What does that mean?
Glamour Magazine used to have a column called “Hey, Its OK” where they reassured people that the things they did/felt were OK, even if society suggested otherwise.
I spoke to some thirty-somethings about the things that they still feel guilty about thinking or feeling at this age. This inspired me to write a Hey, It’s OK list – specifically for your 30s.
Why do we need this reassurance in our 30s?
Our 30s are a decade where we really get to know ourselves and – to put it bluntly – stop giving so much of a shit. It’s a time to embrace who we truly are, stop worrying so much about what other people think, or about what we “should” be doing with our lives.
In the spirit of fully embracing our unique selves, allow me to let you off the hook for some of the things you feel in your 30s, but that society suggests are not OK.
“Everyone you meet always asks if you have a career, are married or own a house as if life was some kind of grocery list. But no one ever asks if you are happy.”Heath Ledger
List of Contents
Either scroll to read all, or click to jump straight to the specific reassurance you need:
Hey, it’s OK if you don’t have it all figured out
Seriously, who started the rumour that we have to have it all figured out by 30? They’ve got a lot of anxiety and stress to answer for.
If you’ve managed to get through your 20s unscathed AND you’ve figured “it” all out then you deserve a medal. Actually, screw the medal, you get a Nobel Prize.
I can promise you that nobody has it all figured out. They may have some of it figured out, but definitely not all of it. And if social media is telling you otherwise then don’t forget that it’s mostly all a lie and that comparison is the thief of joy.
Just keep on doing the best you can. None of us have it all figured out, and hey, it’s OK.
Hey, it’s OK if you don’t want kids
More and more people of child-bearing age are choosing not to have kids. Researchers at Michigan State University found that 1 in 5 US adults don’t want children.
People are starting to realise that having kids is not a mandatory obligation. We have a choice. Not having kids opens up another avenue of opportunities, and Millennials and Gen Z-ers are waltzing down that avenue in droves.
It’s a significant shift from previous generations where having kids was an expectation, and those that didn’t were usually unable to.
So, whether it’s down to financial pressures, environmental concern, health issues, general fatigue, or you just don’t like them.,. it’s OK if you don’t want kids.
Hey, it’s OK if you don’t want a big career
You don’t want to climb the corporate ladder?
You don’t care about fancy job titles?
You only want to earn enough money to get by?
You want an easy job that you can leave behind at the end of the day?
You prioritise your life outside of work?
You’re not an ambitious person?
You don’t ever want to be a CEO?
You’re just not very career driven?
Hey, it’s OK.
Hey, it’s OK if you’re single
In the decade of wedding after wedding after wedding, it can start to seem like you’re the only single person left. You’re not, but the logical part of your brain already knows that.
Being single in your 30s is OK. In fact, being single at any age is OK. It means you have more time to pour into yourself, into your friends, into into your family. It doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you, or that you won’t ever find love (if you want to).
It’s also OK if you’re single and unhappy about it. However, I would encourage you to dig into why you’re unhappy about it. Your relationship status is not a reflection of your worth.
Remember, it is one million times better to be single than to be in the wrong relationship.
If you’re in your 30s and worried about being single then you must read this post immediately (opens in a new tab).
Hey, it’s OK if you don’t want to get married
Marriage can be a wildly expensive endeavour, and so can divorce for that matter. Your Aunt Margaret might pester you about it at family get togethers, but it’s absolutely OK if you don’t want to get married.
If you don’t need the rings and the piece of paper to prove you’re committed, then you don’t need ’em.
If you don’t want to have one partner for life, fine.
If you don’t need or want a partner at all – guess what – it’s OK!
Don’t get married unless you want to. Really. It’s OK.
Hey, it’s OK if you still don’t know how to fold a fitted sheet
This skill is reserved for the patient few who have taken the time to watch a ‘How To’ video and then actually practice it. And what are they trying to prove anyway? Who are they showing off to? The linen cupboard fairies?
Let go of any residual guilt immediately and stuff that sheet back in the cupboard.
Hey, it’s OK if you don’t like solo travelling
In your 30s you no longer have to pretend to like things that you’re “supposed” to like. You’ve got nothing to prove, babes. Solo globe trotting can be very difficult and lonely, and that’s just not everyone’s cup of tea.
If you want to go on holiday with someone or not at all, then it’s OK.
Hey, it’s OK if you don’t want a side hustle
If TikTok and Instagram are telling the truth (rarely) then we’d be led to believe that everyone else has a side hustle. The reality is that having one job is tiring and – for most people – more than enough.
If you don’t want to work additional hours on top of your existing job, it’s OK.
If you’ve only got one income stream, it’s OK.
