How to Be 30 and Not Have a Meltdown

So many of my friends seem to have had, or are having, some sort of meltdown about being 30. Well, as of Monday I’ll be 31, so I’m even older than them. To celebrate I thought I’d pass on some well earned wisdom, and some photos of beaches I’ve been to while I’m 30 – didn’t need a walking stick or anything.

My actual 30th birthday

30th birthday

I know where I was the exact moment I turned 30 and I didn’t even realise it’d happened. My skin didn’t shrivel, my uterus didn’t suddenly dry up and I didn’t just resign myself to the fact I’d never do anything interesting with my life or career again. I didn’t even feel the need to be married.

I was in Mexico, in San Pancho, and I was sat outside a shop in the car having just done a day of surfing. I was chatting to Luis while waiting for my host Bianca to come out with the goodies for breakfast the next day. I looked at the clock, 7pm. And carried on. It wasn’t until I went on Facebook when I got in about 30 minutes later that I realised from the birthday messages that I was now 30, in England anyway.

That night

My 30th birthday

I went down to the beach and have a cocktail to watch the sun set. Very poetic I thought, watching the final sun set on my 30s, and one of the guys I’d met at the hostel I’d been staying in before the surf course I was on came over. The night went a bit like this…

Beach bonfire > beer pong > party in a surf shop > gig at Darjeeling > me driving a tuk tuk > more beach bonfire > karaoke with the campest man I ever met (Total Eclipse of the Heart) > hostel party > me passing out at the hostel because I was too tired to walk home to my surf school. And it was only at the gig I told them it was my birthday.

The day

Sunrise on my 30th birthday

Big breakfast > meet the guys on the beach for a few beers > surf > nice meal with Bianca and Luis and cake > Naked and Afraid on TV > bed by 10pm.

I mean, could it be any more perfect?

The year

My 30th year has been absolutely incredible. Now that I’m 31, which one friend tells me is waayyy older than 30, I thought I’d give a few words of advice on how to avoid a fuck-I’m-30-meltdown.

How to survive your ‘flip-I’m-30-meltdown’

1. Nobody has it all

how to be 30

No matter how much Facebook tells you so. STOP comparing yourself to friends who’ve bought houses, who travel, who have awesome jobs, who have beautiful husbands, or who have excellent partners. They’re probably comparing themselves to you. Nobody has it all and as long as you’d rather live your life than anyone else’s, which deep down I think you would, then you’re alright.

If you feel like you don’t, ask your friend who travels about hostels or trying to find said hostel with no Wi-Fi. Ask your friend with a baby about the birth, or maybe the last time she slept. Or ask your mate with the cool job how hard they have to work. There’s a shit side to everything, if you want a bit of schadenfraude to make yourself feel better about life.

2. You’re not that old

how to be 30

When I see articles on the web about turning 25 etc I’m like fuuuck you are so young dude, you have your life ahead of you. And that’s what all the people above 31 are thinking about you. Approximately 50% of the world is older than you. You’re still young – life willing you’ve still got years left, so make the most of them and stay young.

“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.”

– Benjamin Franklin

That’s one of my favourite quotes, and so true. I have friends who are 30 who are 30, and some who are 30. You get me? Same goes for my friends who are 60-65, compared to the 65 year olds I met on that cruise in Russia you wouldn’t think they were even within a decade of each other. It’s up to you how you want to play your 30s, enjoy them, because if you’re lucky soon it’ll be your 40s you’re fretting about.

3. Make an action plan

how to be 30

Instead of sitting around wittering about how little you’ve achieved, or how you need to meet someone, or that all your friends are buying houses, make an action plan of how you’ll get to do that thing that’s niggling at you. Put your time and energy into making sure you don’t feel the way you do now at 31, if you’re stressing out.

Whether it’s debt, weight, loneliness, love, work, or your routine, use any negative feelings to fuel your need and desire to be different in the future. Moaning about it is stupid: ain’t nobody got time for that.

If you’re really struggling though, maybe sign up to some online therapy to get you through. There are lots of options you can take to get the right kind of therapy for you. 

4. Look how far you’ve come

how to be 30

Look at yourself and where you were and what you were doing this time two years ago. Give yourself a pat on the back. If you haven’t come for enough for that, refer back to number 3 and try harder next year.

