Being 31 rocks. Not long ago, I heard someone complain about turning 25 years old. It was something about being old, having responsibilities and caring about things like a 401(k).
Being 31 rocks.
Not long ago, I heard someone complain about turning 25 years old. It was something about being old, having responsibilities and caring about things like a 401(k).
I’m not sure I fully enjoyed 25 either. I’ve spent my whole life wanting to get to the next thing:
When I started high school, I just wanted to be old enough to drive.
When I turned 16, I just wanted to be in college.
When I was in college, I just wanted to be 21. (Yeah, OK. All college kids want that.)
When I was 21, I just wanted to get my first job and be out on my own.
When I landed that first job, I just wanted more experience so I could stop doing the grunt work and start making more cash.
When I finally got that good job with that decent salary, I just wanted to get married and buy a house.
And now, at the tender age of 31, I’ve done it all and have learned to enjoy living in the moment.
Sure, being 31 has its disadvantages. It means always having some cash on hand in case the refrigerator goes bust. It means you go to more children’s birthday parties than bachelorette bashes. It means you have to check the cholesterol and sodium levels in your foods, and add a vegetable to your nightly meal. It means you might even look at the business page every now and again to see what the NASDAQ is up to.
But responsibilities aside, the freedom of being in your 30s is unmatched. Being in your 30s means:
* You can walk around with your jeans rolled up. A few weeks ago, I bought a pair of $70 jeans that were on clearance for $6.97. A total steal. And bonus: They fit like a charm, with the exception of being about 3 inches too long.
Back in my 20s, I would have rushed those jeans off to the tailor, never mind the fact that I would have spent twice the purchase price on alterations. But now, I just rolled those puppies up and went on my way.
My husband commented on my cuffed jeans, surprised that I didn’t mind the extra roll.
“I figure it gives them extra style,” I said, shrugging it off.
See? The beauty of being 31: If I say cuffed jeans are in style, they are.
* A speeding ticket doesn’t translate into a month of Ramen noodles for dinner. One of the joys of being in your 30s can be summed up in two words: Disposable income.
When you’re in your 30s, you can often afford to splurge on a fancy dinner one night, or go out to lunch every day for a week. An unexpected bill doesn’t rip a hole in your budget like it might have in your 20s.
And heck, if you’re so inclined, you can even dump $70 on a pair of jeans. (Unless, of course, you can find them on the clearance rack for less. Then you can buy a pair of shoes to go with them.)
* It’s OK to not make plans for a Saturday night. Remember when only losers didn’t have plans for the weekend? I would book my weekends well in advance to make sure I wasn’t left high and dry when the prime party time began.
Now, renting a movie and making popcorn is considered a busy Saturday evening. It’s not at all unusual to hear this conversation at our house:
Him: What do you want to do Saturday night?
Her: Um, the baby should get a bath.
Him: Well, that happens at like 7:30. What do you want to do after that?
Her: Um, go to sleep?
* You get better service in restaurants. Maybe 30-somethings just look like better tippers. Maybe we order more food, because we’re no longer kidding ourselves or anyone else by just nibbling on salads.
And we’re simply giddy when we get carded. Because after 30, getting carded for alcohol is a pleasant treat, not an everyday annoyance.
* You’re no longer a slave to trends. Midcalf leggings? Off-the-shoulder shirts? Floppy bows in your hair?
Sorry, I’ve already worn those styles, back in junior high. There’s no need to do it again.
Besides, I’ve got jeans to roll up.
Elizabeth Davies’ column runs Thursdays in People of the Rock River Valley.