Self Help

30 Life Lessons for Anyone in Their 30s

30 Life Lessons for Anyone in Their 30s

I turned 33 this year. The existential crisis that came along with it was extra punishing. Questions like “Where I’m heading”, “what I’m going to do with my life?”, start flooding every free minute that I have. It can be a daunting reality to face, especially in today’s world of uncertainty. Jobs are being replaced by robots, AI is taking over, and here I am thinking about what I’m going to do with the rest of my life.

I wondered what I would like to have more in my life, or at least more than I have currently. More time spent doing the things that I love and pursuing social time with my loved ones would be an ideal situation. The main idea is to have a sustainable lifestyle that affords me to have full control of my time.

But what does it actually take to get there? I went on a research rabbit-hole, figuring out how other people in their 30s go about living their lives. Here are 30 life lessons that I’ve found over the internet from different sources, condensed into one post, so you can find them in one convenient location. These life lessons are also something that I personally feel that had a great impact on me. I will also list down the original links to the articles that are used as references, so you can read more on other life lessons that are not listed down here. Let’s get on with it!

1. Invest in Yourself

The 20s is all about figuring out things for yourself. This includes spending time and money on frivolous things, all in the name of experiencing life. However, it is time to now invest in yourself. You are what you make of it. Spend time improving yourself, be it physically or mentally. Buy better clothes, learn to invest your money, upskill yourself. Look within yourself and make a better version out of you.

2. Set a Budget

Money can be a constant source of anxiety for those who don’t manage their finances well. Finding out that there are extra commitments to be paid for the month can leave you scrambling for whatever money you have left. You would be surprised to find the number of people who are living paycheck to paycheck due to the unsustainable lifestyle they’re living. Set up a budget. Learn to monitor your finances. Live within your means. The more control you have over your finances, the lesser stresses you’ll face in the future.

3. Start Taking Care of Your Health Now

When the body is young, it could take a lot of punishment. This also includes your metabolism, your internal organs and your recovery period. But this does not last forever. As the body ages, your body’s internal systems start to slow down. It needs all the help it can get. So, start taking care of your body. Start eating healthy meals. Reduce alcohol consumption. Take supplements. Walk more. The old saying “wealth is health” becomes more apparent as you get older.

4. Be Nice to the People You Care About

Stop being mean to the people you care about. Sure, you can have a tough day, but that doesn’t mean you get to lash out on your loved ones. Because at the end of the day, the people you care about are the ones that will come to you in your time of need. Treat them well, and they’ll return the favor.

5. Focus on a Few Things, And Do It Well

When you hit your 30s, it is quite normal for you to try to grasp everything within your reach to try immediately. You feel that you’re running out of time. This is, of course, a terrible way to try and get better at something. Don’t try to do it all. Focus on a couple of things. Learn them, step by step. If you find that you’re not enjoying it, switch to the next thing. The trick is to do a couple of things and focus intently on them. This could be a new hobby, a new skill or a new project. Doing everything all at once will only lead to burnout.

6. Realize That Everyone’s Journey is Different

There is a social blueprint that’s embedded in us from the day we’re born. In Asia, social pressure to follow this blueprint can be quite overwhelming. And when you find yourself lagging behind your peers, you would feel that you’re not good enough and that something is wrong with you. The negative self talk will start weighing on you, demotivating you further. Everyone’s journey is different from yours. Their life experiences differ from yours. Accept the fact, and move forward at your own pace.

7. Don’t Be Afraid of Risks

As you get older, your appetite for taking risks decreases. It’s all about playing it safe. However, that’s not a great way to approach life opportunities. What you need to do instead of avoiding it or just jumping in, is to assess the risk wisely. Use your life experience or talk to someone with experience to better understand what is in store for you. It could be a new job, a business opportunity or even a new life partner. Everything great comes with big risks. Learn to assess them properly and go for it.

8. Learn to Control Your Emotions

When you’re younger, it tends to take the wheel into how you react to certain life events or social interactions. As you get older, you learn that emotions can be damaging to you and the people around you. Learn to control them so that you can have the best outcome. Emotions play an important role in how you perceive the world around you. Remember, you cannot control the outcome of certain events, but you can control how you react to them. Learning to control your emotions will help you calmly deal with a situation that gives you the best outcome, as well as maintain a rich inner life.

9. Continue To Grow and Develop Yourself

When you’re in your 30s, it might feel like you’re done with learning or acquiring knowledge, and you can wing it with experience. But, with the world rapidly changing daily, it is always a good idea to go out and learn new things. Learning is a continuous process that only stops when you decide to. Consider learning as a lifelong process. Keep yourself updated and develop new skills that are future-proof. Do it for your career or do it for the fun of it. Just keep on learning.

