Nov 142014 3 Responses

Ten Reasons Life is Better in Your Late 30s

When I was in my mid-20s I was with a group of people of various ages. The topic came up, what is the best time of life?

I knew better than the traditional thought of high school and college. Both seasons of life are fun, but they aren’t close to being the best time of life. I expected a person’s 20s to be the best. In your 20s you live on your own, are in great shape, and start living your own live.

But the consensus of the group was the 30s, and particularly the late 30s.

I didn’t understand it then, but I do now. It’s hard for me to imagine life being better than it is now.

Here are 10 reasons life is better in your late 30s:

1. You are starting to know and accept yourself. Life is a continual process of discovery, but in your 30s you begin to get an understanding of who you are—strengths, weaknesses, habits, etc. While the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” might never fully go away, by your 30s you start to have some idea. Knowing and accepting yourself allows for an appreciation of life and others.

2. You realize no one is cool. From the moment we enter school until well into our 20s, we are often chasing cool. We want to be in the cool crowd, with the cool things, and be seen as a cool person. Thankfully the myth of cool eventually fades. It takes a long time for us to understand but no one is truly cool. We all struggle. We are all imperfect. Everyone has weaknesses. (See: The Only Time I Was Ever Stoned)

3. Your marriage is built on love and trust more than lust. When young couples get married, they think they love each other. After being married for a decade, a couple knows they love one another. Experiencing the ups and downs of marriage, learning to communicate and forgive, allows a couple to trust each other. True love is built on trust. While the physical relationship remains important, it becomes an expression of love and not its centerpiece.

4. You’ve experienced enough life to gain some perspective. My six year-old regularly says, “Dad, this is the worst day of my life.” He might think it’s true, but I know better. It takes some years to put our days into perspective. I know just because today is bad doesn’t mean tomorrow will be. I also know that what I often call a bad day isn’t that bad at all. (See: Trust Me It Matters, Read This Before You Die)

5. Your kids are old enough to sleep and young enough to believe. The newborn years are hard on parents. Not only are you learning to parent, but you are sleeping very little while doing so. Thankfully, those years give way to late preschool and early elementary days. In this season, your children begin to become somewhat self-sufficient, but are still highly dependent. Parents are heroes in these days. Few things are as fun as watching a child who is full of wonder.

6. You are starting to earn real money. They say your 30s should be the decade you learn to make money so your 40s and 50s can be productive. If someone has made wise choices, their 30s can be very fruitful. The days of living paycheck to paycheck should be behind you and there should be enough money left over to invest in the future.

7. You’re young enough to do nearly every physical activity, but wise enough to refrain from stupid activities. Most 3-year-olds are still able to run, jump, and do nearly any activity they have ever done, yet the next day they feel the effects of their activity. This ability, mixed with feeling the effects, keeps them from doing things which the average teenager or 20-something may not think twice about. Being able to do something, but wise enough not to attempt it, is a wonderful place to be in life.

8. You return to things that are truly important. If faith was an important part of your childhood, it’s not unusual for your late teens and 20s to be spent without giving it much concern. However, there is something about growing kids, the aging of parents, and the tragedies of friends which can remind us we want faith to be an active presence in our lives. This element can bring a deeper meaning and value to life.

9. You still have time to change. Unless your dream is to be a professional athlete, your 30s are a time in which nearly every dream can still come true. It’s not too late to go back to school, change careers, pick up a new hobby, etc. You’ve lived long enough to know what you want to do, but not too long for it to be too late. (See: Three Loves to Change Your Life)

10. You’ve had enough bad experiences to appreciate the good ones. Life is best lived in gratitude. By your 30s you should have experienced enough heartbreak, disappointments, and unfulfilled dreams to truly appreciate the areas in life which you have been blessed.

It’s not true for everyone. And if your 30s aren’t good, don’t assume the rest of life will be bad. However, your 30s are a tremendous opportunity for growth, meaning and appreciation.

Sadly, too many people speed through their 30s either trying to still live like a 20-year-old or assuming all of life will forever be this way. It won’t.

Hopefully life continues to get better, but so far, there has not been a better time in life than this.

3 Responses to Ten Reasons Life is Better in Your Late 30s
  1. Singapore lady Reply

    Hi! Some good points here to make me feel better as a woman in my late 30s.. But the parts about spouse and children being old enough are not relevant to Christian singles (or even those who are married but unable to conceive due to infertility problems)…. As singles who have not yet married and especially as aa Christian Single Woman in our late 30s, life can be more difficult as we realise the prime of our youth and beauty are over… not to mention reading your blog about others whose children are already grown up, we feel left behind… We don’t even have a mate yet but our peers’ children are already nearing the end of Elementary school years. We feel even more alienated.

    • Crazy Cat Lady Reply

      To Singapore Lady: I’m not a Christian, but I am a woman in her late 30s without biological children (my significant other has two older children, an adult and a teenager). I’m unable to have children, so I understand all of the feelings you’re feeling, and it still bugs me a bit sometimes that I just won’t have kids of my own.

      But there’s a silver lining to every cloud. I’ve learned to enjoy not having to wake up in the middle of the night to tend a crying baby or a sick child and to enjoy having a good bit of alone time, both with myself and with my significant other. I’ve learned to enjoy friendships with other people who are single and/or childless, and for all of the friends or acquaintances who can’t stop talking about their kids, well, they have other parents to talk to. I have more time for hobbies. I can focus my maternal instinct not just on my significant other’s children, but also on pets and on helping other people. Life can still be fun and deeply meaningful for women without children or even mates. If you need a Christian example of single women without children having meaningful, enjoyable lives, look no further than happy Catholic nuns.

      As for the prime of youth and beauty being over, that’s not the be-all, end-all of romantic attraction. We women in our late 30s are generally more comfortable with who we are and less interested in drama than our younger counterparts, a fact which many men of all ages find very attractive, even more attractive than outward beauty.

      I realize that this is a couple of years later than your comment, but I hope it helps.

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