5. You made this life, you’re the one to change it

how to be 30

I really liked this article recently about the money machine that is Johnny Ward, travel blogger from OneStep4Ward. He says:

“If we are fortunate enough to win the birth lottery and be born in the Western world, and we’re not happy with our lives, generally speaking, we only have ourselves to blame.”

I agree.

So stop stressing out about something you have no control over, when the only other option is grim, and enjoy yo’ self!

Yay 31!

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  1. by Steve Biggs on October 9, 2015  9:01 am Reply

    Great read Vicky. I'm 39 now and went "backpacking" for the first time when I was 33. I was moved enough to write this little post (I don't write many) :) about whether "You can do a gap in year in your 30s?!" The answer is "Yes - of course you can!!":) Travel is a great leveller!


    • by Vicky on October 12, 2015  11:40 am Reply

      Thanks Steve – I definitely agree!

  2. by Angie Silver on October 9, 2015  9:22 am Reply

    I'll be 33 in a month's time and while I'm totally relaxed and comfortable about my age, I'm really feeling the pressure to have children. I do want children but I'm not ready right now - I do wish people chill out and let me do things in my own time!
    Lots of love,

    • by Vicky on October 12, 2015  11:36 am Reply

      Oh god yeah I know what you mean. Other people are obsessed with the idea of you finding someone and having babies – I've definitely experienced it. Trouble is as soon as you meet someone, then they want to know when you'll get married, then when you'll have a baby, then another one, it's just neverending! Just tell em to shurrup. :)

  3. by Jen on October 9, 2015  10:11 am Reply

    Love this! Life begins at 30 ... or at least it continues and just gets more and more awesome!

    I'm feeling quite happy and confident and excited about what is going to be an awesome decade!

    • by Vicky on October 12, 2015  11:35 am Reply

      Definitely! Agreed! Having fun and enjoying life is all about attitude and sounds like you have a good one!

  4. by Matt on October 9, 2015  10:39 am Reply

    Love & agree with every one of those points - great post. I turn 30 next year, have just quit my job (along with my wife) and we're heading off to travel full time for the next few years very soon. I'm hoping to be able to still do the same at 40, 50 or 60. Happy 31st birthday for Monday!

    • by Vicky on October 12, 2015  9:46 am Reply

      Ooo how exciting! Wow, the next few months are going to be incredible. I'll be following along on your blog (I loved the Harry Potter studios when I went). Thanks for the birthday wishes :).

  5. by Katy on October 9, 2015  11:58 am Reply

    Fab post! I laughed out loud at the shrivelled up uterus part. Any big birthday always comes with it's moments of what the hell have I been doing, why am I not XYZ by now... But you are so right that we can't compare ourselves to others. We are unique. I decided to jump feet first into my 30s by doing a skydive in France and it was amazing!! Xx

    • by Vicky on October 12, 2015  9:44 am Reply

      Ooo sounds brilliant! I quite fancy doing another skydive actually – must've been incredible over France?! Yes, we're all awesome in ourselves and it's all about attitude anyway, which is definitely possible to change. My 30th year was incredible, and I'm sure my 31st will be even better :).

  6. by Tracey on October 9, 2015  3:50 pm Reply

    What an awesome article, I just turned 30 two days ago and was going through major age denial. But I have come to terms with the fact that life really doesn't end and it's all about what you make of it from here on. So here's to a life less ordinary!!

    • by Vicky on October 12, 2015  9:40 am Reply

      Ah happy birthday Tracey! Cheers!

  7. by Steve Biggs on October 9, 2015  4:50 pm Reply

    And another thing :)

    If you're ever feeling a bit low someone once recommended viewing your Twitter Bio/images and thinking what your 10-year old self would think of it. They'd probably think you were a bit of a legend so yes - you've come a long way! :)

    For me that's a profile pic in Hong Kong, a background pic in an Indian tea plantation, working in travel, and having run 4 marathons - 3 of which for a supermodel friend who now refers to me as "Biggsy" :)

    And pals always say "Wow - you're so lucky going here, there and everywhere". If only they knew that sometimes I envy them for having a wife and 2.4 children. So everybody wants to be someone else around the table so just "be". Age is but a number :)

    • by Vicky on October 12, 2015  9:40 am Reply

      That is excellent advice Steve! At 10 years old I'd never have even imagined I'd be doing what I do now. I'm going to remember that one :) You win some, you lose some – that's kind of my new mantra actually. You can't have everything and nor would you want it so you might as well be grateful for what you have. And we have a lot!

