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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.

My 30th 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 being 30

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!


Thursday 19th of November 2015

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...


Sunday 22nd of November 2015

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

World First Travel Insurance Blog » Blog Archive The World First Wander: travel blogs we loved this week

Friday 16th of October 2015

[…] Our last post this week is especially for Kirsty, our office manager,  who will hit the grand old age of 30 on Monday. So, especially for her, here’s a little help Vicky Flip Flop Travels in How to be 30 and not have a meltdown. […]

Steve Biggs

Tuesday 13th of October 2015

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.


Tuesday 20th of October 2015

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!


Monday 12th of October 2015

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.


Tuesday 13th of October 2015

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!


Monday 12th of October 2015

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!


Tuesday 13th of October 2015

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!