8 things you don't actually need to have figured out by age 30

No doubt you’ll have seen the abundance of articles online telling twentysomethings exactly what they should do, see and be before they hit 30. Such articles have titles like, ’13 things every woman must do before she turns 30’ and ’20 experiences you should have before you turn 30.’ Apparently there’s a ton that us twentysomethings should try and squeeze in before we hit that elusive deadline. No pressure or anything…

The thing is, while some people might thrive on having a bucket list to get through before their big ‘30’ milestone, for the rest of us, the idea can be daunting – paralysing, even. Becoming adults who stand on our own two feet and are self-sufficient in the world can be enough of a task without adding in all the extra expectations. Well, we think it’s about time we took the pressure off. The fact is that life happens when it happens. You might not trek Machu Picchu at 25, but that doesn’t mean you’re doing life wrong. We’ve put together 8 things you don’t actually need to have figured out by the time you hit 30. Ready for your shoulders to drop and your lungs to expand? Keep reading.

1. You don’t need to have found ‘the one’

Your parents might have been married with two kids at the same age you graduated uni, but that doesn’t mean your life path has to match theirs. If you meet someone who makes you happy, that’s great. But if not, there’s time. And there’s so much more in life to enjoy. Like dinner with friends, holidays alone and evenings spent watching whatever you want on TV.

2. You don’t need to know what you want to do for the rest of your life

Right from our school days, we’re asked what we want to be when we grow up. Some people just know, while others really don’t. And either of those answers is perfectly OK. More and more people are switching careers these days. It’s no longer a given that you’ll stick in one job or with one company until you retire. You’re in the driving seat here – you get to choose what you do. And you can change your mind at any time. We don’t know about you, but we definitely know people aged 50+ who still don’t know what they want to be when they grow up…

3. You don’t need to own a property

Scratch that – it’s almost impossible to own a property, depending on where in the world you live. House prices and the cost of living have soared in recent years, meaning that getting a foot on the property ladder comes at a hefty price – one which is out of reach to many young adults. If you don’t own a home yet, you’re not alone, but it doesn’t mean you never will.

4. You don’t need to have been on a life-changing holiday

If you read Eat, Pray, Love, or any travel blog written by a twentysomething trying to find himself, you could start to believe that going on holiday is the only way to change your life. We agree that travelling is wonderful. It’s mind-expanding and life-enhancing, absolutely. But it’s also not the only way to have a profound experience or find out who you are. You can do that in your very own living room if you’d prefer, or if necessity dictates.

5. You don’t need to have children, or even want children

If you don’t have children yet but you’re one of those twentysomethings who feels like all their peers are settling down and starting families, don’t worry. You simply haven’t reached that stage of life yet, or perhaps you don’t even want to. The choice to remain childless is one being made by more and more women, and they’re talking about it more openly, too. Ultimately, this is your decision to make, and it’s certainly not one to feel pressured into making.

6. You don’t need to have a signature style

Life is full of surprises. Things change, and so do you. You don’t need to decide on your ‘look’ right now, or at all. Stay open to change. Dress for the occasion, for the weather, or for whatever your heart feels like on any given day.

7. You don’t need to know how to cook for more than just yourself

Cooking is a really useful skill to have. The ability to plan and prepare your own nutritious meals is one that will stay with you throughout your life. But if you’ve never made a roast dinner with all the trimmings and got the timings just right for four or more people, it’s OK. If your repertoire only extends as far as boiling some pasta and adding a tomato sauce, it’s OK. Experiment, take your time, share the cooking duties with friends. Remember, cooking is supposed to be fun, too.

8. You don’t need to have the body of your dreams

Health and fitness isn’t about quick fixes or sculpted abs in six weeks. It’s not about summer bodies, bikini bodies or being ripped only while you’re young. It’s a lifestyle. And that means it’s for life. It’s about working consistently to keep fit, stay healthy and be the best version of you. And that applies at every age.


Life isn’t a checklist you should work through in order to feel happy or complete. This is your path and only you can forge it. With that in mind, if there’s anything you want to add to this list, let us know in the comments!


READ THIS NEXT: Is 40 the new 30?


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