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Trust Me, Your 30s Are So Much Better Than Your 20s

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Just a couple of days ago, I turned 33. Technically, I turned 33 while flying over the Atlantic Ocean, flying from the gorgeous Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda, something that I had arranged with the tourist board through this blog. When I landed in London, I got a car back to my flat, went for a wonderful breakfast at my favourite local café, and then napped for a few hours.

That night, I met up with my dear friend Isabel.

“I don’t need a huge party for my birthday or anything,” I told her. “Just a pint or two at my local pub.” Famous last words, much?

Fast forward six hours and at least a dozen drinks later, and I had somehow found myself back at my flat with Isabel and a few guys, one of which just happened to be an ex who had bought me shots of tequila that night. The angel on my shoulder was telling me to drink water, be reasonable, and definitely not do anything regrettable.

Oh, but that fucking devil… that fucking devil was playing records as loud as she could, pouring everyone huge glasses of champagne, and flirting up a storm with whomever looked her way, especially the very person she should not have been flirting with at all.

And then – funny how everyone seems to get the memo at once that it’s time to leave – it was just the two of us in my flat, just me and my ex. Alone. At 2am. On my birthday. Both of us very inebriated. The devil was rubbing her hands together at this point, cackling away. I’m not going to lie, I was totally after a cheeky birthday kiss.

Despite there being a whole flat’s worth of space, my ex and I found each other standing directly in front of each other. We kissed, just for a second. He stopped me, and then sighed. He held me at arm’s length.

“Brenna, I think you’re amazing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m attracted to you… I think you’re banging,” (his words, not mine, I would never say “banging”, I do have some self-respect). “But,” and here he took a long pause, looked me up and down, and grimaced. “It’s just not for me.”

***

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Truth be told, getting older never scared me very much. I never had some sort of specific life plan, never setting goals for myself for 21, 25, 30, or what have you. The day I turned 30, it felt like any other birthday. And really… age doesn’t scare me at all, because with every year older I turn, life gets so much better. For real.

Listen, maybe you’re in your 20s right now and thinking, “WTF are you talking about, my life is amazing.” If that’s the case, well, that is amazing, and it will probably only get better. Maybe you’re in your 30s or 40s or 50s and you’re thinking, “WTF are you talking about, my life peaked when I was in my 20s.” Well… I don’t really know what to say. I can only speak for my own experiences, those of a single, 33-year-old woman with no children, although in speaking with my friends who are also in their 30s, many of which who are married and have children, we all find the same thing: this decade is, in so many ways, better than the last.

And although my 20s were full of great external experiences – I backpacked through Europe, I lived in Europe, I lived in Asia, I did a solo backpacking trip though Southeast Asia and India for a year, I did a solo backpacking trip through Central and South America for nearly a year, I moved to London, I went to freaking Burning Man and danced stark naked under the moon – there is no denying that, with each year that passes, the internal side of my life – my attitude, my personality, my outlook on life – gets better and better. That life, in turn, becomes better and better. I started to feel it internally in my late 20s and it’s only gone up from there. Here’s why I think my 30s are so much better than my 20s.

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I have more money. Yep, I said it. I have way more money at 33 than I did at 23, just as I would hope and expect. At 23 I had just finished working in retail for the past seven years and was taking on odd jobs as an office assistant, which I hated with every fibre of my being. I still had to rely on my parents for financial help once in a while (total disclaimer; there’s no way I can’t address how privileged and fortunate I’ve been), and, although I was able to save up enough to travel, it was on an incredibly strict budget.

Fast forward a decade, and it’s not like I’m rolling in cash, but I can afford to live a comfortable life in London. I can afford to save up and buy a new camera (notice the photo quality in this post?!) or take a nice holiday (though I’m still hovering on the two and three-star hotel section of TripAdvisor). I can go out for dinner, or buy my friends flowers, or get my hair done at fancy salons where they give you a glass of Prosecco while you wait. I’m completely financially independent – and I was even able to buy a house in Canada a few years ago – and that feels pretty damn good.

Obviously this money didn’t just suddenly appear out of thin air when I turned 30. But with age comes more experience, which comes better job opportunities, which of course leads to a better payday. Age also leads to better financial planning (like, I have investments and shit, can you believe it?).

I have a much better sense of my career. Throughout my entire 20s, I worked purely to make money so that I could travel. I worked in retail, in the service industry, as an English teacher, as a tutor, as an office assistant, and even on red carpets and movie sets. I worked two jobs at once, as hard as I could, to save as much as I could.

But I hated every second of the majority of those jobs, and I had no idea what I was doing with my life, career-wise.

Now, in my 30s, I’ve finally developed a career I really enjoy, so much so that I think nothing of working on a Saturday night. I blog, I do some consulting, I do some freelance writing and editing, I work on travel campaigns, and this hodgepodge career is actually the perfect one for me, as it keeps me on my toes and allows me to develop new skills and tackle new challenges every day. I’ve never loved a job as much as the one (ones?) I have now… I mean, could I have ever imagined that my job would entail flying to Antigua and Barbuda?! I’m my own boss, and I know what I’m good at and which of my skills I can market. Some people are lucky enough to know what they want to do when they’re younger, but for me, it took until I was 28 to figure it out, and took until my 30s to have any success with it.

