Our 20s are the best years of our life… apparently.
Yup, according to this study, in view of the stresses of parenting, careers and finances, people look back on their 20s as the time in which they were most happy.
‘Satisfaction over life decreases from the early 20s,’ Dr Ioana Ramia – who headed-up the study – told the Australian Social Policy Conference recently. ‘[It] plateaus for about 40 years, and then increases from about 65 up.’
Whilst I can’t speak for the 65+ bit, I can definitely speak for the first part. Because I am over my 20s and I totally disagree.
Obviously it’s all relative (and it absolutely is) hand on heart, the day I turned 30 was one of the best days of my life. Actually, every day since has been infinitely better than any I experienced in my 20s.
1. You realise that no one cares if you don’t go to the party. (And they really don’t.) But the best thing about being 30 is: neither do you.
2. You’ve come to terms with your face. You’ve seen the benefits of ‘au naturel’ and you’ve embraced.
**3. **You’re happy to ditch the hair straighteners too. (Well, almost…)
4. You look forward to exercising. Not excessively, but you want to take care of yourself. So that million-pound gym membership subscription actually goes to good use.
5. You realise cigarettes really are disgusting.
6. ‘Going out’ is exactly that. In your 20s, it meant: nightclubs, shots, kebabs, hangovers and regret. In your 30s, it just means, ‘not staying in’. So, ‘I’m going out for dinner at Mum’s’, is going out.
7. You feel sorry for people in their 20s. Because in spite of what Dr Ramia’s study might say, your 20s are tough. You’re expected to be an adult (suddenly), to know exactly who you are and precisely what you want. But by your 30s, you realise that is impossible. At the very least, it’s a lifelong undertaking – so you cut yourself some slack.
8. You know the secret about dating. Which is: if they like you, they get in touch. End of.
9. You genuinely look forward to Bake Off/Downton and will miss social events to watch them.
10. You don’t care about the Top 40 Music Charts because you know all the best music to be old music.
11. You can be honest about wanting to get married and have children without people thinking you’re desperate and weird.
12. You appreciate modern technology… because you remember rewinding tapes with your fingers (to save those precious Walkman batteries) and hoping that when the VHS button was red that Titanic was actually recording…
13. You realise life is about quality, not quantity – a bottle of good Burgundy is infinitely more delicious than two cheapo bottles of plonk.
14. And speaking of alcohol, hangovers are far worse in your 30s. FAR WORSE. A lucky consequence of this, however, is you make sure you don’t get them as often.
15. That said, you also realise you don’t have to drink to have fun. (Though admittedly, this is easily forgotten.)
16. You may feel bad when it dawns on you you’re older than all the Friends characters were in Series One, but then you remember… in your mid-30s, you’re merely Carrie’s age in Sex And The City; her age at the beginning...
17. You discover Radio 4 – and wonder why you ever listened to anything else.
18. You take an active interest in politics and pay attention to the budget, because you genuinely care about the country and how your taxes are spent.
19. Grey hairs and wrinkles don’t bother you as much as you thought they would, because – unlike your vain 20s – you just don’t look in the mirror as much.
20. You accept – as far as is ever possible – that you are the weight that Mother Nature intended. Rather than worry about the body you don’t have, you try to find satisfaction with the one that you do.
21. When people say, ‘You don’t look a day over 21’, it’s an actual compliment.
22. You get a nice pair of socks for Christmas and it is genuinely what you wanted.
23. Cooking isn’t something your mother does. You laugh at the days when ‘making toast’ was the extent of your repertoire.
24. You don’t like it initially, but the moment you commit to buying that first pair of ‘practical shoes’ you’re hooked… and you never look back.
25. You are far more confident in your opinions – because you are a far more confident person in general.
26. You know who your friends are. (Probably one of the best realisations.)
27. You have finally taken notice of Baz Luhrmann and his advice, and you demonstrate this by wearing sunscreen.
28. You’re altogether less lazy. You make your bed daily, do the washing up instinctively and find mess irritating. (This magic transformation happens over night.)
29. You realise not everything was your parents’ fault – and never more so than when you have your own children.
30. It takes some getting used to, but at 30, it doesn’t feel right calling yourself ‘a girl’ anymore. Quite by accident, you find yourself saying: ‘As a woman, I…’ And it feels great.