When my friends and I get together these days, we can’t help but laugh at how much things have changed over the last few years when we crossed over from twenty-somethings to… er, thirty. Sure, everyone says ‘thirty is the new twenty’ and all that, but the truth is thirty IS thirty and there is a difference.
Aging is a privilege, and I’m all for being true to one’s self or to stop pretending to be spring chicken when we’re not. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to age gracefully, or to adjust a little better. Here’s a chronicle of all the things that really happen in your 30s and how to deal:
- Your feet hurt in high heels– Ok, I used to live in heels. I would go shopping in them, dance the night away in them, walk down the street with the wind blowing in my hair in them, run up and down the stairs in them. And it came so naturally that I maybe only owned less than 5 pairs of flats back then. But this year, suddenly I’ve found I can’t stand more than 30 minutes in my heels, I sure as hell can’t dance more than one song in them, and forget about trying to enjoy walking around the mall in those torture weapons. The scientific reason is that over time, the natural cushions we have in our feet slowly get worn out from regular wear and tear, hence the low tolerance for pretty stilettos today. Karma has bitten right where it hurts! I certainly don’t want to turn into the dowager aunt by wearing nothing but flats, and besides I love my shoes too much to stop wearing them. So the remedy is simple– pad your insoles, and moving forward, invest in better shoes that won’t hurt your feet even if you’re standing in heels for long periods.
- You can’t do all-nighters– Gone are the days when we would party literally till the break of dawn, grab some breakfast, hit the shower and then go to class, missing an entire night’s sleep. These days the mere thought of staying out past 2am makes me exhausted, and I can barely survive work the following day. I’m just not built that way anymore. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to go out and enjoy life all the same. Therefore, I manage my lifestyle by getting plenty of rest whenever I can, and watching my nutrition (diet, exercise, vitamins) in order to cope with ‘special occasions’ that should not be missed. So yes, the occasional gimmick till 3 or 4 am still exists, but only if I can stay in and do nothing but curl up in bed and read a book the following day.
- Crazy and loud aren’t all that appealing anymore– In relation to number 2, the fact is that many of us in our thirties don’t want to party like a rockstar all that much anymore. Suddenly our idea of fun has shifted to intimate dinners or cocktails at a cool lounge. There’s nothing more to do but accept wryly that good wine, company and conversation in a comfy place beats crazy gyrating in a skintight dress any day. Now, if you find yourself wandering into a full-on club in your thirties, don’t panic at the sight of people who are probably half your age. Just grab a drink, dance as much as you like, and find a nice seat to perch from when you get exhausted (and learn to ‘dance’ in your chair too).
- You develop curves everywhere– Oh man, this one is just a pain. One day you’re thin as a rod, and the next you find your jeans don’t quite fit the same way, not to mention this belly that grew from out of nowhere… yes, it is depressing that women’s bodies have the tendency to change so much in their 30s. But you just need to accept that doing the same thing won’t cut it anymore. In order to keep the extra weight at bay, lower your carb and sugar intake, find your best workout (be it yoga, dancing, running or whatever best suits your lifestyle), and strive to be strong instead of skinny. You will never get your teenage body back unless you’re one of the very lucky ones…but that doesn’t mean you can’t be gorgeous, toned and strong.
- You develop fine lines and sunspots– It’s payback time for all those days at the beach without any form of sunblock. You’ll notice some faint sunspots on your cheeks, or fine lines under your eyes. And well, here’s where all the oily-skinned girls have an advantage because the propensity to develop deep wrinkles is quite less than those with dry skin. Also, for many thirty-somethings, acne is now a thing of the past…but your skin needs just as much TLC as it always has. See a dermatologist and invest in a good skincare regimen for day and night. This needs diligence if you really want to maintain supple skin so don’t ever miss a treatment, massage carefully on your face and neck every morning and night to rejuvenate the muscles, and never step out of the house without sunblock.
- Your hair isn’t as thick as it used to be– Yup, another sad thing about getting older is having slightly duller, limp hair. What used to be a mane so thick it was hard to brush or even tie up is now—well, lacklustre to put it bluntly. Nutrition is one thing, stress may be another, but an even bigger factor is the damage you expose your hair to on a regular basis, from coloring to blow drying, ironing or curling, digital perms, rebonding, and all that jazz. How to repair damaged hair or thinning hair? Research on treatments, especially natural ones such as aloe vera, eat well and take your vitamins rich in keratin and vitamin E. Argan oil is also known to be a miracle worker in terms of returning the silky gloss in your strands.
- Your teeth show signs of age– And here you thought all those cups of coffee and tea and glasses of red wine wouldn’t leave a trace? Suddenly you smile and it isn’t pearly whites you see smiling back at you from the mirrow but a faint yellow or gray. This is not acceptable in the very least. Nothing makes you look ancient more than stained or discoloured teeth, or bad gums. It is an absolute requirement to see your dentist every 6 months for a prophylaxis, and use a whitening kit once a year. A popular at-home remedy is also to mix some lemon juice with baking soda, turn into a paste and coat on your teeth for a gradually whiter smile.
So those were the deadly seven signs of aging, but hey let’s not be so bleak. There are many, many pluses to ‘growing up’- Now you know who your real friends are, you stop trying so hard to fit in or to be someone you thought you wanted to be, you accept that the world (and the people in it) aren’t perfect, you know what you want, you know what you’re good at, you know what real love is, you’ve found your passion in life, and you know that you are in charge of your own happiness. And frankly, I wouldn’t trade this state of mind for the world…spring chicken or not. Here’s to being thirty, flirty and fabulous!