I’m much better at things. Cooking. Writing. Being a friend. Drinking tequila. With the exception of anything I learned in gym class (I never could climb that damn rope anyway) I have pretty much gotten better at most skills over the years… which, duh, makes perfect sense. I just know how to do things now, and don’t feel so clueless about life skills all the time (I even own TWO tool boxes. Two. I am officially an adult).

Yes, I know that I just claimed to be a better writer and then used “duh” in a sentence, but what I’ve really developed over the years is my own style of writing. And my own style just happens to have a lot of “duhs” in it. Yes, I did get a master’s degree in writing, why do you ask?

I’m much smarter about how dumb I really am. You know how they say that, the more you know, the more you realise you don’t know anything at all? Yeah. When I was a teenager, I was pretty precocious. I thought I knew a whole lot about a whole lot, when in reality I was a privileged white teenager in suburban Canada.

Now, at 33, I realise just how little I know about history, society, and other cultures. I read as much as I can about a variety of topics, just so that I can have some understanding of basic life premises. I try to listen. I try to see other points of view. The older you get, the more you realise how much the rest of the world can teach you, and that everyone you meet knows something you don’t.

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I have much better taste. I’m not saying this in a, “oh look at me I have matching plates” kind of taste. I mean this in a “I no longer care what people think about the things I like” kind of taste.

When I was 14, I had a cute boyfriend… although he had a bizarre habit of passing his gum to me when we made out. EW. And I wish I could say that dating gets better with age but for real, someone did this to me only a few months ago and so I cannot vouch for dating getting any better, my apologies. I will say this, though… the opportunities haven’t gone away just because I’ve gotten a bit older. In fact, my dating life is much more active now than it was when I was in my early 20s.

ANYWAY, cute gum-chewing boyfriend asked what I wanted for my upcoming birthday, and, wanting to impress him, I asked for a KORN CD. That’s right, KORN. If you do not know who KORN is then thank your lucky stars, and do not look them up. I’m sorry if you’re like, “What! KORN is the shit! I love those dreads!” but the point of the story is… I hated KORN. I only said I liked them to impress a boy. And when I think of everything I’ve said I liked over the years just to impress a guy or a cool girl or someone older… let’s just say I have some very suspect CDs collecting cobwebs in my dad’s basement.

Now, I listen to whatever I want, read whatever I want, and watch whatever I want. I have no shame, nor do I waste my time pretending to like things I don’t just to seem cool.

I have much better friends. Oh Lord, I can remember having so many petty arguments with friends ten years ago. The high school drama?! Ugh. These days, I don’t even allow myself to get close enough to someone with toxic vibes; I just don’t have time for that, nor do I want it in my life. I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a fight with a friend, or was even pissed off at someone… as I’ve aged, my friendships have naturally progressed to the point where I only surround myself with people who really gel with who I am. The result is I have fewer friends, but those friendships are so much stronger and more fulfilling.

I’m a better traveller. This isn’t because I have a bit more money, it’s because I’m much more appreciative of the places I’m in and the things I’m doing. I value experiences a lot more. I’m also more open-minded, more patient, and less willing to fall for a scam (or for a hippie backpacker that smells faintly of patchouli and goes by the name of “Dirty Mike”).

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The sex is way better. It just is. Trust me. As I said, I cannot vouch for the dating, but remember what I said about age leading to being better at a variety of skills? It tends to work like that with all people. Let’s just leave it at that.

I feel much better-looking. You are probably like, “Wow, conceited are we?” But hear me out. I honestly don’t know if outwardly I have become better-looking. Society seems to value youth when it comes to beauty, and I’ll admit I buy the odd wrinkle cream. But damn, I feel so much better about my looks than I used to. I never really had body issues – I’m very fortunate in that way – but I often hid my body under layers, or didn’t feel very confident around people I was attracted to. Now? I feel fucking fantastic. I love flaunting my stuff. I love making prolonged eye contact with someone I think is hot. I often feel very beautiful and very secure. That may come across as bragging, I’m aware, but it’s the truth. With each year that passes, I feel more and more attractive. I also learned how a push-up bra works, embraced my bushy eyebrows, and have finally mastered winged eyeliner, so these things have helped significantly.

