thirty not hurty

Turning 30? Our guide to owning it

Life lessons for your fourth decade.

shutterstock_197135177 Turning 30 might make you dive under the pillow (but actually, this is the point at which getting more sleep is a good idea.) Shutterstock / Stacey Newman Shutterstock / Stacey Newman / Stacey Newman

This article is part of our Change Generation project, supported by KBC. To read more click here.

YOU WILL DISCOVER MANY things change in your 30s, for better or worse.

On the plus side, you now only hang around with people that you actually like. You will have figured out what clothes suit you best and you look great as a result. From now on you don’t really care about birthdays and you will actually start to forget what age you are.

The downside brings endless talk of mortgages, your Facebook feed is chock-a-block with pictures of other people’s babies and you have 17 weddings to go to this summer.

Lots of people freak out about turning 30, worrying about all the things they haven’t done yet, while others treat it like a fresh start happy to seal the vault on their 20s.

Here’s what some famous people had to say about entering their fourth decade:

Turning 30 is no biggie

Trolls actress Anna Kendrick, was totally chill ahead of her impending 30th birthday last year when she spoke to E! News:

“I felt like when I turned 29, I was like, ‘Well that’s basically 30. So I’ve been sort of saying that I’m 30 for a year so it’s gonna be an easy transition.”

Don’t freak about about the things you haven’t achieved yet

The Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment Breakfast Olivia Wilde is thinking less about achievements and more about how she wants to be remembered. AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

That’s the advice that actress Olivia Wilde (who we will claim as Irish, what with her Waterford links) gave to anyone turning 30 in a piece she wrote for Glamour magazine:

Yes, Einstein had discovered the theory of relativity by your age, and Emily Brontë had written Wuthering fu**ing Heights, but honestly, what you achieve is far less important than what kind of human being you are. What do you want people to say at your funeral: “Olivia may have cured HIV, but she ran over my cat and drove away laughing?” No, thanks! I’d rather be a good person who makes people happy than a d*** who wins a Nobel by 32.


The tactic being employed by Game of Thrones actor Alfie Allen is denial. He told the Guardian that he’s adopting the Peter Pan method.

I don’t have any fear of turning 30. But maybe that’s because I know I’m never going to be 30 mentally at any point in my life!

Embrace it, like Bey

In an interview in 2011, Beyoncé talked about how excited she was to turn 30.

I feel like 30 is the ideal age because you’re mature enough to know who you are and to have your boundaries and your standards and not be afraid of [being] too polite. But you’re young enough to be a young woman, and I’m so looking forward to it.


Start saving for your future - Sounds boring, but this is one of the most popular pieces of advice for thirty-somethings. Your 68-year-old self will thank you for it.

Take better care of your health - Research in the UK recently found that too many over-30s are not looking after their health. It showed that 87% of men and 40% of women under the age of 40 had the heart of an older person. That put them at an elevated risk of heart disease and stroke as a result of things like poor diet, smoking and lack of exercise.

Get enough sleep - Easier said than done if you work shifts, have young children or a job that just won’t quit when 5pm ticks past. However “sleep debt” is very common in Ireland now, it can seriously affect your health and can be worse than alcohol if you drive while tired.

shutterstock_416028061 Experiences, not material things, are what you should splurge on to increase satisfaction levels. Shutterstock / kikovic Shutterstock / kikovic / kikovic

Buy experiences, not things - You get used to stuff you’ve splurged on being around and it loses its lustre. Researchers in the US concluded that those who use their money on experiences they value are happier and feel their money has been better spent.

Do the job you love - Again, easier said than done when you have bills to pay, but job dissatisfaction in your 20s and 30s has been found to impact on your health and sense of well-being. It’s not too late to change careers if you can find the means to do it.

Spend time with your family - As you get older your parents get older and the morbid reality is that they won’t be around forever.

Foster the friendships that matter - The relationships you have with friends at this stage in your life are the ones worth keeping. The advice from the experts is to find small practical ways to keep a connection with the people who matter most.

Share your top tips for navigating your 30s in the comments below.

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