to get rid of it. UGH!
My advice – don’t skip your workouts or exercise class, if you can help it! You have to put yourself FIRST – cause if you don’t, everyone else’s stuff becomes a priority and you never do.
7. Drinking wine becomes socially acceptable.
This is just an observation.
When I was younger, I don’t recall drinking wine in my teenage years or even in my early twenties – or it even being my drink of choice (my friends will correct me if I’m wrong). But now, I go for wine with friends after work, we do blind wine tastings, we go to wine tastings and then buy wine bottles we tasted and we order wine at concerts and hockey games.
8. You spend more time at home.
When I was younger, I was never home. I was either in school, working one of my three jobs, at the gym, with friends or at dance practice. In fact, my parents would give me heck for never being home and claim that I lived in a hotel. I might add that I had to do chores at that “hotel”, which you don’t have to do if you’re staying at a hotel.
Now, I LOVE spending time at home. It’s probably one of my favourite places to be. Maybe because that’s where I get to work on this website (which I LOVE by the way) or because I get to sit outside on the covered deck in the summer or all the natural light that comes into the house.
9. You’ll go on more family vacations and probably want to.
Carrying on from #4 above, I look forward to family vacations and go on them yearly. Yes, the trips are a little intense and a lot crazy, but overall, they’re fun, some of the best memories and important to do.
When I was younger, I didn’t really want to go on family vacations because I preferred to use my vacation time to go on trips with my friends. (I was kind of an ungrateful teenager, but weren’t we all once?!).
10. You read more about current events.
When I was younger, I don’t remember caring about current events or what was going on outside of the bubble that I lived in.
But now, in your early 30s, you care about politics and what is going on in the world. Not only do you care about traffic closures and homicides in your city, you care about politics, the financial situation of your country and the markets and happenings around the world. You realize that there is more going on that you want to know about and be able to talk to others about.
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11. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it can buy financial independence.
A big focus of my website is personal finance, but specifically financial independence.
Yes, I agree that money cannot buy happiness and the happiness it can buy is fleeting, but I think that money is important to buying your financial freedom.
12. You’ll attend less weddings and more baby showers and kids' birthdays (if you’re lucky enough to get invited).
When I was in my 20s, I was going to about 5 weddings a year consistently for a couple of years. Then, my early 30s came and now, I go to maybe 1 wedding a year, if that.
It’s been great for the bank account, but it gets evened out a bit with baby showers and kids’ birthday parties.
13. You'll learn that meditating can change your life.
I’m a HUGE advocate of yoga and meditation. I’m planning to make my next post all about meditation – what it is, the benefits and how it will change your life. Stay tuned!
14. If you're focused only on the destination, you’ll regret not being present in the journey.
I used to be OBSESSED with setting daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals in addition to 5 year goals before I got into law school. I’m a strong believer in goal setting, heck it has gotten me to where I am today, but I was so focused on the goals that I wasn’t present in the journey. And, I regret that.
I used to have a vision board (and of course, it was decorated, colour coordinated and organized by goal category). I even went so far as to put the score that I wanted on the LSAT on the dashboard of my car (a score of 160), to remind myself constantly and put a message out to the universe of what I wanted to get on the LSAT.
Although I mock the goal setting obsession I had before getting into law school, I should point out that the goal setting and messages I sent out to the universe (laws of attraction) WORKED. I am a practicing lawyer and have been for about 6 years, but that’s not the purpose of this post. If you want to read more about my story, click here (About).
I vividly remember the day I got accepted into law school. I was standing in a parking lot after finishing my shift at job #3 and my dad called. He called me about a package that had arrived at the house for me in the mail. I wanted to know what was in the package so I asked him to open it. As he read out the acceptance letter, I started CRYING (if you have read any of my other posts, you’ll know I cry easily). But, my yoga instructor says crying is a form of release, so let’s go with that. At that moment, I felt so relieved that I wouldn’t have to pursue a Masters degree and that my hard work had FINALLY paid off. I was so happy and thankful to have gotten accepted.
Then, additional acceptance letters rolled in and I got to choose which law school I wanted to attend. This decision changed the course of my 5 year goals, which was to get married and have children at specific ages. Let’s stop there with the 5 year goals and move onto law school.
Once I got into law school, for me, it became all about the day when I was going to officially be a lawyer. I also became fixated on the day that I would be debt free – the day I would have paid off all my student loans, so I would have $1 to my name. I have paid off all my student loans, and you can read how I did it here in 3.5 years.
Now in hindsight and now that I’m older, I know that I became so focused on the destination (becoming a lawyer) that I lost sight of the importance of being present in and enjoying the journey of law school (enjoying the schooling experience). Yes, law school is difficult and I had to work hard to get to where I am today, but as I look back on that experience and reflect, I have some regret about not living in the moment and being so focused on destination.
I wasn’t as present in the day to day. I was so focused on the “list of things to do” for doing well in the class and finding a job after law school that I didn’t take the time to enjoy each day, to slow down on my walk in to school and smell the flowers or notice the sun rise.
And, I found that once I got to the destination (become a lawyer), THE DESTINATION CAN BE RATHER ANTI-CLIMACTIC! There are no balloons and no fireworks when you reach your goals (unless you’ve planned for it).
Enjoy the journey because when you look back, sometimes you will have wished you did enjoy more.
- You’ll know who you are. You grow into your skin and find your identity.
- You’ll become more confident in your body.
- There’s less drama.
- You’ll appreciate your family more and want to spend time with them.
- Your friend list may shorten, but you’ll find out who your real friends are.
- Your metabolism slows down.
- Drinking wine becomes socially acceptable.
- You spend more time at home.
- You’ll go on more family vacations and probably want to.
- You read more about current events.
- Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it can buy financial independence.
- You’ll attend less weddings and more baby showers and kids’ birthdays (if you’re lucky enough to get invited).
- Meditating can change your life.
- If you focused only on the destination, you’ll regret not being present in the journey.
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