I’m a much better person. OK, I am definitely no angel, but I know that I have become a much better person in the last decade. I’m less selfish, less insecure, less needy, and less dramatic. As you grow older and grow into your own, you find out who you really want to be. You mature. You let go of so many negative emotions and stop thinking the whole world is out to get you. You start being a bit more humble and appreciative and aware of what’s going on around you (spoiler: other people are really invested in their own lives, too). You grow so much more confident in who you are and how you want to live your life. Which finally leads to…

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I give way fewer fucks. The things that used to make me curl into a ball and weep all night now make me shrug my shoulders. I’m way more confident, way more secure, and way more self-assured in my decisions. I also stand up for myself and for others a lot more, am not afraid to speak my mind, and spend far less time worrying about what other people think of me and focus instead on becoming the person I want to be. Sure, things still get to me, and I still have to panic-call my sister and/or my mum on a bi-weekly basis, but there’s no denying that things roll off my 33-year-old back a helluva lot easier than they did off my 23-year-old back.

***

Which leads me back to the other night, standing in my living room with an ex who just said something very strange, very insulting, and very cruel.

It’s just not for me.” His words repeated in my ear as he smugly looked me up and down. Not, “I’m sorry, I don’t think this is a good idea,” or “I’m seeing someone,” or “I really like that we’re just friends now,” or absolutely anything else to soften the blow of not wanting to make out with me.

23-year-old me would have freaked the fuck out. I would have been confused, and hurt, and probably called my mum crying, “What’s wrong with meeeeee?”, especially because he flirted with me, bought me drinks, and then conveniently found himself alone with me at 2am, only to shut me down in the harshest way possible. And let’s not even get started on what I would have done with the fact that he called me/my body “it”.

Instead, I started laughing. “All right, do you want another drink then?” I had had a good night, and although a birthday kiss wasn’t in the cards, I wasn’t going to let him ruin my vibe. I also knew that I did indeed look pretty good that night (that pushup bra is my new best friend). I didn’t need a guy’s approval to make me feel hot. And remember what I said about giving fewer fucks?

“No…,” he sulked. “I don’t feel like it anymore.”

“OK then,” I said to him. “Well then do you mind leaving? Because every second that you’re here is a second that I can’t be texting someone else to come over.

Oh yes. I really did say that. One more benefit of getting older? You get so much better at on-the-spot comebacks. The devil was full on applauding on my shoulders at that point, she was so proud of my inebriated ability to come up with a witty retort.

With that, he left, and while I’d like to say I really did text some hot dude to come over and give me that birthday kiss, the reality is I ate half a bag of cookies and fell asleep with my makeup on. Because hey, I never said that your 30s were all glitz and glamour.

At the end of the day, we’re all going to have different experiences when it comes to ageing. But I never did subscribe to that whole “these are the best years of your life” that people tend to say about high school or university. No way. The best years of your life are when you feel confident, accomplished, loved, and secure with who you are as a person. For me, those years have come with my 30s, and I hope that it will only continue to grow. With each year that passes, I learn more about the world, about the people I love, and about myself. I feel happier. I feel more and more like the person I’m meant to become.

And yeah, fuck it, I do feel banging.

How do you feel about ageing? Are you scared of getting older?

For more, check out 30 things I’ve learned in 30 years. 

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87 Responses to Trust Me, Your 30s Are So Much Better Than Your 20s

  1. Cate May 7, 2017 at 11:23 pm #

    First of all- I must agree with you on those pictures! They look absolutely amazing and so do you, girl! I swear I can see the glow 😉 I love reading your blog because of all the life lessons you learn, similar to the ones in this post. I love how you are confident with your body, and not obsessed with working out or counting calories. I am only in high school, and can relate with the stupid friendship problems and petty drama- I am so excited for those years coming up when I can embrace my whole self. Very glad you had a lovely birthday, and I hope you have an amazing year. Keep being an incredible and beautiful woman Brenna!

    • Brenna Holeman May 13, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

      Aw, thank you very much, Cate! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post and thank you for all of the nice compliments, you’re far too kind 🙂

  2. Danny May 7, 2017 at 11:55 pm #

    Happy belated birthday, Brenna!

    My birthday was also last week, and while I’m now officially three years shy of the big 3-0, a lot of what you’ve written resonates with me. High school and even the beginning of college were so not the best years of my life. Since 2012, though, I’ve been living in Germany and feel more confident, happy, and excited with every month that passes by.

    Oh, and that thing about realizing how much you don’t really know about the world? I feel like each time I visit someplace new, I’m humbled all over again!

  3. Jolene May 8, 2017 at 12:01 am #

    Only being 24, I feel a bit scared. But I think it’s more of other people’s projections for me. I have a degree in something I know will not get me a job. I’m not that great at school. I have no idea what I want to do with my career (still in the service industry, still learning and developING my strengths).
    I am now, having moved away from my hometown, surrounded by people who are just as confused and having fun with where we are right now! Feeling better about not having this great amazing (stationary) career yet. Not sure what I’m in for but this post reminded me that it’s really only just beginning and I’m terribly excited!

  4. Tempesst May 8, 2017 at 3:36 am #

    Happy birthday, Brenna! I agree that you are pretty banging 🙂 I’m 25 and am pretty content with where I am in life (I’m single and traveling the world is my main priority). The only time I ever feel any apprehension about getting older is when I see friends or acquaintances living more “adult” lives (marriage, engagements, living with significant others, getting promoted at work, babies, etc) and it makes me wonder why I don’t have the same desire for those things and that sort of life. These moments are fleeting but they do happen. This post, and the way you celebrate getting older, gives me a lot to look forward to!

