Man, oh man.
Over the past few months, I’ve stumbled across a few random articles and blog posts with headlines that read: 10 Hairstyles Women Over 30 Need to Stop Getting, or 30 Things Women Over 30 Need to Stop Owning, or 25 Things Women Over 30 Need to Stop Wearing, or other similar stupid, narrow-minded titles. I’m not going to share the exact links because frankly, I don’t want to send blog traffic to this sort of nonsense.
I can tell you that I’m the exact type of woman that she’s writing about.
But you know what’s funny?
So is every other fabulous, gorgeous, happy, brilliant, successful, amazing, sexy, fantastic, comfortable-in-their-own-skin 30-40-50-60-70something year old I know (and I’m fortunate enough to know many).
I’m 45 now. Just old enough to have very definite opinions about my life and what I should or should not be doing with it.
But I clearly remember the day I turned 30.
I wasn’t happy about it because I wasn’t where I thought I should be, and I thought maybe that it was the beginning of growing old (whatever that means).
My mother called me to wish me a happy day, and I told her how I felt about the big 3-0. She laughed and said the most remarkable thing:
“Oh Sweetie, 30 is fantastic. Embrace it,” she said.
I was highly skeptical, but I listened to her anyway.
“When you turn 30, three things happen: 1) People actually take you seriously. In your 20’s, you’re still kind of a kid, even though you’re an adult. You’re figuring life out. But, when you’re 30, you’ve grown up enough to have some experience under your belt. 2) Sex is better. I can’t say exactly why that is, but it’s true. Probably because you’re actually comfortable with who you are-finally. 3) You’re young enough to take on the world, and have the experience necessary to actually do it.”
And you know what? She was right.
My thirties were all that, and then some. There was a sense of self, and confidence I had gained from all that worldly experience, and I loved my thirties, hands-down, more than my twenties.
And funnily enough, my forties have been even better.
Why is that?
Well, in my late teens, through my twenties, I still had this Jr. High/High School mentality of craving approval from the masses in everything I did. Especially the so-called “popular” girls’ opinions.
The way I dressed, the music I listened to, the cars I drove, the friends I spent all my time with, the stores I shopped at, how I decorated my house. All of these were influenced by the opinions and expectations of others.
THAT was exhausting. And a waste of time.
The truth is, no matter how you live your life, there will always be critics. Especially if you’re doing anything notable. Especially.
In my 30’s, I stopped worrying about what others’ thought, and started exploring what made me happy instead.
I will admit that I was still restraining myself. After all, my ego still stung a little from the early years when I tried expressing myself, and got swatted by “friends”. These “friends” were the worst. They’re the “mean girl” personas who openly mock others for having taste in anything outside of what they consider “trendy”, and sadly, they did a bang up job of making me rethink my own unique style.
So, while I still held back through my 30’s, I managed to explore my taste in a lot of different areas. This helped me narrow down the things that really resonated with me.
By 40, I no longer craved approval from anyone but me, and I really embraced MY style.
Something magical happens when you hit that stage of your life, and I’ve found that most of my over 40 friends feel the same.
There is something sexy and beautiful about a woman who is being unapologetically true to who she is. In fact, it’s so awesome, it’s #4 on my 365 Ways to Be Awesome. Number four!
Here I am at 45; living in a home that inspires and delights me every single day, wearing clothes that make me feel comfortable and beautiful, in love with a man who argues that he loves me more, surrounded by friends who inspire and encourage me, doing every day what makes me happy.
So, instead of worrying about whether or not I’m fitting in or meeting the status quo, and having all my thoughts focused inward, I have freedom to focus my attention outward on the people around me, and creating moments and memories with them.
This is what makes a happy life–not restraining your sense of self. This is the life that sets trends instead of following them. It’s a beautiful and awesome thing.
So, here’s my advice to all of you over 30:
10 Things Women Over 30 Need to Start Doing
Embrace each decade from here on out. Life is awesome and brilliant and magical when you do. So go ahead and LIVE it.
Be true to who you are. You don’t need to ask permission to BE you. The thing is that when people live artificial lives, they attract people who are interested in that artificial persona. If you’re not conservative, then don’t try and dress like you are just because someone else decided that that’s how “mature” 30somethings should dress. Ugh. I covered this in a post on finding the perfect soul mate, and it’s just as true here. There are people who LOVE and adore the person that you truly are. But if you’re not being you, how will they recognize you when they cross your path?
Wear whatever the hell you want to wear. Yes, even that Star Wars shirt, or vintage tee with your favorite band on it. If you need help figuring out your own unique look, go to Pinterest and search for different fashion styles and find something that makes you feel awesome. Just skip the trendy nonsense, instead find your own sense of beautiful.
Style your hair any way you want. Long, short, in between. Hell, add a little pink if you want. It’s YOUR hair. The only thing that matters is that it makes you feel beautifully you. If you’re wondering if a hairstyle is right for your face, try one of those apps that allow you to literally “try” on different hair cuts and color. Don’t be afraid to explore new looks.
Decorate your home any way you want to. You’re an adult, for God’s sake. Make it YOURS. And if twinkle lights make you happy, use them in your décor too. Want a retro look? Go for it! Creating an inspired space is one of THE MOST therapeutic things you can do for yourself.
Buy whatever brings you joy and adds beauty and awesome to your life. Even if it’s a Hello Kitty clock, or a colorful phone case. I have lots of opinions on buying in a way that’s sustainable, and buying less stuff, but if you’re going to buy something, it should either be useful to your life, or it should bring you joy. Pass on the ho-hum just because someone else thinks you’re too old for that light saber you keep above your desk. You don’t need anyone else’s permission to add your own bit of magic to your life.
Watch whatever TV shows or movies you want. You’re never too old for whatever is out there. If it makes you happy, go ahead and see it. This is one of the many benefits of being an actual grown up.
Be as loud and colorful and creative and fabulous as you want to be. This world needs more color, and more inspiration, not less of it. And more often than not, it will be the confident, experienced over 30s who create it.
Inspire and encourage other women, especially the younger ones. Instead of telling your fellow sisters to reign in their personalities, maybe try encouraging them to explore their own unique sense of style. Who knows what might come of it? They may add something brilliant to this world, and your encouragement might be just the thing they needed.
Ignore the people who judge others. They don’t know you. They don’t know the nuances of your life. Their opinions mean absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of YOU. So, when you run into one of these super conservative, young and inexperienced people who feel that you’re too colorful or amazing for your age, just give them a knowing glance, and move along. They’ll figure it out for themselves one day, and who knows, maybe you’ll even inspire them.
What do you think? Have you experienced this for yourself? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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