If you don’t want to monetise your hobby, it’s OK.
Side hustles are not imperative for happiness or success.
Hey, it’s OK if you don’t have lots of friends
Someone very wise once said something very wise – quality over quantity.
You know when you watch movies and the protagonist only has two friends (and maybe a sassy sister)? That’s partly because it makes casting easier, but partly because that’s all they need really.
Someone not very wise once said something not very wise – thou must haveth more friends than you can counteth.
What are twelve mediocre friends compared to two great friends? Incomparable, that’s what.
Hey, it’s OK if your friendships have changed
As we emerge out of our 20s and start to navigate our 30s, friendships can (and normally do) radically alter. It can feel very unsettling when you’re going through it. I actually wrote a whole post about this (read it here – opens in a new tab).
Some friends will have kids, some will move overseas, some will get married, some will branch off onto different career paths, most will stop going out so often. There are dozens of reasons why our 30s see the biggest changes to our friendships. But, no matter the reason, you can be reassured that you are not alone, it’s normal and….it’s OK.
Hey, it’s OK if you still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up
If Colonel Sanders didn’t open his first KFC until he was 62, then why do you think you have to know all the answers by your 30s? Vera Wang designed her first wedding dress aged 40. Martha Stewart’s first cook book? Aged 41.
There’s decades of time left to try things out. If you don’t know quite yet what your deep fried chicken is yet, it’s OK!
If you need further reassurance, I wrote about the misplaced fear that time is running out here (opens in a new tab).
Hey, it’s OK if you want to live a slow paced life
There are endless things we’re expected to throw ourselves into wholeheartedly in this life alongside getting a regular 7-8 hours sleep a night. Work, family, kids, friends, hobbies, travel, life admin, meditating, exercise, personal development, sourdough starters.
You know there are no actual awards for being the busiest person in the room right?
If you don’t get joy from a schedule packed with activity, hey, it’s OK. Cut back on the things. Slow down. Do less.
Hey, it’s OK if you still expect your parents to buy you an advent calendar
Yes, you’re a full blown adult now and you could buy your own advent calendar, but that’s hardly the point is it? It’s a responsibility your parents signed up for when they decided to have children and they can’t just opt out now.
Some traditions are just meant to go on forever. If December 1st rolls around and you’re not eating a teeny tiny chocolate at 8am because your parents didn’t buy you an advent calendar, it’s OK to be disappointed.
Hey, it’s OK if you don’t own property
There seems to be this expectation based on generations past that by 30 everyone should be on the property ladder. The past is not representative of the present.
Property prices have soared to absolutely silly heights compared to when our parents/grandparents were our age. (My mum bought her first property in the 1980s for £10,000 on a salary of £12,000. That same property would be worth £200,000 now and the equivalent salary would be about £21,000. The maths doesn’t add up.) If the maths hasn’t been on your side and you’ve not bought a property, that is OK.
Not only is it harder than ever to get onto the property ladder, but many people also choose to rent to give themselves flexibility. Owning a property is a big financial responsibility and it can make it harder to move or travel. It also means you have to bear the cost of any repairs or maintenance, rather than just calling a landlord to sort it out. If you don’t want to own a property, that is also OK.
Hey, it’s OK to quit your job to go travelling
I wrote a whole post about this very topic, so I’d recommend that you read that: Is 30 too old to take a gap year? (opens in a new tab).
If you’re in your 30s then you have around 30-40 years left before retirement age. THIRTY TO FORTY YEARS!! That is a huge amount of time and taking some time off now is not going to negatively impact your career progression. Sure, you’ll be pausing it for a while, but that’s OK.
The experiences you will have travelling will more than make up for a slight delay in climbing the career ladder.
If you want to quit your job and go travelling, go.
If you need any more convincing, here’s a post with 5 Reasons it’s Great to Take a Gap Year at 30. (opens in a new tab).
Hey, it’s OK if you still call your parents for help whenever something goes wrong
If your first instinct whenever you face any hurdle is to pick up the phone and call a parent for help, that’s OK. Your parents chose to bring you into this world so they are contractually obliged to help you whenever you require it. And ideally with a smile.
Flat tyre, leaking roof, rejected from a job, lost in the woods, spider in the bathroom, new shoes are too small, power cut, dyed white clothes pink in the wash, have flat pack furniture to build, sibling has done you dirty, locked out, car won’t start, have a strange rash, lawn needs to be mowed, cat is missing, have been inconvenienced in any way.
There are any number of reasons you could call your parents for help, and they’re all OK. If anything, you’re doing them a favour by keeping their life exciting.
Share this post now with all your friends in their 30s so that we can change the narrative about what is OK to think and feel, at 30 and beyond.
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