  5. Ashley May 8, 2017 at 7:01 am #

    Happy birthday, Brenna! I absolutely loved this post. I’m 26 and I agree that every year I’m just a happier/more secure person from all the reasons you mentioned. It’s good to hear that things just keep getting better!

    Btw this is such an amazing comeback I actually laughed out loud, haha – “Well then do you mind leaving? Because every second that you’re here is a second that I can’t be texting someone else to come over.“

    • Brenna Holeman May 13, 2017 at 12:45 pm #

      Thank you so much, Ashley! Things definitely get better, I’m in a great place in my life right now. And yes, I am still in shock that my drunk brain was able to put that comeback together, ha ha!

  6. Monica May 8, 2017 at 7:28 am #

    “Every second that you’re here is a second I can’t be texting someone else to come over.” All I can say is damn, you are amazing, that comeback is amazing, and I can only hope that I will find that confidence in my 30s, or late 20s, you know the soon the better. Oh and that guy can go to hell for talking to you like that, but props on dealing with it way better than I would have.

    • Brenna Holeman May 13, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

      Ha ha, I am so shocked at my own drunk brain for coming up with that on the spot! Thanks for the comment, Monica, trust me, the confidence grows and grows as you age. 🙂

  7. KUHELI May 8, 2017 at 8:55 am #

    Love it love it love it. you rock! i hope your ‘banging’ ex read this post. what a loser. but yeah, we have all been there, haven’t we? 🙂

    • Brenna Holeman May 13, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

      Hah – he always made a point of being so uninvolved in every aspect of my life that I doubt he even knows my blog’s name. And yes, we’ve all been there… especially in our 30s! 😉 Thanks for your comment Kuheli x

  8. Veronica May 8, 2017 at 9:56 am #

    Awesome vibes girl! Glad you’re enjoying life and are proud as hell to say it! That’s putting power to truth!

    I’m a couple years shy of 30, but agree things have gotten better – understanding myself, being more self confident and believing in growing older and wiser!

    Now, as for friends – I wish I had more, do you have any advice for meeting new friends in a new city? Moved from San Diego, California to San Francisco and would love to hear your tips about settling in somewhere new!

    @xo_veronicaraye (twitter)

  9. Silvia May 8, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

    You better not be lying about getting better at on the spot comebacks, because that is SO something to look forward to. My friend and I are both turning 29 this month and we were just talking about how we sort of wish we were turning 30 instead, pretty much because of articles like this, haha. Happy birthday!!

    • Brenna Holeman May 13, 2017 at 12:41 pm #

      Ha ha I’ve certainly gotten better at the comebacks, sometimes I even surprise myself! 😉 Thanks a lot Silvia!

  10. Katie May 8, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

    Haha, you ARE banging. And I’ll go ahead and say it — total dick move on your Ex’s part to lead you on all night and then say something so cruel. Nicely handled. While it seems you’ve come a long way since your 20’s, he must be taking things quite a bit slower. If nothing else, you have the official confirmation that you’re ready for an actual man — someone who respects a confidant woman — rather than a boy who feels the need to use women to build his own self-esteem before attempting to slam them down. Pretty pathetic. Moving on!

    • Brenna Holeman May 13, 2017 at 12:42 pm #

      Ha ha, thanks Katie. Yeah, TOTAL dick move! I don’t know what the fuck he was thinking. Drunk me forgot he’s actually quite a jerk… otherwise I wouldn’t have even invited him up in the first place. Oh well. I still had a great night!! Thanks again 😀

  11. Brittany May 8, 2017 at 1:50 pm #

    Another amazing post! It’s beautiful to see how comfortable you are with yourself. I agree with another commenter – you are absolutely glowing.

    • Brenna Holeman May 13, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

      Aw, thank you so much, Brittany!

  12. Kelley Reinhardt May 8, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

    Happy birthday, Brenna! I loved this post. I’m one of your older fan readers. Nice to know your career has blossomed over the years. I agree I’m much happier for all the reasons you mentioned. Oh, and about the topic on realizing how much you don’t know about the world? I agree with Danny, I feel like each time I visit someplace new, I’m humbled all over again which is why I struggle with those who talk about the world as if they know every topic about everything but they have not been anywhere. Well, keep up the great writing and thanks for the great article.

    • Brenna Holeman May 15, 2017 at 6:41 pm #

      Thank you so much, Kelley! I’m so glad that you liked the article. 🙂

  13. Kristen Sarah May 8, 2017 at 2:43 pm #

    This is so perfect. Thank you for writing and sharing!

    • Brenna Holeman May 13, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

      Thank you so much, Kristen! x

  14. Tausha May 8, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

    Love this! I’m not too far behind you in age and agree that many things are better in your 30s. Happy birthday!