10. Nobody Really Knows What They’re Doing

You might think that every adult around you knows what they’re doing. Truth is, most of them don’t. Heck, our parents were mostly winging it when it came to raising a family. Nobody is always 100% sure of what they’re doing. Nobody got it all figured out. So, coming into this realization will help you to not beat yourself too much about it when you find yourself unsure with what to do. Most of the surrounding adults might just be grown up kids.

11. Be Kind To Yourself

We often treat ourselves the harshest as compared to everybody else around us. Beating ourselves up when making mistakes or facing failures in life. This will only break your confidence and the ability to try new things. Learn to love yourself. Be kind to yourself. Understand that if you’ve fallen off a diet or a new productive habit, it’s okay. You can try again tomorrow. You’re only human. It’s important to remember that if you’re having a bad time. Tell yourself the things you’ll tell your close friend.

12. Workout Regularly

Working out gives you great health. We live in a world of convenience where everything is delivered to us with a tap of the smartphone. Most of the jobs we do require us to sit for 8 hours a day and barely move a single muscle. Our body is efficient in storing fat. Working out basically keeps our body functioning optimally. And whatever aesthetic final product will be a bonus. Start out small, go for short walks before you commit to a gym membership.

13. Take Good Care of Your Teeth

My mom used to say that we only have a set of adult teeth. Anything that comes after that is going to be artificial and would look a little out of place. And she’s right. Having a set of healthy chompers starts from having good dental hygiene. You might’ve missed out on brushing a couple of times a week when you’re younger, but it’s time to set up a daily habit of brushing your teeth twice a day. Having to do root canal and tooth extraction can be a time and money consuming affair, so brush your teeth. And don’t forget about the pain.

14. Travel When You Can

It’s harder to travel when you’re older or when you have a family. Do it in your 30s. Go to a faraway land and absorb their culture. Experience their food and heritage. Save up and go on a trip with your friends and loved ones. Make memories with your loved ones. Go on a solo trip and discover yourself in a foreign land. Travelling is much easier if you still have the energy to do it. Travelling in your 50s can be a stressful affair.

15. Improve Your Social Skills

We all had that awkward and angsty phase of our lives. And some of us built our identity around it. But that doesn’t mean you get to skip learning how to talk to others and engaging in conversations with them. Communication is one of the vital bedrocks to the human experience. Learn to speak in a concise and clear manner. Your communication skills could be the difference between being stuck at a dead-end job and a fast-track career or having no friends, to being part of a tight-knit friend circle.

16. Don’t Stress About Hitting Age Milestones

Still not married? Don’t own a house? No kids? Don’t worry about it. Traditional age milestones no longer apply in 2023. Sure, our parents stress them to us constantly, but that’s what they’re told when they’re coming up in life. That doesn’t mean it’s the same for the younger generation. Our values are different from the older generation, and the socioeconomic model is different than theirs. So, don’t sweat about not hitting certain age milestones. You have full control on how you want to run your life. Pace yourself.

17. Learn to Say No

As a people pleaser, it was hard to say “No.” to someone. And I usually find myself not enjoying the experience. Only the creeping anxiety about not having enough time to do things I wanted to do. Saying NO to things is a great way to set boundaries and to priotize things that are important in your life. Learning to say NO will save you a lot of your resources, especially your mental wellbeing.

18.Fix Your Sleep

You cannot function without any sleep. Sure, sleeping 3 hours a day worked in your 20s. But you find yourself slogging yourself through work in your 30s with insufficient. Sleep helps your brain recover and reset, which is a vital process to keep you at your best. Figure out how to set up your bedroom, so you fall asleep in the best conditions. Develop healthy bedtime habits to help you sleep faster and better.

19. Stop Smoking

Smoking has never been a good thing. Sure, it looked you looked cool in your 20s, but now you’re just a walking stink bomb that would activate the gag reflex of the people around you. Smoking is bad for your health (gives you cancer); it stinks up your clothes, rots your teeth, and probably kills you faster. If you’re having a hard time quitting cigarettes, find professional help. Use nicotine patches or talk to your doctor. Your future self will thank you.

20. Prepare for Major Loss Life Events

A morbid entry, but it’s a necessary one. Death is an essential part of living. Everybody gets old or sick. Everyone will eventually die. This is how life is. We sometimes don’t associate that with our loved ones. It is an eventuality that you must prepare mentally. The stresses of handling the funeral arrangements and processing grief afterward is something you should plan for. Spend quality time with your parents and grandparents as you won’t be able to say the tings you wanted to say when their time comes.

