Your 30s are a critical juncture in life. It’s a time of self-discovery, career development, and building the foundation for the future. Yet while this phase is often filled with positive growth, there are also aspects many 30-somethings unintentionally overlook. Here’s a list of the 10 common mistakes people make in their 30s, as discussed in a recent Reddit thread.
10. Not Enjoying Their 30s Enough
“My biggest mistake in my 30s was not enjoying them more. Young enough to party, still play some sports, and perfectly in place in any bar. You have energy and a circle of friends (that will get smaller, trust me). Try to carpe diem every once in a while; the decade passes VERY quickly.”
“Do whatever you can while you are young. The 30s is a peak time. I’m 64 now, forced into early retirement. I can’t do half the things I “thought” I would be able to do in “retirement.” I can’t bend to do gardening, can’t climb the ladder to get into the pool, can’t handle a walk for more than a few minutes due to arthritis and more. I’m mentally “still young,” but my body is telling me otherwise.”
9. Ignoring Their Burnout Signals
“I spent the middle of my thirties in constant burnout and ended up with my body and mind failing me because I was so afraid that tackling things would mean letting everyone down. Schedule machine maintenance or the machine will schedule it for you.”
“I’m burned out now and unsure how to fix it. I’ve been working extremely hard at my dream job for 6 years now, and since COVID-19, it’s become a challenge just to leave the house for work. The crazy part is that I like what I do and enjoy my co-workers, but I’ve reached the ceiling in my current role, and I’m not being properly compensated. So, with those two factors, on top of other aspects of life, I’m noticing the signs of burnout.”
8. Not Saving For Retirement
“Honestly, more people in their teens and 20s need to hear this. One thing drilled into my head was always to take free money (employer match) and ideally try and put away 25% and just learn to live like that. I’ve always tried to do at least the employer match at a minimum. For the most part, I’ve been able to stay between 10-15%. It helps immensely with budgeting as you never see the money, and you can reduce it if things come up and you need a little extra to get by. It’s so much harder to do the older you get as you get more bills and responsibilities.”
7. Not Celebrating Their Unique Style
“Being concerned about not being the young, trendy generation anymore. Wear your skinny jeans all you want, millennial women!”
“I’m 31 and going back to my emo kid days. NO ONE CAN STOP ME.”
“I just started a new job (professor) and had to buy a bunch of work pants since we’re only allowed to wear jeans on Fridays. My husband has been used to seeing me almost exclusively in skinny jeans for the past 8.5 years and didn’t even know how to respond when I asked for his opinion on a few pairs of straight-leg and flared pants. All he could say was that he liked the jeans better. I broke him. Those millennial preferences die hard.”
6. Getting Married for the Sake of It
“People are getting married for the sake of getting married. As a consequence, I’m seeing divorces SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH too! Been on dates where it’s obvious the girl wants the title of wife more than actually being a wife.”
“Also, see: having kids for the sake of having kids.”
“Even scarier when they want kids and do not care who’s the pappy. I briefly dated a woman who really wanted kids, didn’t want to use condoms, and probably didn’t use them with all the other guys she was sleeping with on the first date, either. I should have invested in companies offering paternity tests.”
5. Not Looking After Themselves Physically
“My doc told me at the end of last year that I’m not 16 anymore, and now is the time in my life where I get to decide whether I want to see my daughters grow up or whether I wanna die of a heart attack in my 50s…I got the message, lol. I dropped 40 pounds since January and might be in the best shape of my life, honestly.”
“I have a coworker who is 50 and says his body is “packing up.” My grandfather is 86, goes to the gym daily, and can do 30 good push-ups easily.”
4. Comparing Themselves to Other 30-somethings
“This is a good one. Your peer’s success can seem perfect from afar and make you feel inadequate. But if you sit down and talk with them, you will learn all sorts of shortcomings and difficulties in their life that will make you appreciate something about yourself and your situation. In other words, we are all just out here trying to function.”
“Recently, my fiancée (31) has been having more frequent existential crises where she thinks she’s not doing anything with her life, etc. Even more recently, she got a major promotion at her job that she’s only been at for about a year and a half. I’m very proud of her, and I reminded her that there’s plenty that she has done and can still do that has merit. She just has to believe it is and not beat herself up on societal goalposts.”
3. Staying in Toxic Relationships
“I’d add to that list: 1. Staying in unhealthy toxic relationships. 2. Jumping into new relationships/marriage because you think you are getting ‘too old.’ 3. Letting healthy relationships die due to focusing on work/self. 4. Not jumping into relationships because you had terrible dating experiences in your 20s (some people do get much better).
The 30s make every mistake in the book. I’d say the overarching theme is “making relationship decisions due to focusing on avoiding/meeting/holding onto milestones by a certain age.” (I can’t be a divorcee at 34; I have to be married by 34, I need to start a family in the next two years, I’m too old to start dating again).”
2. Losing Focus on What’s Important
“To summarize my points below: Your 30s are when you are really in the thick of “adulting.” It’s easy to lose focus on what is important to you among all the demands and responsibilities.
Not Fostering Friendships: As you enter your 30s, maintaining and nurturing friendships becomes more challenging. It’s a time when connections can fade, and forming new ones becomes harder. It’s imperative to invest effort in the friendships you currently have…
Not Nurturing Your Romantic Relationship: Responsibilities increase in your 30s, like careers, parenthood, and caregiving for aging parents. It’s common for the most crucial relationship – your romantic partnership – to be inadvertently neglected. Avoid taking your partner for granted, assuming they’ll always be around, or treating them as an outlet for your worst moments.”
1. Believing That They’re Too Old
“Almost 40, I just started my MBA. Never too old!”
“Started walking every day at 38yo and lost 40 lbs. I was hitting 320lbs. So I put the chip bag down and put some runners on. Feel amazing. I would like to come down another 60.”
“THIS. I’m 38 years old, and at 36, I changed careers. I ended up with a substantial salary increase, went from a high-stress work environment to a borderline zero-stress work environment, had amazing coworkers, enjoyed going to work, and had more time off. Best of all, my pension and years of service went with me. Everyone’s life is unique. It doesn’t matter if you’re 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, etc. It’s never too late to change your life for the better.”
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