    • Brenna Holeman May 13, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

      Thank you so much 😀

  15. Leah May 8, 2017 at 3:54 pm #

    Ah Brenna, this post is amazing!!! Once again I am reading with a big smile on my face! While I am not 30 yet, I will be turning 28 soon. I definitely agree that as I age I feel a lot more confident. Just a few weeks ago, after wanting to get my hair cut shorter for aaaages but being too scared to take the plunge, I suddenly felt confident enough to walk into the hairdressers, say fuck it, and get my hair chopped into a bob. I’m not sure I would have had the confidence to do that in my early 20’s.

    I think you absolutely radiate confidence, and I have to say, that ex of yours could probably see that. Perfect example of a cowardly man who gets his kicks out of trying to make a woman feel small!

    On another note, your photos from Antigua look beautiful! I can definitely see a difference in the photo quality! Oh and also, what are your winged eyeliner tips?! It always looks so on point!

    • Brenna Holeman May 15, 2017 at 6:43 pm #

      Thank you so much, Leah! I’m so glad that you liked the article and could relate. And thank you for all of the nice words, you’re far too kind!!

      As for the eyeliner, I find that using an eyeshadow base first helps keep it in the same place all day. Then, oddly, I put on my eyeshadow and mascara first… THEN do the liquid liner. It means that you can have a bit more wiggle room as the mascara is already there to guide you, if that makes sense (just wait for the mascara to dry for a minute or two first). Then another coat of mascara and I’m done!

  16. Stanley May 8, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

    Hi. I enjoyed your post.

    • Brenna Holeman May 13, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

      Thanks!

  17. Marie @ To Europe And Beyond May 8, 2017 at 4:25 pm #

    I love this post and you so much! Here’s to giving way fewer fucks in our 30s and every single positive thing this leads to (including more confidence, more money, better relationships, and perhaps most importantly, better sex). Please never change xx

    • Brenna Holeman May 13, 2017 at 12:35 pm #

      Thank you so much, Marie!! Hope to see you again soon xx

  18. jo ann Lawery May 8, 2017 at 5:25 pm #

    As I mentioned in an earlier email , I cried when I turned the Big 30 , now looking back 34 years later after the crying thingy at age 30, I quickly got over it at age 31 and enjoyed life. I’m enjoying it even more now! Make every day count. Wait until, God willing , you get to the big 40! It’s going to be EVEN BETTER !

    • Brenna Holeman May 13, 2017 at 12:35 pm #

      Ha ha, that sounds like a lot of fun! 😀 Thanks for your positivity and great attitude, Jo Ann!

  19. Emma May 8, 2017 at 6:51 pm #

    What an arse! There’s a reason he’s an ex! Good for you! I’m 41 now, and while somethings do get harder and scarier some stuff gets much easier. Besides, worrying achieves nothing. You may as well live your life how you want to.

    • Brenna Holeman May 13, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

      Ha ha, there’s a reason indeed… although drunk me seemingly forgot! 😉 I totally agree, worrying achieves nothing. I’m still trying to learn that! Thanks, Emma.

  20. Andria May 8, 2017 at 8:28 pm #

    #nailedit Oh wait, is that an uncool thing to say? Don’t care! The only things I like less about my 30s are the hangovers and the fact that I can’t shift this extra ten pounds. Other than that, hell yeah. I’m done with staying in hostels and agonizing about money, and my friends no longer try to keep me up until 2am at some awful loud club.

    • Brenna Holeman May 13, 2017 at 12:37 pm #

      Ha ha yes, the hangovers are indeed far worse, I’ll give you that. 😀 Glad you liked the post, Andria!

  21. Archer May 8, 2017 at 9:25 pm #

    Great article!! This is spot on. I was so apprehensive about closing the chapter of my 20’s. Now at 31 I feel way more confident with all aspects of myself and the life I lead. I’ve got two kids, and even with the many travels and adventures in my 20’s, I’m happy with this kid-filled chapter of my life. The adventures now just include more toys and snacks – we’re off on a 5 week multi-country trip next week.

    • Brenna Holeman May 13, 2017 at 12:37 pm #

      Wow, that sounds like an amazing trip!! So glad that you are enjoying your 30s as much as I am. Thanks a lot for the comment, Archer!

  22. Anne May 8, 2017 at 9:33 pm #

    So well put as usual Brenna. You’re spot on with the whole knowing your own mind, choosing better friends, being more confident in yourself thing. I’ve noticed that the older I’ve got the more bolshy I’ve become. But as this is only usually aimed at people who are taking the p***, I’m seeing it as a 100% positive improvement. I almost cringe when I think of some of stuff I put up when I was younger because I didn’t have the confidence or wanted to seem ‘cool’.

