Your thirties are one special time. Right?!
When we are young, we develop an image of what a “Real Grownup” is.
Most of us carry a picture in our minds of what we will do, be, and have when we have arrived at true adulthood. This picture comes from our own hopes and dreams, the models we have in our lives, and the implicit and explicit messages we get from our parents and teachers and the media.
All along, throughout your childhood and teen years [and, if you’re anything like most of my clients, thoughout your twenties], this Real Grownup is a Someone Else. Then, one day you wake up and you realize—it’s supposed to be you!
Having carried this picture of what we “should” be into our thirties, many of us feel like imposters as we compare ourselves to that image and don’t see ourselves measuring up!
When you start to see the gaps between who you thought you’d be when you were a Real Grownup and who you are now, it can be disconcerting to say the least.
You scroll down your Facebook feed and see the posts of people you went to elementary school with, holding their second and third babies, getting married, celebrating promotions at companies that sound really glamorous and important. We all started in the same place, you think. We took our spelling tests next to each other and were in the same seventh grade science class and now she’s taking care of three children and I’m proud of myself if I have cereal in the house. What if I had taken that path? Should I have taken that path?
How did I get so behind? What’s the secret? What am I doing wrong?
Many of us grew up with the idea that we’d begin on a career path in our twenties and be well-established professionals by our thirtieth birthdays.
We were brought up with the message, “You can do anything you want to do, and be anything you want to be!” Many of us heard that as “You can do everything you want to do, and be everything you want to be!” and some of us internalized, “You should do everything, and be everything!” Pressure much?
What’s more, the so-called “typical” path has changed. We no longer live in a world where most people start out in a company and stay there.
If you’ve hopped from job to job, or landed on a career path that’s not a match for who you are, you can start to feel very lost…or very stuck.
Whether you’re single, recovering from a breakup and starting over, or in a relationship that’s not thriving, relationship challenges in your thirties can take on a different weight. Some of us always assumed we’d be partnered and settled down with “the one” by now, and are surprised and frustrated to find ourselves still single. Some of us have partnerships that don’t match the image we had.
Our friendships can feel uncomfortably transient. The changes in our friends’ lives can throw our own lives into transition. As those we’ve been close to move away, get married, or have children, we can feel our social circles shrinking and shifting. You may find yourself in your thirties and feeling like you no longer have a satisfying group of friends. Or maybe you never did quite feel socially content, and you wonder what’s wrong with you…why didn’t you ever find your tribe?
We start to deal with our parents aging and suddenly realize that the relationship we’ve always had with them (functional or dysfunctional) needs some tweaking now that we are all adults. If we’re still single, many of us deal with pressure of the Bridget Jones variety (tick tock, tick tock!).
If you’re a parent yourself, you may struggle to communicate with your children. The social drama starts way sooner than you remember it starting. It’s hard to know when to get involved, and how. You had an image of who you’d be as a parent, and who your children would be. But your child is her own person and didn’t come with an instruction manual!
In your thirties, a big move can be daunting. Starting over in a new city means establishing new roots and seeking new friends at a time when many people around us seem settled and rooted already.
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Don’t forget all the physical changes we didn’t know would happen so soon!
When I was a kid I thought people got gray hair when they were 60. Nothing could have prepared me for the night I was brushing my teeth and spotted my very first (well, first that I was aware of) gray hair in the mirror. I knew it was coming, but in the same way you know you’ll die someday—intellectually, but not really.
Parts of your body that were always willing to go along with your plans suddenly start demanding special attention.
Suddenly your smile leaves a line on your face that doesn’t go away after a moment.
So, What Can You Do?
If you are ready to break through your thirtysomething rut, you’re in the right place. My passion is helping people like you get unstuck and create a life that’s thirtyAWESOME.
I work with clients who are truly ready to take action to achieve their goals. I’ll help you create a vision, identify an action plan with manageable steps to achieve that vision, and hold you accountable and champion you as you work toward your goals.