Mental Health Moments: The Fear of Turning 30

⌛ By Kaylin R. Staten

Turning the Big 3-0 can be one of the most daunting milestones to face, especially when you’ve spent the majority of your 20s trying to avoid aging like the plague. You buy Olay face cream, take multivitamins and spend time, money and energy doing other proactive, preventive measures to develop your own Fountain of Youth. 

But, guess what? 30 still hits you like a ton of bricks -- or my preference, glitter. Glitter is messy and challenging to clean up, but it’s still beautiful. Just like people still are AFTER turning 30.

So, I have a confession to make: I turned 30 at 9 p.m. yesterday. I will say, after a 50-minute massage, a feast of macaroons and spending time with loved ones, I feel a little better. One day later, I still feel 29, but whatever. I’m 30 now, which means I’m old and wise, right?

If you're turning 30 and are freaking out, here's an article that could help you.

Here are three main ways you can cope with turning 30:

Practice self-love.

Chances are, you’ve changed in these 30 years you’ve been a human on this earth. You may have finally lost your baby fat or the freshman 15 you packed on in college. If you’re like me, you’re trying to now form healthy habits that you haven’t always been fond of, like healthy eating and exercising. No matter where you are on your life’s journey when you turn 30, practice self-love. Don’t be hard on yourself (says the perfectionist). All of us have bucket list items we didn’t get to be age 30. I used to paralyze myself with “What I Want to Accomplish Before Age 30.” I made not-so-great decisions in my mid-20s because I was intimidated by not achieving my “timeline” by age 30. So many items, not enough time. Focus on the progress you’ve made toward those goals and the better roads that led you to even better goals.

But, those gray hairs that appeared in my 20s? Covered up underneath blonde and brown hair dye. ;)

Focus on the positive, not the negative.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with those two numbers staring at you in the face, try to ward out the negative thoughts with positive ones. If you’re a perfectionist and you stare at your accentuated “wrinkles” every time you look in the mirror underneath bad lighting -- I’m talking to you! -- take some time to ruminate. And really focus on what makes you happy: relationships you’ve cultivated, goals you’ve achieved, skills you’ve mastered, the memories you’ve made. You’ve had 30 years to become who you are in this moment and use that knowledge to empower yourself. And let’s face it, all of us have done things we probably shouldn’t have (like eating whole boxes of Chips Ahoy! bars while playing Nintendo games when I was a teenager). Don’t let those moments define you when you reflect. Positive, positive, positive. The universe likes positivity.

Realize that life isn’t over!

If you’re still not where you want to be in your career or haven’t yet met your soulmate, have no fear! Turning 30 is not the end. You still have time to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life to take your dream vacation. You can put money away for retirement. You can meet new people and experience your own brand of memories. Before really delving into my mental health issues and trying to find solutions, turning 30 scared the crows’ feet wrinkles onto my face. Success means something different from everyone, and 30 is the perfect time to sit back and ask yourself, “How do I view success? Do I have unrelenting high standards for myself?” Walk away from the stress you’re causing yourself.

Celebrate your journey, not just the destination. It’s uniquely yours: the bumps in the road and every smooth path. Continue to build your legacy in your own way. Make a list of all of the things you’ve accomplished before age 30. Write a list of what you still want to achieve. Share it or keep it to yourself. (Keeping mine to myself, obvs.)

On a personal and professional level, I still have some accomplishments in the queue. I’m confident they will happen, and I will try my very best to not put a timeline on them.

Here are 30 lessons I've learned during my first 30 years:

  1. You don’t have to accomplish everything on your timeline before age 30. Success is a matter of perspective.

  2. It’s easier to let panic attacks happen than to suppress them.

  3. You don’t have to be a people pleaser constantly. It’s perfectly fine to say no.

  4. It’s better to be kind than to be vindictive. “Kill people with kindness,” as my Ninny has always said.

  5. When people show you their true colors, it’s OK to walk away from a situation.

  6. Talking about your anxiety is therapeutic.

  7. Unconditional love is the best thing about life.

  8. It’s OK to take breaks. The world won’t fall apart, and self-care is vital.

  9. Have goals and do everything in your power to accomplish them, if that is what you want to do. If you find your passion, never let it go.

  10. Explore outside of your comfort zones.

  11. It’s not always other people… sometimes, it really is you. Introspection is essential.

  12. Invest in your physical, mental, emotional health. Taking care of yourself pays dividends.

  13. Spend time with people who matter while they’re still on this earth.

  14. Deal with problems head-on. Be proactive and not just reactive.

  15. The Saturn Return is a real thing and happens at around age 29 for most people.

  16. It’s OK to be your authentic self. For me, my sentimentality aids me more than it harms me.

  17. Traveling abroad is one of the best experiences you can give yourself.

  18. Forgive yourself for past transgressions, and learn to love yourself. You can’t give yourself to others if you aren’t happy with yourself.

  19. Don’t compromise your values for anyone.

  20. Experiences mean more than things. (But, if you’re sentimental and keep things, that’s fine, too.)

  21. Keep journals so you can fully remember your younger days.

  22. Let go of people, places and things that do not serve you.

  23. Learn something new every day, and never act like you have nothing else to learn.

  24. Perfectionism has its pros and cons, but never regret who you are.

  25. Everything in moderation, especially cheese, carbs and Coca-Cola.

  26. Helping others unconditionally is one of the most valuable aspects of life.

  27. If someone doesn’t like you or the way you conduct business, it’s OK!

  28. Business is business. Friendships are something different.

  29. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.

  30. Happiness is the best medicine.

Copyright © MMXVIII Hourglass Omnimedia, LLC

Kaylin R. Staten is an award-winning public relations practitioner and writer. She owns Hourglass Omnimedia, a consulting company based in Huntington, WV. 

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