    • Brenna Holeman May 15, 2017 at 6:39 pm #

      Thank you so much, Anne! I’m so glad that you liked the post. 🙂

  23. veena May 8, 2017 at 9:49 pm #

    Happy belated birthday to you, Brenna! That birthday kiss aside, it sounds like you had a great celebration befitting your awesomeness. I absolutely agree, my 30s have definitely been better than my 20s, and I have learned so much more about myself — what I’m good at, what I want, and how to express myself to others. As always, this post speaks to me on so many levels, and I always appreciate your honesty and your thoughtfulness. Thanks so much for sharing, and here’s to another amazing year! xxx

    • Brenna Holeman May 15, 2017 at 6:38 pm #

      Thank you so much, Veena! It was indeed a great birthday, even with the dumb guy’s comment. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post! x

  24. Sooshmita May 8, 2017 at 10:18 pm #

    hi, Brenna, I saw some of your pics in your twenties and you look beautiful in both 20s and 30s, I could not stop laughing when you told your ex to leave, its so true although we all tend to have regrets in life, wit age we grow from our failures and success and it definitely makes you feel more confident, it would be great if you can share some of your fashion tips as you have a great taste. I look forward to reading your book 🙂

  25. Jenn May 8, 2017 at 10:20 pm #

    this was simply wonderful.

    • Brenna Holeman May 13, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

      Thank you, Jenn!

  26. Erin May 8, 2017 at 11:08 pm #

    I’m turning 31 this year so maybe it’s still a bit soon but I have to admit I am still waiting for his magical feeling of being 30 something ! Oh and amazing comeback to that guys remark! Good for you girl!

    • Brenna Holeman May 13, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

      I hope that magical feeling comes soon! I’m sure it will 😀 Thanks for the comment, Erin!

  27. Megan Chingari May 8, 2017 at 11:24 pm #

    I have never commented before but I love your site and your blog posts- and I totally agree with this post! I just turned 31- things just keep getting better and better for me!!

    • Brenna Holeman May 13, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

      Thank you so much, Megan! I’m so glad that you like the blog 😀

  28. Francesca May 9, 2017 at 2:38 am #

    I kinda just want my comment to be a thousand clapping emojis. I turn 30 next year and agree with every one of these things. Especially the CDs! One time I found out what my crush’s favourite bands were and then put them on itunes repeat – on mute – so they’d be in my top songs when he came over.

    Flash forward to meeting my husband: he told me he loved Metallica, I told him I didn;t. But that I did love singing show tunes in the car. We still fell in love.

    • Brenna Holeman May 15, 2017 at 6:38 pm #

      Ha ha, I like that. 🙂 And OMG that totally sounds like something I would have done, ha ha ha… that made me laugh out loud. So happy that you liked the post, Francesca!

  29. Marie Landry May 9, 2017 at 4:58 am #

    I love, love, love this post, Brenna. And I love your writing style. I’ve followed you on Instagram and Facebook for quite awhile and am almost embarrassed to admit this is the first blog post of yours I’ve read. I promise it won’t be my last!

    I’m 33 also and I have to agree with you about so much of this. I definitely give fewer fucks and find myself feeling proud of the things I handle with ease now that would have sent me into a tizzy even a year ago. I’m still working on the confidence thing (doesn’t help being shy, anxious, and super awkward, haha), but one thing I feel I’ve definitely mastered goes with the giving fewer fucks, and also with one of the things you said – I like what I like and I don’t care what other people think. I’m a nerd, I geek out over things and have fangirl moments and daydream a lot, and if people don’t like it, BYE. This is me and I’m not embarrassed by it and don’t try to hide it like I once did.

    • Brenna Holeman May 15, 2017 at 6:40 pm #

      Thank you so much, Marie! And no worries – I’m just glad that you read something at all. 😀 And I’m really glad that you could relate to it!

  30. Sophie May 9, 2017 at 3:58 pm #

    Oh goddddd I loved reading this post so much. I recently turned 28, and I definitely feel a shift in the way the world sees me as I go into my late twenties. Actually the way I feel is no different, instead its society and other people that make a point of my age. And for goodness sake, whether your 28 or 33, as long as you’re happy does it matter? You’re a totally gorgeous and inspirational woman Brenna, I not only follow your blog for travel writing but also for your outlook on life and womanhood. Well played.

    • Brenna Holeman May 15, 2017 at 6:36 pm #

      Aw, thank you so much, Sophie! What an amazing comment to receive. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post! 😀

  31. Victoria @The British Berliner May 9, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    Absolutely love this post. In fact, is it alright if I tell you that I smiled and hollered with laughter in some bits. Because you’ve got it!

    You’re a strong smart woman so why shouldn’t you say it like it is.

    My 30’s was the best time ever, for exactly what you said. I knew exactly what I wanted, I was at the top of my game, and had it all academically and financially. And meeting a lovely German artistic fellow, getting married, and having exactly the one child that I wanted, was just the icing on the cake! Oh, and I looked 10 years younger!

    And I still do!

    Am I scared of getting older? Not at all!

