Last November I turned 30, and a lot of my friends and family asked me how I felt to turn 30. It is a milestone, and my friends got a bit depressed to say goodbye to their carefree 20s. Some joked about that the 30s are about crowfeet and wrinkles, it becomes harder to lose weight, and you go through the mid-life crisis! You wonder, are you going to hate this too?
When I spent time thinking, I realized I am actually looking forward to my 30s. Here’s why:
- I am stronger than I thought!– In my 20’s, my life went through a lot of changes, and I always felt I was weak. I wondered if I moved through the changes without really having any control on them. I moved to New York and I couldn’t find a job, had to go back to school before finally making it to work. But now when I look back, I realize maybe I wear my emotions on my sleeve- I cry easily, but that doesn’t mean I am not strong. Even through the tears, I applied for hundreds of jobs, even with the fear of rejection and visa issues. As I went to grad school, I fought my way to get a job on campus, applied for internships, and converted the internship to a job. You are always told tears are a sign of weakness, but I feel it is just an outlet. Once it is out of my system, I go back and fight hard and strong.
- I am more confident– In your 20’s, you spend most of your time trying to find what your strengths and weaknesses are. You wonder how people perceive you, how you should react, etc. You want to fit in, be popular, and find your place in the world. My experiences in the 20’s, I got the chance to find what my hobbies are- art, blogging, and reading books; what I like to bring to the table- gossip and fashion news expert, wit, and open heart. At work as well, you figure out what your strengths are and work on showcasing that. I am still the person who wants everyone to like me, but I am more self assured.
- I am working on being more centered– I used to be a pessimist through in my 20’s. But over the years, with 3 surgeries in 10 years, I moved to a new country and adjusted to my new life with my husband, and struggled to get work. I have learnt to be more calm and positive- well actually I am trying to be positive, I am definitely not pessimistic. I am blessed to have an amazing husband and family, the resources to afford the best treatment, and the spirit to endure the challenges. My 2015 new year word to live by is positive- and I got an awesome charm bracelet to help me get there (not sure if it will work, but it is worth a shot!)
- I am a better friend– During my 20’s, through college and work, I look back and realize I am a friends collector. I wanted everyone to like me, but in the process, I spent the same amount of time with my best friends as I did with people I barely know. You don’t realize how that isn’t fair to people who are close to you. But sometimes life experiences are eye opening- I moved from Singapore to Bristol, then back to Singapore, and finally New York. With all the moves and changes, a lot of friends dropped and some just lost touch. When I was in New York and a bit depressed with the job situation, I realized how to separate acquaintances to friends. I now take more of an effort with my friends who stayed, I recognize how hard it is to keep a connection going across time and busy schedules.
- I am able to enjoy my own company– Through my childhood and 20’s, I was never really alone- I was always surrounded by friends and family. I couldn’t even imagine spending a day alone. But living alone in Singapore, and moving to New York where I didn’t know anyone was an eye opener. I spent time identifying what my interests were, learnt to enjoy my own company. The foot issues also made it hard to go out and hang out with friends. While I still love being around people, I can just as easily get lost in painting or reading a book. You can become your own friend, and in some ways, that is liberating!
How do you feel? Do you feel overwhelmed as you reach 30, or are you looking forward to the next decade?