20 Things You Realize The Day You Turn 30


As we make our way through our twenties we are faced with a staggering amount of changes and realizations that can often creep up on us. But they tend to be the more monumental ones like, “No one really knows what they’re doing with their lives” or, “I don’t have to change myself to be loved.”

But turning 30 this past January I realized in one shocking epiphany that I had gone through a massive transformation. Not with regards to any of the important stuff, I feel relatively settled there. But rather in the oft overlooked details of life. Individually they’re not much, but stack them together and you are staring right in the eyes of maturity. If you have started doing all or any of the things listed below, you have officially entered your second decade of adulthood. Welcome to your (not-so) dirty thirties! 

1. You never leave dirty dishes in the sink.

You won’t have any idea when this happened, but suddenly there are no more dishes piling up in your sink. Not even one dish. Because it just makes sense to do them as soon as you finish dinner, or even while you’re still cooking. While you’re at it, you might as well give the counters a quick wipe down too. 

2. You never run out of toilet paper in the bathroom.

That terrible feeling of searching for a square and finding nothing but bleak cardboard is a thing of the past. Because you now keep a stockpile of rolls beneath the sink. And a backup stockpile in the closet. And you’re beyond diligent about restocking your stockpiles. Also, the toilet paper actually makes it onto the roll, instead of sitting atop the empty tube.  

3. You actually make your bed.

You never really understood why your mom arranged all those throw pillows every day just to take them off each night. But suddenly you revel in the feeling of coming home after a long day to a nice, inviting, well-made bed: superfluous throw pillows and all. 

4. Going out has been downgraded from “Let’s do this thing!” to “But do they have seating?”

Sure, you still love going out for drinks with friends. But the thought of stepping foot into a loud, over-crowded bar with a twenty minute wait for a cocktail is out of the question. And if someone mentions a cover charge or getting you on “the list,” you turn off your phone. Did someone say wine night on Julie’s couch? I’ll bring a case. 

5. Wine is your best friend.

Ok, so you’ve always had a thing for wine. But your relationship has grown over the years in the way only two great friends can. With each year that passes you know wine better and better, like which red goes best with Papa John’s. And wine knows that even if you spend a couple of days with Jim, Jack, and Jose, you’re always coming back to the comfort of a glass (read: bottle) on the couch.

6. You can handle your booze.

Hopefully, you already achieved this sometime in your mid-twenties. But hitting 30 is a whole new level. Day drinking on weekends is fun, but not mandatory, and you’ve learned how to prioritize weekday responsibilities with the amount of hungover you’re willing to be. Kudos! No more hangover voms in the bathroom at work! 

7. You still think hostels are cool, but you never stay in the dorms.

Hostels are definitely a bargain and a great way to meet people. But this private room is only $10 more and there isn’t a single person loudly snoring or trying to have sex in the bunk beneath you thinking no one can hear them. Wait– is that a $60 room on hotels.com? And there’s room service? Never mind, I’ll just book that.    

8. You clean your house before you go on vacation.

Gone are the days of coming home to a bedroom strewn with clothes and a living room with an inch of dust on everything. Is that something growing in the sink? Nope! Because you did the dishes too, of course. 

9. You unpack and start the laundry as soon as you get home.

You made such an effort to clean before you left, you couldn’t possibly sully it by dropping your suitcase on the floor and forgetting about it until you run out of things to wear. Repeat sentiment about how nice it feels to have everything clean. 

10. You use the word “decade” in the literal sense.

Maybe in college you used to say things like, “Oh my God, Sarah! I haven’t seen you in like a decade!” But now it has actually been a decade since college and you haven’t seen Sarah since. Don’t worry, she’s probably just been busy doing the dishes. 

11. You start thinking in terms of decades too.

Forgotten is the feeling of planning your life by the semester. Gone are your confusing and exhausting twenties. Suddenly your 401(k) is sexier than a pair of stilettos and life passes by in five-year increments. Congratulations, you’re almost halfway to retirement! Speaking of which, I need to call my accountant.  

12. You stopped wearing stilettos.

Your closet used to be filled with all of the sexiest, most uncomfortable shoes imaginable. But somehow, at some point, you realized that ballet flats are awesome and that being in excruciating pain isn’t worth how great they make your legs look. But man, did your legs look great back in the day. 

13. You actually work out now, so your legs still look great.

Disclaimer: this one does not apply to me. But lots of my 30 year old friends seem to be working out like five times a week. Something about sweaty yoga? Sounds gross. But good for you! 

14. The prospect of having children no longer causes you to stress vomit and run screaming from the room.

You’re not about to pop out a baby tomorrow or anything. But some of your friends have kids, and kids seem alright, and something about growing old and not wanting to die alone. Plus, they’re so cute sometimes, but so expensive, and crazy, and my social life will be over, and OK, never mind, we’ll come back to that one. 

15. You Never EVER Miss Your Birth Control

Since you’re 100% sure that you do not want to be raising a baby nine months from tomorrow, there is no way you’re taking any chances. You have an alarm set on your phone, another on your computer when you get to work, and an extra pack in your car just in case you forgot. OK, clearly babies are still a terrifying concept. 

16. You try to eat healthy, regular meals.

Vegetables are your friend and cooking makes you happy. You don’t need to count calories but you just feeeel better when you eat well. Second Disclaimer: My diet still consists of about 50% bread and 30% cheese, but the other 20% definitely comes from a plant of some sort. I swear.  

17. You feel an overwhelming, uncontrollable urge to entertain.

You may still be living in a tiny apartment, but that doesn’t stop you from inviting 50 people over this Saturday for a Mexican-themed brunch where you handpicked each jalapeño to be stuffed with Christmas lights and hung over the table to complete your lighting scheme. What? That’s not weird. 

18. You’re thinking about buying a house (or you already did).

Not only can you hang all the jalapeño Christmas lights you want, but you realized that owning property can even MAKE you money in the long run. Say what? Also, you’ve grown weary of pushy landlords and obnoxious roommates with questionable hygiene. 

19. You’ve started flossing. (Almost) every night.

No more lying to the dentist. No more flossing for two days before your appointment just so your gums don’t bleed like a drunken hemophiliac. It’s really happening this time. Just not on Saturdays. And probably Fridays.  

20. You have a strange feeling that you might be an adult.

Somehow all of these tiny behaviors have led you to believe you might be a responsible person. You’ve been paying your bills on time for years and you started using the word ‘career’ instead of ’job.’ Your decade of self-discovery has ended and you’re ready to embrace the decade of self-discipline! There may still be a few kinks that need unkinking but you almost, sort of, feel like a grown-up. Almost.