    • Brenna Holeman May 15, 2017 at 6:37 pm #

      That sounds like an amazing life, Victoria! So happy that you’re so happy 😀

  32. Katie May 9, 2017 at 6:07 pm #

    Yes! I wholeheartedly agree. I had an epiphany of sorts when I was 26 and my life literally changed – I discovered my love for hiking and finally felt connected to the world around me. I am 34 now and my life has been so much richer and fuller – it just gets better and better. I know what I want, what makes me happy, I accept the things I can’t change and appreciate the little things in life. In my early twenties and teens I was lost and unhappy – I never could have dreamed that my life would turn out like it has. Unlike you, I make a lot less money than I did in the past but I have the freedom I craved and am quite happy to live on little. Happy Birthday Brenna and enjoy being 33 🙂

    • Brenna Holeman May 15, 2017 at 6:40 pm #

      That is so awesome, Katie… I’m so glad that you are enjoying life to the fullest! Thank you so much for your comment 😀

  33. Hilary May 9, 2017 at 6:18 pm #

    Happy belated birthday!!!

    I love reading posts like this! Growing up, my parents always talked about how college was hands down the best years of their lives and they’d give anything to go back, so when I graduated three years ago I was so worried that I’d hit the peak and life would only get worse. But while I’d totally go back to living within five minutes of all my friends and having less responsibilities, I’m way happier as a person now. I’ve grown into myself A LOT since then, taking more risks and living a life that feels truer to who I want to be, so if my 30s end up being even better they’ll be amazing!

    • Brenna Holeman May 15, 2017 at 6:34 pm #

      Thank you so much, Hilary! I’m so glad that you are enjoying life right now… and yes, of course I look back and see the benefits of certain times of my life, but I wouldn’t trade where I am right now for anything 🙂

  34. Amanda May 9, 2017 at 6:55 pm #

    You know what I’ve discovered now that I’m officially in my 30s? No adult ever really knows what the hell they’re doing.

    You grow up looking up to your parents, feeling like they know so much and really have their shit together. And then you hit your 20s, are in debt, can’t find a job, and wonder how you became such a failure.

    But as I’ve navigated life and business over the past 5 years or so, I’ve realized that everything we assume about adulthood when we’re younger is complete bullshit. NO ONE really knows what they’re doing. And, realistically, us millennials are never going to follow the path our parents took because everything is so different now. And that’s okay!

    I’m so much happier and confident now that I’ve discovered this secret. 😉

    • Brenna Holeman May 15, 2017 at 6:35 pm #

      That is so true! And it’s so refreshing to finally figure that out – that ALL of us struggle sometimes, and that there are obstacles and challenges at every age. Thank you for this insight, Amanda!

  35. Emily May 10, 2017 at 5:53 am #

    Oh my gosh, if I could write as well as you I would have written this post! I am also 33 and life has most certainly gotten better. Just the confidence and experience that your 30’s (graciously) bring you is enough to outweigh your 20’s. Recently, I accepted a position that I have worked for for years. It wasn’t what I expected or hoped for in many ways but I did find myself standing up for myself and confronting difficult situations head on. Something I would never do just a few years ago! It’s a great feeling knowing that you’ve earned some respect in your career and having the confidence to make changes (in case you’re wondering, I became a #girlboss for the first time! scary!)
    I can so relate to your paragraph on feeling better looking and also feeling like a better person. It’s not a conceited thing at all. I have sort of become comfortable with myself and realized who I am.
    Thank you for writing this! and p.s. loved your comeback!

    • Brenna Holeman May 15, 2017 at 6:41 pm #

      Aw, thank you so much, Emily! I’m so glad that you liked the article and that you could relate. 😀

  36. Lara May 10, 2017 at 6:07 pm #

    I loved this post and i must agree with all the points. For my 32nd two weeks back, i travelled solo to the north of Nigeria. I wouldn’t have done that in my 20s, the courage came out of no where and i am glad i took the decision.

    I am equally not afraid to age, I never even bother about the number.

    • Brenna Holeman May 13, 2017 at 12:40 pm #

      Thank you very much, Lara! And wow, what an amazing adventure that must have been. I’d love to go to Nigeria one day!

  37. Marlee May 10, 2017 at 10:27 pm #

    First and foremost, happy belated birthday! Secondly, I too am a big thirties-lover. I never got the dreaded feeling of reproach as I exited my 20’s as each year just kept getting better and better starting in my late 20’s. I can connect with almost everything you’ve mentioned here, except for the career part; that’s starting to change, but I’m finding that I have much more clarity now about what avenue I want to follow through with in my work life. All thanks to getting older and simply having more life experiences and growing from each and every one of them. Another timely and well-written post; here’s to the year ahead! – Cheers!

    • Brenna Holeman May 15, 2017 at 6:33 pm #

      Thank you so much, Marlee! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post and could relate to it. 🙂

  38. Paige May 11, 2017 at 1:04 am #

    I’m so happy for you Brenna! : ) I’m far from being at this level of confidence at 25, but I’ve found that I’m improving with age, I think? (Also, I hated high school and while I look back on college super fondly, I’m so much happier now than I was then.) I feel like I do fear some parts of aging but it’s mostly this like weird ingrained society pressure to hit certain milestones at certain ages. Even though I don’t agree with like any of those mindsets I still get weird anxiety about it all. I’m hoping that will start to go away.

