Turning 30 is a big milestone: that’s three decades on this rolling rock!
But what comes next is just as important.
And all too often people make a really big mess of it.
Here’s how to avoid these common mistakes that people make after 30…
10 mistakes people make after turning 30
1) Settling for negative relationships and friendships
One of the biggest mistakes people make after turning 30 is that they settle for negative relationships and friendships.
We all have those people in our lives who are literal energy sinkholes.
We spend an hour with them and we’re ready to go stick our head in a hole, or have a couple of dozen shots of bourbon at the local watering hole.
The thing about turning 30 is that it can seem a lot like we’ve more or less been dealt the hand of cards we’ll be playing with for life.
But the truth is that this isn’t the case.
You don’t have to put up with an abusive boss, or stay in a relationship that’s slowly crushing your soul.
You don’t have to stick with eating unhealthy food or being depressed.
You can change: that power is absolutely within you.
This is especially true of making the decision to let go of toxic relationships and connections which no longer serve you.
As Richard Feloni writes for Insider:
“Some people start to settle in their 30s because they think taking risks or making bold decisions is for 20-somethings.
“But age is not an excuse to stay in a relationship, friendship, or job that drains your energy.”
2) Letting their career plans crash and burn
Many people turn 30 and more or less decide to stick with what they’ve got.
Don’t do this.
It’s a big mistake, and it’s also inaccurate.
The truth is that there’s a world of opportunity in front of you regardless of your background or what you’re experienced in.
Are you an architect who wants to transition into a new career as a town planner?
Well, the two careers are related and there’s no reason you can’t make that happen.
Even if you work as a software engineer and you want to become a painter, it’s fully possible with the right career planning and strategy.
Then there are promotions in general, which are fully achievable if you keep working at it and sticking to your guns.
“The time you spend worrying about not being good enough or experienced enough for a higher position could be the time you spend taking on a new role and learning how to thrive.
“Therefore, you should try to build your self-confidence to overcome career advancement barriers.”
3) Forgetting about their physical health
The unfortunate truth is that many people have poor health even in their younger years.
Health scares and serious illness are enough to impact us for the long term.
But for those of us who take our health somewhat for granted in our younger years, 30 can be a wake-up call.
When our health goes downhill it can go downhill fast. That’s why turning 30 can be a sign that you need to pay attention.
Whether it’s an unhealthy diet or assuming that you’ll be fine even with minimal sleep and not much rest, you can’t take that risk.
Many people live their middle age by thinking they have a blank check in terms of their health. But the truth is that our health is a fragile thing and we can never afford to take it for granted.
The fact of the matter is that the Kuwaiti dinar (KWD) is not the most valuable money on earth: in fact, health is the most valuable currency on the planet.
You can never have too much, and once it’s gone you can almost never get it back, especially once the monitor reads a flatline.
“Be healthy. That is priority 1.
“Don’t get into your 30’s being slow and tired all the time.
“It sucks,” advises Michael Bach.
“You can always sit down and work. You only have a period of time where you’re at your peak physical. Use that shit up.”
4) Becoming bitter about not finding love
Love is hard.
As the 80s band the Alarm sings in their song “Love Don’t Come Easy”:
“Love can take you to the mountain
Love can make it move
Love can shine her burning torchlight
In the bed of fools
Love can be your witness
She is judge as she condemns
And that’s why love don’t come easy
Sometimes love don’t come at all.”
Let me add to these lyrics by saying that I believe that starting with self-love, love can arrive for each of us in its own way.
And that’s an amazing thing!
But the truth of the matter and what this song is pointing out is that love is not a prize or a thing you just “get” because you work hard or deserve it.
Love really is profound and deep, and there’s no guarantee that you get what you want. Love is a struggle and a test, a profound experience that unfolds in its own way for each person.
When love has gone wrong – or not gone any way at all – it can be easy to give up hope by age 30.
You may find yourself saying “f**k it” at a certain point and chasing sex, work or fun instead.
You give up on love because it seems like a trap that’s just going to crush you in its cruel jaws.
You don’t want anymore of the drama and you look at potential partners cynically as sex objects or irrelevant.
Don’t make this mistake: you could miss out on the future love of your life.
5) Neglecting personal finances and savings
Your attitude to money and how you relate to it can make a big difference in your life and can also reflect a lot about your energy and how you relate to life.
On a more practical level, you’re going to need money when you get old.
If you get reckless and waste money, it can be extremely difficult to have a decent life later on.
The truth is that financial planning might not sound sexy but it’s extremely important.
Whether you want a nest egg for later on or you only want to have enough money to survive, then you’re going to need to care at least a little bit about finances.
If you don’t make an effort to save up, you could easily end up high and dry with no savings in your bank account.
When you’re 42 and wanting to fall back a tiny bit on savings it can be a real pain in the back to realize you have nothing in the bank.
Artist and filmmaker Alicia Prince puts it well:
“Even if you feel like you’ll never be old in your 20s, the day will come when you wish you had started saving a little earlier.”