  8. by Jenia on October 10, 2015  7:13 pm Reply

    Great read :) I am 32, and sometimes think that I am going through my mid life crisis where I am not sure what I want, where I want to be, and etc...But great perspective from you and Jonny Ward - we have all made it pretty far, and we are pretty fortunate to have been born into Western world, something I need to remind me whenever those thoughts strike!

    • by Vicky on October 12, 2015  9:35 am Reply

      Yep, definitely. I think everything is relative and you're allowed to wallow for a while, if you feel you need, but really it's down to you to change things. I'm the same – in the indecisiveness I mean. It's because we have so many options, which is a pretty sweet position to be in!

  9. by Jayne Gorman on October 12, 2015  8:08 am Reply

    Happy birthday chick. Love reading your doses of common sense! Travel on xx

    • by Vicky on October 12, 2015  9:33 am Reply

      Ha, thanks Jayne! x

  10. by Rachel on October 12, 2015  12:25 pm Reply

    Brilliant! Looking back I think I may have had a melt down when I turned 30: quit my job, sold my flat, blew the lot on seeing the world!

    My 30's so far have been way more exciting, fun, social, free, interesting than my 20's! Hoorah!

    Happy birthday Vicky!

    • by Vicky on October 12, 2015  2:56 pm Reply

      Amazing! I'd say that's the best way to start your 30s ha. Love it! Thank you :)

  11. by Emily on October 12, 2015  7:03 pm Reply

    I'm staring down the barrel of my 34th bday in a few months... I oscillate between dread and excitement, but I'm mostly excited about the coming year and all the cool shit I have planned with blogging and traveling and making memories with my people! Cheers to our 30s!

    • by Vicky on October 13, 2015  7:43 am Reply

      Yeeeeaah, cheers to that! Exactly, at our age we can do precisely what we want, hopefully have a little more money to do it and just need to concentrate on enjoying the freedom rather than worry about getting older, seeing as there's nothing we can do to stop it!

  12. by Simon on October 12, 2015  7:35 pm Reply

    I'm turning 31 in another month or two, and yet I still feel like I'm coming to terms with being 30. I'm often having to tell myself it's not that old. But it's right. We're not that old. We're just (hopefully) a little wiser and more worldly from all the travel.

    • by Vicky on October 13, 2015  7:41 am Reply

      Exactly. 30-something isn't that old anymore and it depends how you spin it to yourself, and how old you really feel. I definitely don't feel as old as some of my 30/31 year old friends!

  13. by Steve Biggs on October 13, 2015  1:04 pm Reply

    A slightly contentious one but I imagine there's a difference between the genders regards the big 3-0. At the age of 30 marriage and kids felt like many years away for me (and still does at 39) :), whereas I have female friends who, single at 25-26, are already thinking about the "5 year plan" even though they haven't actrually started it yet. A guy can always have kids later in life if needs be.

    • by Vicky on October 20, 2015  10:06 pm Reply

      You're probably right Steve, it's annoying and I wish I could argue it but I think on some level that's what's on a lot of people's minds. You're fed all this shit about how you should have had, or be having a baby, as you go into your 30s but really more people are having babies later on than ever before. It's that worry and fear, I think, that makes people apprehensive about their 30th. And if they have already had babies, then they're probably not happy with their career. You can't win!

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  15. by Honoré on November 19, 2015  12:21 pm Reply

    Very interesting read. Point 1 is so very true. It's so easy to compare yourself to your "successful" friends and sometimes be a bit envious of their lives, or sad about your own "boring" life. But no one's life is perfect, it's just the way some bits of their lives appear so inspiring. But it's pretty hard I would imagine, to have a very successful career, travel all the time, have kids, time to sleep, time to see your family and friends, learn new skills... This list is never ending... No one can have it all, so just focus on what YOU want...

    • by Vicky on November 22, 2015  10:34 am Reply

      Exactly! I think 'having everything' is a mindset, train your mind to be happy with what you have and that's all you need.

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