Growing up, I was told how good it was to be a child, how easy my life was because I was a teenager, because I was in my 20s and fit and healthy (well, I wasn’t but they didn’t know). So I always thought turning 30 would be the end of my life. I would be so old! My 25th birthday freaked me out. I was already a quarter-century old! God save me, what’s coming next? I hadn’t achieved anything yet… But somehow this all disappeared when I turned 30. I was actually excited for my birthday for the first time in my life. So when my sister turned 25 and started to freak out, I just smiled. Been there, done that.
Later in the day I tried to comfort her by telling her how 25 scared me, but now at 30 I do not feel old. In fact I feel younger than when I was 25. We did yoga together and she pointed out how I am not as flexible as I was last time when we practiced together. Because I am old—she said. My dad told me the same a few days later when he saw me doing my ashtanga practice. Last time he saw me I could place my forehead on my knees… seems like I’m really not 20 anymore—he reminded me. My mom got me an anti-wrinkle face cream set for my birthday because now “I’m that age” so I have to care about prevention before it’s too late.
The whole time I was just watching the things from the side line shaking my head. I really don’t understand this mindset. Am I the only one who loves being in her 30s? Most of my friends turned 30 and jumped into partying again because they were scared they missed out on something in their teens. Some even broke up with their boyfriends because they got scared of commitment and hey, they didn’t have one night stands at university anyways, so here’s to it while they still can—before they turn old and saggy overnight on their 30th birthday. Did I miss something? Or is something wrong with me?
We don’t become old overnight just by turning 30. Life doesn’t stop—in fact I’ve found it gets more and more exciting. First, there are the internal changes, like gaining more maturity and understanding. Maybe this has to do something with being able to make peace with where you are? And our bodies changed in our teens (a lot) and they changed in our 20s too. They will change in our 30s, 40s, 50s… I find it exciting to watch how my body changes, and I embrace all of them and look forward for what is next.
Your metabolism slows down
The number 1 thing you hear about most is how metabolism slows down, which usually results in weight gain (or more time in the gym). I also noticed these changes, but I noticed something else, too. While I can’t eat as much and still stay thin as I used to be in my 20s, I also do not need to eat that much. I practice intuitive eating instead of following diets and I noticed that I simply do not need that much food to have the same energy level as before. In my 20s I could eat all day and still burn it off with the amount of yoga, workouts and walking I did daily. If I tried to eat the same amount of food, I would be wondering why I keep gaining weight. Why do I love this? Because instead of trying to fit into what worked before, I listened to my body and adapted to the changes she required. I rarely eat breakfast because I simply do not desire it, I am satisfied with eating less for lunch and dinner as well, and it feels good. I found new ways to make it work and it resulted in greater connection with my body as well.
The second most common thing people complain about is longer hangovers. While I don’t drink to get drunk, so I can’t tell by my experience, I noticed that it takes less amount of alcohol to get tipsy. While in my 20s I could drink liters of alcohol on an empty stomach and barely suffer from it the next day, now I immediately feel the affects of a glass of wine that goes down with my dinner. Though I miss being able to drink more than a pint of cider occasionally, I love this because it resulted in a more mindful way of living and more respect for my self, especially when i am able to choose feeling good without alcohol and not joining in drinking with other and feel shit after just so I am accepted by people in the given moment. Relationship with me comes first.
I admit, I of course freaked out from finding my first gray hair—right in the middle of my forehead! And guess what? I even found a grey hair in my eyebrow. And why am I excited for this? Well, I am not sure yet how I feel about turning into a silver fox—I didn’t find any other gray hairs, so it would be too early to say, but I certainly got excited for the idea of my hair being more thick. The one I found was much more thick then the rest of my otherwise very thin hair and both my mom and grandma told me their original hair was thin like mine and now both of them have a glorious, thick silver hair! So I have high hopes of one day having natural volume in my hair.
A probably unexpected change in your body is—your libido! A 2010 study found that women aged 27 to 45 have more sex, and more openness to casual sexual encounters than those 18 to 26. It might have something to do with the hormones but what I noticed in myself is that I made friends with my body, I know my self much better and I have a sense of confidence I didn’t have before, and it has nothing to do with how I looked in my 20s or how I look now. Or maybe we just know better what we like and want, and just go for it? That also comes with age and knowing oneself.
Skin—wrinkles and all
There are definite changes in our skin, which is perhaps the most feared of all changes. We lose collagen and wrinkles start to show up, and I noticed my skin recovers and heals more slowly. While many women I know reach for expensive creams and serums or even treatments and surgeries, I learned to make friends with my wrinkles. Though I accidentally found a “magic trick” that reversed my first forehead wrinkle, which I don’t mind because that came from frowning (hint: it’s self-face massage that I use to easy the tension in my face from stress), I realized I really like the wrinkles that come from smiling and being happy. I wouldn’t want to lose them. Another reason why I like this is because I found simple products that work well on my skin, and I was able to reduce the steps of my skin care routine, and it turned out to be cheaper, too.
And yes, as I mentioned before, there are changes in my flexibility as well. I am not as flexible as I used to be and there are certain asanas I am not able to perform in the same depth. But I noticed that my flexibility before was superficial, the flexibility I have now is more deep. By that I mean that the superficial muscles used to be more flexible but now there is more flexibility in the underlying, deeper muscles as well, which allow me to go deeper in postures and hold them for longer. My body also became stronger in a different way. While in my 20s I easily built muscle, just as easily it disappeared. Now I gain muscle with more work but it doesn’t go away that quickly. Somehow my body also became more durable and while I hold the postures differently, they feel more easy and last longer and make me less tired after.
You might notice slight changes in your routines, like you need more sleep or you start to wake up earlier. These are all natural but might be different for each as they come with hormonal changes. In the end, it all comes down to paying attention to your body and what is good for her now, respecting it and making the necessary changes. Instead of clinging to old ways that worked, find new things you can enjoy.
Nothing happens when you turn 30, aging is something that happens day by day since we are born—you might just be more aware of it. But if our society wouldn’t remind you, then would you even notice it?
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Photo: Chermiti Mohamed via Unsplash