6) Deciding the future is already set in stone
After 30 it’s easy to start feeling like the future is set in stone.
By now you may have an established career, relationships, home and all sorts of other things.
But the truth is that many people undergo changes throughout their life and there’s no reason to put an expiry date on things at a certain age.
By the time you’re 30, it doesn’t mean that everything’s over or that you can’t start again.
You can change careers, change relationships and decide what it is exactly that floats your boat in this life.
There’s no requirement for settling into a certain lifestyle, job or relationship. It’s really up to you, and many situations are far more malleable than they look at first.
“Sometimes the hardest part isn’t letting go but rather learning to start over.”
7) Allowing negative self-talk and self-image to take over
Many of us have self-esteem issues and feel like we’re not good enough.
It leads us into codependent relationships, depression and even worse situations.
The self-talk can become a raging chorus of negativity that drowns out everything good in your life.
You have this little voice that’s telling you that you’re a piece of crap who doesn’t deserve anything good to happen and who won’t ever succeed.
It’s awful to have these little reminders, and before you know it you’re living in a one-man or one-woman psychodrama that never seems to end.
When will you ever feel good enough? It seems like an endless struggle.
Self-talk is one of those little things that seems like nothing at first but can slowly creep up on you and ruin your life.
As author Elizabeth Scott writes:
“Negative self-talk can affect us in some pretty damaging ways.
One large-scale study found that rumination and self-blame over negative events were linked to an increased risk of mental health problems.”
8) Losing touch with their family
Your family is the one thing that can never be replaced.
One of the biggest mistakes people make after they turn 30 is that they sometimes become overly independent.
They think now that they’re full-grown they don’t need those who put all the work into raising them.
Now, granted: some of us grow up in toxic or uncomfortable home situations and want nothing more than to get away.
But nonetheless, whenever possible it’s vital that you do your best to maintain some ties with family.
Life is way too short, and once they’re gone, they’re gone.
Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean family bonds are getting any less important.
As work gets busy and your time gets tight it’s easy to start taking family for granted.
But things will be a lot better for you if you make an effort to check in every week or two and keep those family bonds strong.
9) Losing touch with their values
One of the biggest mistakes people make after turning 30 is that they start losing touch with their values.
Whether it’s abandoning the religious or spiritual values you were born with or deciding to embrace a corporate lifestyle that’s not really in line with your values, it’s a real temptation to ditch the old you.
Now you’re starting a new chapter and you want to try to be “normal” or fit into what you think the mainstream of society requires.
For this reason, you may start to assess what the majority opinion is or believe what everyone else does.
My heartfelt advice is to not even bother.
Sooner or later – even if it’s twenty years later – you’re going to come back around full circle and realize that all the pretending and false masks weren’t worth a minute of your time.
The least you can do is learn from this. But it’s even better to not even try to be somebody else than who you are in the first place.
Stick with who you are: there’s already enough of everyone else.
10) Becoming inauthentic
Being authentic can be a bit of a trap.
The more you try to be real the more it can be inauthentic.
The truth is that there’s no recipe for being “real” anymore than there’s a recipe for being a supposedly good person.
As Justin Brown explores here, letting go of the need to be a good person can actually be the first step to becoming…ironically…a fairly good person.
The fact of the matter is that nothing can replace being an authentic person.
No matter how much money you make or how great your partner looks, you’re eventually going to be facing yourself in the mirror.
And it’s not just about if you like what you see.
It’s about if you even recognize what you see.
Being a genuine person who’s honest with themselves and others doesn’t just come down to the impression you make on the outside world.
It also relates to the relationship you have with yourself. When you’re honest with yourself and real, that reflects out to everyone else around you.
The bottom line about turning 30
As I said, turning 30 is a big milestone. There’s plenty of reason to celebrate, but there’s also a good argument to be made for why this can be a make-or-break moment.
When you’re entering the rest of your life after 30 it can be easy to fall into old habits.
Our psychological and behavioral patterns formed in childhood are hard to break.
Those we build up in our 20s are even harder to get rid of.
“There’s nothing wrong about chilling on the sofa, and it doesn’t matter whether you have to work with your hands at a factory or with your mind in an office.
“But if you spend all your weekends like this, it’s time to think about your psychological health.”
The truth is that 30 is a big opportunity: this is your chance to seize the day and decide if you want to remain how you are or change.
There’s nothing wrong with continuing on the track that you’re currently on and continuing to improve.
At the same time, it can be excellent to strike out on a new path and go for something new.
The decision, ultimately, is up to you.
And that’s what 30 is all about: new beginnings and seizing control of your destiny.
You can’t avoid every mistake – but you can avoid some
None of us are going to get through life without a few scratches.
But if you’re looking ahead after 30 years there’s plenty you can do to sidestep some of the most common mistakes that people make.
Remember to stay optimistic and never give up: life’s full of challenges but it’s worth the trouble!