Many young professionals will find the second half of their late twenties plagued with the oncoming dread of entering their third decade.
A 2022 UK survey from charity Relate found that 77 per cent of millennials (25-39 year-olds) – and 83 per cent of Gen Z-ers (16-24 year-olds) feel the pressure to reach certain life ‘milestones’.
People, particularly women, feel ‘perceived societal pressures to settle down’, clinical psychotherapist Dr Jo Gee says.
But while it’s clear plenty of people experience anxiety over the thought of turning thirty, experts said the ‘big 3-0’ is full of vibrant opportunities.
Dr Gee and Jess Martin – decoration expert from Ginger Ray – both collated a series of tips for anyone wanting to wade the impending doom off. Stock image used
The anxiety and stress management specialist explained that 30 feels ‘like a watershed age’ for many because a threshold of achievements are often expected to already have been reached.
She added: ‘This runs alongside biological changes for women, which can lead to a general decline in fertility, in turn creating a sense of urgency in women reaching 30.’
Dr Gee collated a series of tips for anyone wanting to wade the impending doom off – and if that doesn’t change your mindset about the start of a new decade, Jess Martin – decoration expert from Ginger Ray – revealed how to celebrate the landmark birthday in style.
1. EMBRACE THE MILESTONE
While it’s tough to let go of what the world seems to be telling you Dr Gee advises that it can be helpful to shed societal expectations of what being 30 has to mean. Stock image used
While it’s tough to let go of what the world seems to be telling you Dr Gee advises that it can be helpful to shed societal expectations of what being 30 has to mean.
‘It can feel empowering to reject cultural and societal pressures for where we “should be” by the age of 30,’ she said.
The stress management expert added that it’s important to ‘appreciate our individual journey’.
2. CELEBRATE YOUR 20S INSTEAD OF MOURNING THEM
Dr Jo advises that it won’t do you any good to mourn your past decade. It’s better to reflect on what you enjoyed and took away from those years.
‘Looking back over our 20s can have a cathartic effect,’ she explained. ‘Analyse your strengths, increased resilience, and the things you’ve learnt over the past decade.’
The expert also said that working on creating a sort of dialogue between your past and present self can be more healing than you think.
She remarked: ‘Having your 30-year-old self speak to your 20-year-old self with kindness can trigger feelings of self-appreciation and self-love in the brain!’
3. DO MORE OF WHAT YOU LIKE
Jess said that, with age, comes a greater self-possession of your taste, which can definitely work to your advantage.
The decoration expert said that now, not only will you be more comfortable in what you like and don’t like – but you can also act on it more confidently.
‘The great thing about turning 30 is you probably now have a better idea of what you do (and don’t) like,’ she remarked. ‘And birthdays are a brilliant reminder to pay attention to this!
‘A great way to nurture your past self is to recall birthday’s gone-past – think back to what you did for your 10th birthday, and then your 18th, to reconnect with your inner child and establish what it is that makes you happiest!’
Jess said that, with age, comes a greater self-possession of your taste, which can definitely work to your advantage. Stock image used
Jess said that, when it comes to throwing birthday parties (and other festivities in your thirties), focus on treating yourself and surrounding yourself with your favourite things.
‘Make sure you’re throwing a party that you’ll actually enjoy,’ she said. ‘Curate the guest list to your taste, play your favourite songs and order the food you like.
‘Having plans which involve all your favourite things will ensure that the occasion is one you can actually look forward to, instead of dreading.’
4. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF A GREAT OUTFIT
Nothing can cheer you up quite in the same way a chic new outfit can – and that fact remains true across every age.
And decorations expert Jess said turning 30 is the perfect occasion to flaunt some new threads.
She advised: ‘Whether this is a sparkly new dress or some cosy loungewear, why not treat yourself to something brand new for the big day – make sure you save it to wear for the party so it feels that extra bit special!’
Decorations expert Jess said turning 30 is the perfect occasion to flaunt some new threads. Stock image used
5. HAVE THE BEST BIRTHDAY BASH
Jess’s final tip is that it can be very helpful to associate turning 30 with a positive experience or memory – so make your birthday celebrations just that.
‘Right now you may be feeling anxiety about hitting the thirty milestone – but these will be memories that you’ll want to look back and fondly remember,’ she said.
‘To make sure the party is a memorable one, why not consider a theme? My personal favourite is to theme your party as an iconic decade.’
She added that a nice touch may be setting up something like a photo booth or organising disposable cameras – so that there are physical reminders of a good time.
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