The other day I was working out and a slightly younger gym regular asked me when I graduated college. I assume it was the “polite” way of finding out how old I was. When I told him my age he looked shocked. He said “NO way” as if I was some ancient artifact that had survived the test of time and was still in “good” condition.
I smiled and pretended to be unbothered by his reaction. Although, if I am being honest, it made me feel a little strange. It was one of those sobering moments when you realize you are actually as old as the number on your driver’s license and not as old (or young) as your brain says you are.
In my head, I am still 20 something… a semi adult. I do adult things, but there are still adultier adults who are supposed to have all the answers. Like… there is a layer somewhere between me and “real” adults.
All of a sudden I started to feel a little insecure. “Holy crap I am 33, what am I doing with my life? What have I done with my life? I thought my life would be different. Maybe I really don’t look or feel the same way I used to. What if I’m not where I’m supposed to be?”
For whatever reason, I felt compelled to compare myself to the other 30 somethings I know.
What were they doing? Where were they at with life? Did they look 30? Do they feel 30? Are they happy? I came to a couple of conclusions.
The first, our 30’s are interesting and they look different for all of us. Some of us are married with kids, married with no kids, in long term relationships, in situationships, or simply single and mingling. There are some of us own houses, rent houses, rent apartments, live at home, have roommates, don’t have roommates, or are living in Bali drinking out of coconuts. Some of us are well into our careers, still figuring it out, going back to school, starting businesses, changing careers or changing our minds.
The truth is, your 30’s are a time of change. We are at an age where Forever 21 is a thing of the past, gray hairs start to show up and real-life responsibilities are our new reality. Last calls at clubs with shots of vodka have turned into day drinking rose and other not so hard stuff to avoid 2-day hangovers and the floor of your closet becomes your happy place.
The second conclusion I came to was that our 30’s aren’t just interesting, they are amazing. They are a time when we should be more confident and sure of ourselves than ever before. We aren’t old, we are just getting started.
You see… in our 30’s, we are no longer “finding” ourselves, we are becoming ourselves. When we lean into who we are becoming, magic happens.
What Confidence Really Looks Like In Your 30s
Being confident in our 30’s is living as our authentic selves. We don’t become more confident by trying to be like other people or fitting in. We become more confident by authentically showing up as ourselves every day in every space. So how do you show up authentically? It is your approval of yourself and self-respect for who you are that gives you the confidence to show up authentically.
Give yourself permission to be 100% you 100% of the time and free yourself from the pressure of trying to be perfect or liked by everyone. Every day that we don’t show up as us it lessens our perceived value and deprives other people and the world from what we have to offer and who we are. The chances of you being made exactly how you are and who you are meant to be are 1 in 400 trillion. Yes, you read that correctly.
So in cliche quote fashion, “trying to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”
Being confident in your 30’s is being an action taker. It isn’t waiting for other people to do it for you or expecting the universe to drop it into your lap with no effort on your part. The practice of doing makes you more confident.
Think about something you have done a million times. Something that comes easy to you, like driving. Way back when at the age of 15 or 16 driving wasn’t always easy and mindless. When I was 16 I got stuck on hills in my stick shift because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. By the time I was 30, I could steer with my knee, shift gears, eat an apple and pull up directions on my phone all at the same time (not recommended).
We become more confident the more we do something… anything. Even if at first it feels completely foreign and we are terrible at it. It’s not about not having fear, it is doing it despite our fears and pushing past what is uncomfortable. At this point in our lives we have done a lot, we have had a lot of experience, and we know that even if we do it wrong the first time… or 7 times, it’s going to work out on the 8th time if we just keep going.
As we get older and grow, we go through a process of learning to trust ourselves that comes from trial and error. You know what you like, what you don’t like and what you are willing to accept in your life. And if you aren’t quite there yet, you know enough to know you will figure it out.
It is no longer a pipe dream to believe you can actually have it all. It is simply a matter of figuring out what the “everything” is, asking for it, working for it, and aligning yourself with that reality. The business, the marriage, the travel and whatever else is on your list.
It is time for you to embody the version of yourself who does have it all even if you don’t. Confidence in your beliefs around receiving is what’s important. You know the voice of your heart and the feeling of your intuition. Stop being distracted by other people’s opinions or caring about what they think. You know who you are and where you’re going.
So what is confidence…
Confidence is knowing and embracing our uniqueness. It is loving ourselves despite our flaws. It is knowing what the hell we want and being brave enough to go after it. Confidence is loving ourselves so hard it hurts, stepping into our power, and getting back up after we fail. Confidence is being you.
Remember, you are exactly where you are supposed to be at this exact moment… stand confidently where you are.