Goodbye Twenties, Hello Thirties

By Erica Root

Erica Root
Erica Root

Earlier this year I turned thirty. It wasn’t something I was particularly looking forward to; birthdays tend to lose some of their cache after 21, but I what I wasn’t prepared for were the feelings of self-assessment. The look back to see exactly what I had accomplished and trying my best not to compare my situation, my successes and failures, with that of my peers. And of course, the look forward to see where exactly I wanted to go from here.

Your twenties are tumultuous. For many of us, it means graduating from college. Pursuing graduate work and or trying to enter the workforce — and not just a part-time gig at a coffee shop — for the first time.

It’s a time for transition. For traveling the world, for trying new things, for being true adults for the first time. Paying rent, bills, and navigating our lives without a safety net, without those bumpers they give kids to bowl.

I am slowly, but surely feeling empowered to embrace my thirties. I realize there are certain things I do not want to bring with me into this new decade. So to my twenties I say goodbye to:

Awkward Roommates

There is nothing like passive aggressive notes to rile you up. As someone who has both written and been a recipient of just plain awful, “constructive” roommate notes, I am more than happy to keep this out of the plans I have for my thirties. If I need my roommate to do the dishes, I’ll just ask him verbally.

Of course, he’s my boyfriend, so that makes it a little easier, but still. No need to get upset, no need to tip-toe around each other and feel like a stranger in the place I live. No thank you, goodbye.

newgirl

Feeling Unworthy

If your twenties were (or are) anything like mine, they were full of instances where you felt unworthy. Subsequently, you let yourself be walked on, or treated in a way that you weren’t comfortable with. Well, to that I say good riddance. I don’t want to carry that baggage into my thirties. While I generally want people to like me, they don’t have to.

I will not allow myself to be taken advantage of, for people to take me for granted, or tell me they don’t want my opinion (a former boss once told me that, by the way). I can’t change others, but I can change how I feel about what others say and do. Some days this is easy and I can brush it off. Other days I need to make more of a deliberate effort to not feel unworthy. But I strive daily to say goodbye to that ugly, unnecessary feeling.

Feeling Like I Can’t Take Time Off Work

Yes, I am an incredible asset to whatever team I am a part of. But NO, the office won’t actually crumble if I take a week’s
vacation to go explore Costa Rica, Argentina, or wherever else I’d like to go. In college, you have lots of free time, summers and holiday breaks  to travel

In college, you have lots of free time, summers and holiday breaks to travel if you have the money. Once you’re a full-time professional, you find yourself with a little extra cash in the bank but very little time off to take vacations. You might save them for long weekends or to spend extra time off at the end of the year to be with family. I didn’t use a lot of my vacation time those first few years working.

That was a mistake.

I didn’t take time to rejuvenate, to feel refreshed, and eager to go back to work. I just spiraled, feeling more and more burned out. I learned my lesson too late in my twenties. Fortunately, there is time to remedy that in my thirties. Saving it for a long vacation, or sprinkling it throughout the year, whatever needs to be done to keep sane.

Costa Rica 1

To these things, I say, Auf Wiedersehen. Or not actually, because I don’t want to see them again.

Now I try to look back only to see how far I’ve come. I embrace looking forward, mapping out my goals, ambitions, and hopes as I transition into this next phase of life and learning.

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