The difference between your 20s and your 30s

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All the good stuff happens in your 20s. And, just like a caterpillar ,you have a ravenous appetite for life.

You make mistakes and still have the energy, zeal and child-like wonder to laugh, get up and try again.

It is a stage of mystery and charm as your persona is evolving into the person you will be even past your 30s. You have some innate idea of what you are about, yet you dare to dangle on the curve, more inclined to take chances, to enthusiastically gravitate towards the unknown, and to be spontaneous, without a thought about tomorrow.

Life is boundless, as the concept of aging is moons away from disturbing your equilibrium, and you truly believe that time is your best friend. You think you have oodles and oodles of it to spare, so there’s no hurry to get things right the first time, or plant roots firmly in place. After all, what can possibly happen?

I’m not saying that people in their 20s are like floating bubbles. I am saying that they have a carefree spirit that becomes shadowed by situations and realities that seem to emerge when they enter the 30s.  I know… I was there! Maybe it is because in your 20s you are at the stage where life is all about discovery and learning. You are either consumed by education, work, or the intricacies of relationships. There’s just so much to capture your attention in your 20s, as you venture along life’s road – friends, music, movies, parties, boyfriends, cars, and more.


‘There’s just so much to capture your attention in your 20s’


For many, life hasn’t gotten serious as yet – with the full brunt of responsibility still at bay – although I do know quite a few who, though only in their 20s, have managed to achieve far more than their so-called seniors, while shouldering major responsibilities.

For most of us, traversing through the 30s is like attaining enlightenment, while reckoning with life issues. We reflect on past storms, and can relate to what many of our younger friends or acquaintances are going through. Thus enabling us to lend that very candid, grown-up, ‘been there, done that’ advice.

However, some have been through so much, that by the time 30 hits, they are already jaded. They are filled with cold cynicism, seeing all the cons as opposed to the positives in life, and there is no more flirting with uncertainty. Maybe this in itself is the reasoning that comes with age. It seems the 30s is a stage where most of us get grounded, having taken up new roles and responsibilities. So there is definitely a paradigm shift from the 20s to 30s – as interests, values and expectations go through transformations.


‘Traversing through the 30s is like attaining enlightenment’


Around that age, too, many have completed most of their schooling, and have gotten absorbed into Babylon. Some have finally gotten the hang of a steady relationship (or not); some are even taking steps towards marriage or are already happily co-existing without the ring, toting a lil’ bundle of joy or two. The variations in life are as vast as the sky but you understand what I am getting at. When I was 11, I wondered how my life would be when I was in my 20s. By the time I reached 19, I had stopped fussing over birthdays. I never dreamed of life at 50, and my main focus was on securing my degree, snagging a good job, music, liming, love and tattoos.

I never envisioned having children or falling in love. It was only after I got in a steady relationship, and had a job that I liked, for the most part, that such family-oriented ideas filled my head. I always knew what I wanted out of life, but there was never any urgency. I never had to fight for it. I just felt like everything would somehow work out. After all, the universe had a prescribed outcome for my life; there were only so many paths I could take and I was doing alright, having attained all the traditional milestones.

Now, having gone through a myriad of experiences, I live in a less conceited vacuum. I know that I am not invincible, and as a parent I want different things than before, more so for my child than myself. However, I am still hoping to snag that utopian job, and I am still into cartoons, tattoos, and liming. As for love… it is very real and wonderful, but as with any growing thing, it needs lots of TLC to carry on.

There is no doubt that the 20s and 30s are worlds apart and I truly believe that it all only starts making sense when you hit your 50s. Nevertheless, one factor is true… whether at age 20 or 30, change is inevitable. From your 20s to 30s, you are in no way the same person.

Though your 30s are ultimately shaped by your 20s, there is always an avenue for redress. You don’t have to be boxed in by the mistakes or decisions made then. Life is about constant, progressive learning – whether we like it or not.

So maybe somewhere in your 40s or 50s, having gone through all the rigours of life, we will finally emerge as that beautiful, fluttering butterfly, with a better understanding of life’s whimsy and charm.


Image credit: biking bettie.


Danielle Martin is a writer at heart, having crafted her first poem at the age of seven. Since then, she has gathered experience in the fields of journalism and advertising. She believes that the best limes are spontaneous, and that life really is too short.

1 Comment

  1. Dustin Sparks

    January 7, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    This is beautiful.

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