21. See a Therapist

Your parents weren’t great. You were bullied in school. Your ex-partner mentally abused you. These are mental scars that will eventually influence how we interact with the world. Your perception will be skewed if the trauma endured is deep. Just like a body needs medicine for maladies, the mind needs strategies to cope and deal with your past negative experiences. Seek a therapist. Fix what needs to be fixed. Don’t be held back by past experiences and trauma. Be your true self for a healthy and fulfilling life ahead.

22. Take Your Time with Big Life Decisions

We’re sometimes influenced into a decision by the people around us. This is quite normal when you’re younger, wanting to not be left behind. But when it comes to big life decisions in your 30s, take some time to reflect and plan ahead before going ahead with it. Getting married because your friends around you are getting married is a horrible decision process. Don’t let anyone dictate big life decisions for you. Talk to your peers and get some feedback. Talk to your partner if it involves them. Ultimately, decide for yourself if you’re ready.

23. Fix Your Posture

I tried bouldering once, and I quickly noticed my years of bad posture due to sitting on a bad chair ha finally taken its toll. Back pain is something I have to deal with now after physical exertion. And this is all because I have bad posture. But there are ways to fix it. Multiple resources on YouTube and exercise websites can teach you how to do simple exercises daily and in your home to tackle your posture problem. Fix it now before it gets worse and irreversible.

24. Save Money

I’ll be honest. I spent a majority of my 20s not having any money in savings. And this is a terrible way to live. Constant anxiety about not having enough money when it is needed for emergencies. Having savings will help you mitigate any financial emergencies that might emerge in the future. The general rule of thumb is to have at least 6 months worth of your salary in your savings. Start today.

25. Don’t Overthink What People Think About You

We all do it sometimes, some more than others. A lot of what we do and say revolves around the fear of what people might think of you. It is a primal instinct to keep ourselves part of our tribe and from being excommunicated. Here’s another fact that might help you rewire your brain. People are inherently selfish, and they think about themselves first at all times. So instead of worrying too much about what people would say about you, just go on and do the things you want to do in your life.

26. Don’t be Afraid of Making Mistakes

With the world that always demands perfection at all times, it’s hard to not think about making any mistakes in whatever that we’re doing. We get punished when making mistakes when we’re young, and it gets worse as we grow older. We start avoiding doing anything new that might cause us to make mistakes. This could be at work and in our personal lives. Being too afraid to make mistakes will slowly turn you into someone who would not be interested in anything new. The fear of making mistakes will slowly take a hold of your decision-making process.

27. Make Full Use of the Present

“Tomorrow will never come.” Well, at least the metaphorical sense of the saying. Tomorrow will come, but you probably won’t do the thing you wanted to do. Do it today. Do it now. Procrastination will only put you in more mental anguish as each tomorrow comes. Two books that helped me with dealing with crippling procrastination are Atomic Habits and The 5 Second Rule. Learn why you procrastinate. Learn to break up big tasks into smaller tasks. Count the small wins and move on to complete the whole task.

28. Accept that You Will Not Be Happy All The Time

Advertising has us chasing happiness. Buy a product, invest in a lifestyle and happiness will be right in the corner. This is as you probably guessed, is not true. Being happy all the time is something we chase for, but it’s not sustainable. There are moments of sadness or negative feelings, and that’s okay. Learn to accept it. Experience it. Without ever experiencing sad moments, how would you ever know what being happy is like? Accept that life is a rollercoaster ride. Hold on tight.

29. Have the Difficult Conversations

Confrontations are big no-no for me, especially coming from an Asian ancestry. However, this probably has caused me to bottle up a lot of my true feelings, and I’ve lashed in very unhealthy ways. Having difficult conversations is something we tend to avoid and put off for later, often when it’s too late. Don’t shy away from it, have the difficult talk. State your intentions, find the time, choose your words carefully. You’ll be glad that you’ve had the difficult talk now rather than later.

30. The Biggest Lies are the Ones you Tell Yourself

You lie to yourself everyday standing 2 feet from the mirror. In fact, we lie to ourselves more than we lie to other people. “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “I’ll fix it”. You’ve probably done it. And down the road, your lies will start catching up to you as the world around you starts breaking down. Tell yourself the truth. Don’t disillusion yourself with lies and ego. Root yourself to reality and make the changes necessary. You’ll find yourself living a more fulfilled life when you stop lying to yourself.

And that’s it! 30 life advices that I’ve managed to collect and have given me some insight about being in my 30s. To read more on the life advices in the list and more, check out the original post links below:

Good luck!



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Crossroads in life. And existential dread that's looming in the horizon. We all go through it.