The Daunting Transition from Your 20s and Things I'm learning in my 30s!

Is it just me or transitioning from 20s into your 30s was a bit daunting at first?

At the time of my upcoming 30th birthday, I wondered what this transition was supposed to be? Am I no longer allowed to make the type of mistakes I made in my 20s? When you hear things like "Your 20s are for fun, for learning, for making mistakes, but your 30s are for earning, for growing from your mistakes", it doesn't make turning older any fun or any less intimidating. Do you dig deeper and be the bigger person in all family arguments? Do you now have to do your laundry way before you're on your very last pair of underwear? When you're dating someone, does it need always be leading somewhere? No more hooks-ups or casual dating?

I grew up in my 20s watching shows like Sex and the City, whereas a 20-something year old, you relate to the characters having fun on a night out with their girlfriends and going through tough, life-defining break-ups with their boyfriends. Watching SATC in my 30s for the 100th time, the show is still relatable but the things hit much closer to home, showing the hilarious truths of life in this decade along with the uncomfortable realities of it.

I've just entered this new decade of my 30s (will be a 32 YO next month!) and here is a growing list of things I'm learning as I go plus the lessons I'm carrying over from my 20s. Overall, I feel like I'm carrying a huge IDGAF attitude while trying to balance the things I DO care about actually 🤷🏻‍♀️

PS. it's snowing outside in NYC and it's a complete whitewash outside my apartment window. I'm cozied up with a hot cup of coffee in bed which really set me up for some reflection over the past decade of my life. Also, it helps that I'm not bogged down by the everyday minutiae (Go for a walk! Submit my pet's insurance docs! Find a PCP in the city!) to sit here with my thoughts and combine all the random thoughts I've written down n my iPhone Notes app over the past few years! 📝

1. Find inspiration, make it a habit

  • I've found that by seeking inspiration, I'm able to stay motivated and curious! From taking a walk around my neighborhood without any headphones, where I'm taking in the sights and sounds, my mind is in a state of wonderment. I find ideas for paintings, for writing, for work. I get curious who lives here, what they do, how they got there. I wonder about when that building was built, what were the times like in that part of history, who lives here first. I see a moving truck or tossed sofas for garbage collection and wonder where they'll be moving, why are they leaving this amazing city. That leads me to wonder where I will be in 5 years and where I want to be. These thoughts bring me clarity, new perspectives to an argument I may have had, calm to think clearly when I get back to my apartment. IMO, Inspiration is truly the glue to my well-being It leads to the curiosity which leads to motivation for getting things done which leads to the overall achievement of goals.

2. Define your Brand and keep it consistent

  • What defines you? Is it a hobby? A passion for a non-profit or helping a cause? A character trait that goes beyond just helping yourself? Your work? You don't need to have a perfect career path figured out or a perfect vision of your life ahead. If you do have this clear picture, that's always fun. But, it's important to know what you stand for, what your political viewpoints are, what are your skillsets. When someone mentions your name and you're not in the room, how do you want those people in the room to think of you and what do they actually think of you? Have strong opinions. What are your absolute deal-breakers, guidelines, must-haves when it comes to your work and your relationships? When your brand is defined, it'll help you stand up for your work and yourself.

3. Friendships come, evolve, grow, dissolve and all of this is okay.

  • Some friends become family. One of my dearest friends went and checked up on my mom because she wanted to make sure she was doing okay after a stressful situation that happened with another one of my family members. And guess what? I didn't even know she did this until a few months after ❤️

  • I also went through a friendship break-up. Someone I have known since middle school and have been a good friend with since high-school. Now, we no longer talk, make an attempt to reach out, be there for the really big moments of life like getting married. And, you know what? It's okay because as painful as it was in the moment, we both knew the relationship was no longer serving us. I'm allowed to miss it because it was great while it lasted and we had so much fun together, but the relationship existed to teach us lessons and help us grow into better (maybe more compassionate) friends in other relationships.

  • I lost in touch with a friend who I considered very close to me and we didn't keep in touch or talk for several years. We then ran into each other at the airport, had dinner once we were both back, and hopefully, can now regrow that friendship.

  • I made friends after turning 25 and we see ourselves getting old and wrinkly together 👵🏼, experiencing life's ups and downs together, grieving the loss of family members and pets, buying houses, having kids, growing in our careers

4. Workout for your health, not just to look good in a 👙 👗 🤳

5. Start investing as early as you can

  • If someone could have taught me when I was in my 20s that investing is not that hard to get started with, I would have done it a long time ago. I was intimated. I felt as if I didn't have enough money with paying off loans post graduation or enough knowledge to know where and how to invest.

6. Your taste will change over the years! Quality over Quantity when it comes to clothes, friendships, men (LOL), wants (having or not having kids, to get married or not to get married)

7. Take rejections with a grain of salt

  • Rejections are inevitable. I listen to constructive feedback. I reflect on why someone gave me this feedback or rejected me. I learn from criticism while keeping my confidence intact. Not everyone knows how much work you put into a project or what actually happens behind the scenes. The right opportunity, person, or thing comes along as long as you stay true to your personality and yourself.

8. Admit your weaknesses because you're not afraid of being vulnerable

9. Free your mind from everyone else's opinion and Instagram version of their stories so that you don't become prisoners of your own psyche.

10. IDGAF attitude is sometimes very necessary. Set boundaries when it comes to personal space. Say No. FOMO no longer dictate my happiness. When I was in my early 20s, I kept seeing and hearing people say "Say YES to everything". There's also a very popular book by a successful and well-known Hollywood producer, Shonda Rhimes, called Year of Yes where she committed to saying yes to everything for a whole year. Of course, you're going to get opportunities and meet new people when you're constantly out and about doing things. DUH. In my 30s, I'm of the mindset of saying NO for so many reasons. One of the main reasons being my time has become so precious. We are all very connected these days with social media. We're plugged into so much technology. We're always in the know about what our friends are up to. Sometimes, I need to unplug and spend time on things that quiet my mind and the things that replenish my gas tank. Saying yes to everything so that you don't hurt someone's feelings or so you don't miss out on things happening does necessarily lead to happiness.

I'll stop here. Each one of these can be its own conversation topic. I'm sure there are many more things we can talk about here and this isn't a static list, but an ever-growing one. What are some of the things you've learned and reflect on with each birthday? I'd love to know! Find me in Diem @nidhi! 💬 ♥️