I just was on Facebook and I saw a high school friend of mine was turning the big 3-0. In the comment section there were a plenitude of older women with enthusiastic comments such as “Enjoy every moment of it, your thirties are your most productive years.” I loved reading this. Yes it seems like this might just be true, finally tuned in to what you know is important and finally feeling enough pressure to act with abandon, like your life depended on it (because it does!) Part of being thirty-something I am coming to realize is about having to claim space and allow yourself the tools you need to get going on what your work is. Whatever work this might be. If it is children, if it is art, or music or medicine, or a combination of all of these things it is a time to make room for your energy to flow into what you care most deeply about. There is no room for second guessing. As I was hanging on to every word of my favorite doctor: Dr. Rhonda Patrick,https://www.foundmyfitness.com/ , who I have already mentioned in this blog, I realized how much trust and abandon she has with her research and her commitment to what she is doing. She is making a huge impact in the field of aging, health and fitness.
There is simply no room for hemming and hawing. This seems impossible. No doubt she must hem and haw from time to time. But really it comes down to a simple approach that involves holding your space. Not letting anyone or any self loathing or fear of getting older encroach on this very important time, your thirties. I should repeat what the kind lady said in the Facebook comment about my friend “The most productive years of your life.”
A few of the things that I have stumbled upon while making the transition into my thirties have been: feelings of reduced self esteem, of guilt and depression, of negative thoughts about my body and appearance, health concerns, financial insecurity. This list seems quiet overwhelming and pretty negative, which leads to more feelings of “why isn’t life working out yet, or why does it seem to be getting harder?” Many of these things when going through a major life transition like turning thirty-something require a lot of courage and compassion. I believe all of these things are real and important and legitimate worries but I know that each one of them can be improved and can down the line lead to many great outcomes like “my body and my appearance are not perfect but I will let myself be loved completely”, or “I am struggling financially, to I have learned how to manage my spending and my money so I feel a sense of relief and security”. All of the negatives that may be looming out there post twenties life are the seeds of something that may not be the exact same sources of happiness in your younger years but can be new sources and can bring great joy and satisfaction. The trick may be that in your thirties you have to decide that your weaknesses that you cannot necessarily control can be your greatest challenges and sources of potential joy and strength.
One great exercise to try and tease out tease out and start to deal with these challenges would be to first write down all of your weaknesses and points of stress in your life. Now, make a bubble around each word or sentence ( leave plenty of room to write around the bubble.) Now write words that these words remind you of, anything, just stream of consciousness. Next make a list of the happiest things in your life and proudest things and do the same thing write stream of conscious words and thoughts around these things. Now compare the two. Finally, next to each negative bubble, write one passive thing and one active thing that you can do to change your idea or behavior towards the negative bubbles. For example on bubble might be “My skin isn’t as healthy as it used to be” next to it an active thing I can do that I know improves my skin is running three times a week. A passive thing I can do is to reset my expectations and my standards of what my skin should look like, and I could do this by looking up pictures of older ladies with really wrinkly skin (which looks really beautiful actually) and starting to shift my mindset.
One part of ageing in this culture is feeling bad about it. We need to start to embrace it truly and early to really flourish, to feel comfortable with who we are and not impede who we can become and who we need to become!
Thank you for reading.