I turned 33 today and, while I still have plenty to figure out in this life, there are a few things I’ve already decided aren’t coming with me into my 34th year.
Incremental saving that makes me exponentially less happy
Somewhere along the way I got the idea that consistently skipping out on small, frivolous purchases — like $4 coffees or the occasional pedicure — would have made me independently wealthy by now.
Guess what? I’m not.
The tired financial advice that you’ll “have” $1,460 by the end of the year if you’d just skip out on that daily $4 latte doesn’t quite pan out like that unless you actually put that money you didn’t spend somewhere you won’t touch it for something else.
Passively not spending is not the same as actively saving, especially if you end up binge spending on a big purchase after depriving yourself of all those little $4 purchases for so long.
I look at it like dieting. All deprivation all the time isn’t sustainable. Focus on longterm consistency (like automated monthly transfers into your savings account) that allows flexibility for occasional treats (like a $4 latte).
I’m not on this planet to make myself feel guilty about a purchase so small, it’ll never have a measurable impact in the grand scheme of my financial health. Buy the damn coffee.
Pretending I don’t want to look younger in the name of “self love”
Listen. Self love is great. I absolutely hope you love yourself. But locking in on a sometimes limiting definition that equates the “self” with the physical body is problematic.
I am not this body I’m in, but I love it and appreciate it and will do with it whatever I please. Detaching my self worth from that entity makes it easy for me to love it exactly as is or as I see fit to change it.
A self love that triggers guilt for seeking change that makes you happy doesn’t feel very loving to me.
I can absolutely love myself and stay on the hunt for the next best anti-wrinkle cream. And I will. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. (PS – We early 30-somethings are all on a rosehip oil kick right now. Join the club.)
Like for many people, my 30s have been all about settling down — leaning in to one career, getting married and buying a house.
All of these things bring with them stability that allows me to relax into a comfortable routine (which is good) at the risk of slipping down into a nice deep rut (which is bad).
I’ve learned that I tend to be at my absolute worst — creatively, professionally and emotionally — when things are easy, predictable and comfortable.
So I find myself craving risk and spontaneity and excitement, and I can still have it — but I have to actively seek it out. I have to say yes to things that make me uncomfortable and say hi to people I don’t know and try activities that scare me and buy plane tickets I probably shouldn’t.
The up side is those things are more possible than ever thanks to the comfortable foundation I’ve built. I just have to remember to keep chasing them.
That sounds like a pretty good 33rd year to me.