    (Also, that guy sounds like a bit of a sociopath? Yikes, what a jerk. But amazing comeback!!)

    • Brenna Holeman May 15, 2017 at 6:32 pm #

      Thank you so much for your insight, Paige! At 25 I think I felt the same way as you, but trust me, things definitely relax as you get a bit older. It’s amazing what only one or two years can do for the soul. 🙂

  39. Crysta Cowart May 11, 2017 at 8:11 pm #

    I just read this and I couldn’t relate more. Can we be friends when I’m in Europe next year?? Ugh I love it!!! You’re the best and real.

    • Brenna Holeman May 13, 2017 at 12:40 pm #

      Ha ha, thank you very much, Crysta!

  40. Zalie Holeman May 15, 2017 at 4:15 pm #

    I LOVE this post! It is indeed a great feeling to realize that getting older comes with some pretty great perks! And you are fucking banging sister ( so fucking sick that he said that btw)!!! xoxo

    • Brenna Holeman May 15, 2017 at 6:31 pm #

      It is so fucking sick. He’s the opposite of banging, ha ha. I’m so glad you liked the post, sister! xo

  41. Reshma May 18, 2017 at 11:32 am #

    Wow! I couldn’t have read your post on any better day. I just turned thirty last week, and I have been feeling low about so many things right now, despite being able to travel for three years and blog for two. Thank you, Brenna for your post, it made my day! I’m so happy that you told those words to the guy and didn’t let it hurt you! Kudos, keep rocking! 🙂

  42. Nina Lee: Nina's Sweet Adventures May 18, 2017 at 1:22 pm #

    Hahahahaha. This was just awesome. I applaud you. I turn 30 this year and people around me are freaking out about it, but I 100% agree. I feel so much better about myself and life and have such a clearer outlook than I have ever had before. I am looking forward to learning and growing even more and enjoying the fuck out of everyday.

  43. Mo May 22, 2017 at 5:40 am #

    Fucking brilliant post Brenna!!! I still have 6 whole months of my twenties, but I completely agree with you. I’m still not entirely sure what I’m doing with my life, nor do I have my dream career yet, but I am so much more confidant and comfortable with myself and who I am now that it’s a challenge I’m enjoying instead of freaking out about. The future is looking bright, especially with strong, kickass gals like you to keep inspiring me!

  44. Kristen Sarah May 24, 2017 at 11:14 am #

    I think I might have already commented but I’m commenting again because I read it again and I still love it SO MUCH. Thank you. Thank you thank you. You’re a wonderful writer.

  45. Lily June 8, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

    I stumbled on this blog as I was looking for packing tips to Bhutan and then read this.
    I’m turning 33 next week, living in London, married to my travelling partner in crime, and couldn’t agree more to most of what you pointed above. I can even climb a rope since last year (try Flying Fantastic in Union Street – I guarantee it’s 100% fun)

    Bring on the push bras and career minded girl-power.
    Let no one calling you “it”, you look amazing.

    • Brenna Holeman June 12, 2017 at 10:45 am #

      Thank you so much, Lily! And Happy Birthday 🙂

  46. Genna July 2, 2017 at 8:46 pm #

    Oh my gosh. This post literally had me laughing out loud. Your level of sass is inspiring. Whenever I have conversations about age, I always say I’m planning to peak at 65. I’m currently in my mid-twenties. It confuses a lot of people, but now I can just send them this post to explain what I mean.

  47. Jess Harling August 7, 2017 at 4:13 pm #

    Thoroughly enjoyed this post Brenna! It also made me feel better about myself as I do worry about the future and the fact that I have never really had a proper career or known what I want to do in life! So it was good to hear that you went through a similar thing in your 20’s. I am 25 now and I’m starting to give less fucks about things. I don’t give 0 fucks yet….but the fucks are slowly depleting… and it feels good.

    I think I may have wished you happy birthday on social media at the time but I have forgotten now- so happy belated birthday!

    Also, great comeback with that guy! If I could have burst in the room and applauded you – I would have ! haha

    • Brenna Holeman August 7, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

      Ha ha – thank you so much, Jess! I definitely didn’t know what I wanted to do at 25… but I think it’s great to NOT know sometimes, as it leads us to try out a bunch of different things.

  48. Yvette August 7, 2017 at 6:59 pm #

    I absolutely love this! Your sharing of stories is so relatable.

    • Brenna Holeman August 7, 2017 at 7:32 pm #

      Thank you so much!

  49. Candice Walsh August 9, 2017 at 3:31 pm #

    PREACH SISTAH. My GAWWWWWWD my 30s are like 109029302032 times better than my 20s. And my 20s were pretty rad. I think overall I’m just more COMFORTABLE with me and my life. It’s an odd thing. It’s a lovely thing.

    And you do look bangin’. Whatever the fuck that means.

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