Why I prefer my 30s? I’m much wiser and careless about what other people think of me.
My 20’s ended about five years ago and I’m finally ready to talk about it and go through a little reflection. Maybe because I lived through half of my 30’s already, I feel like an old wise aunt, ready to shower with advice.
A lot of things change and thank God it did. I can’t imagine myself living in the same neighborhood, sleeping in my teenage twin bed while waiting for my mom to cook me food at 35. There is a lot of people in my country who still live like that. Latinxs have a hard time moving on with life and most of us live with our parents until we get married. In some cases, the spouse moves and they all live like a big family of 16 members in the household.
In 2005, when my 20’s started, it was like coming out of the shell. I was in my first year of college and started working in a Hostel. I had just started to speak English, barely, as there were not many people to practice the language with. I started talking and practicing a lot. During that time I sound like Borat and guests thought I was cute for trying. To talk not to sound like Borat, that came out a year later.
I still felt ugly, but working with people from different nationalities every day, gave me some confidence that I was not that bad, I was in the wrong place. Rio de Janeiro is a place notorious for beautiful people, as they have to show off at the beach and nightlife constantly. So, if you don’t follow the pamphlet of what to wear, how your hair is supposed to look like, or what God forbid you to wear glasses, they either discard you or make fun of you endlessly. Mine was the second option.
Once I started gaining some confidence, life started to get easier. There are some specifics aspects I would like to write about what I prefer in my 30’s instead of my 20’s
I was too nice. Every time my boss asked me for something, I was ready to do it. I had a hard time saying no and ended up overworked most of the time. I was always at work, and when you work in Hotels, you can say good-bye to social life. You either get there really early, or you leave the workplace late. Exhausted. A big part of my 20’s was wasted because I was too nice to set boundaries. My friends with a Monday to Friday job were always up and running to enjoy the weekend. All I wanted to do during weekends was cry.
In my 30’s, especially because I was already in the United States and married to a badass American, I learned to say no. For some reason, he taught me way more than English, he taught me to stand up. I learned that I was not going to get fired if I didn’t want to go to work on my day off because someone else got hangover sick. I also learned to have a voice. If I don’t want to do it, I won’t do it. If it’s a table of Brazilians trying to harass me, because I was waiting for tables in someone else’s country, I would just ask my coworker to get that table instead.
You accept the love you think you deserve. With that being said, my 20’s were a mess. Right before I turn 20, I broke up with my first boyfriend, we were together for about 2 years. It was not a good breakup because I had never broken up with anyone before, so I just ghosted him. I was the pioneer of ghosting. During that decade I fell for guys in all forms and shapes and they all had the same thing in common, they liked me until they got what they wanted and then they didn’t like me anymore.
Always too nice, understandable, caring. All I heard was crickets. When there were no crickets, there were lies. Enough of gaslighting, I decided to stay true to myself. When I understood I didn’t need to find my other half, I was already a whole, what I needed was someone to tag along and be a partner. Instead of completing what I thought was missing, I found Josh. Being so true to what I’m, and not caring about what other people think of me, set me free.
The other day I was watching Gilmore Girls, on Netflix. It just made me think of how much things change since I first watch that episode I was on. When the episode aired, in 2004, I agreed with Rory, and the last time I rewatched a couple of days ago, I was totally on Lorelai side’s. In the episode, Rory lost her virginity to Dean, and like that poor mistress, she believed when Dean said his marriage was over. When Lorelai finds out about it. She freaks out, because, oh well, he is married. When you are in your 20’s you see life with goggle eyes when it comes to love. You tend to not listen to your family. At all.
When you are in your 30’s you tend to stand by the correctness side. The adventurous time almost slips through your fingers.
In my 30’s I learned to appreciate the family time, I called my mom more than I ever did, and sometimes she doesn’t answer, I get mad. Who I’m gonna talk to about the recipe I just saw on the TV? Or comment on something silly so she can judge me, while I now, laugh?
In your 20’s, you are more insecure about relationships and you tend to believe everyone wants to do you good. Henceforth, romantic relationships. Friends have a great way to either drag you up or drag you down. Not until recently, I learned in a podcast, that you become more and more like the people you surrounded yourself with. So in your 20’s, if all your friends are doing is drinking, partying, and being messy, that will probably spill on you. Don’t mind me, it’s fun as hell, but I was always too lazy and overworked to enjoy life at its fullest. So I had to find friends who were more like me. Friends that rather go for a walk than be awake until 5 am every weekend. I couldn’t afford that lifestyle anyway either.
In your 30’s, you learn how to set boundaries. In my case, I learned that my own company is enough. I’m not a lonely sad person, but I learned with my mom, as long as you think of yourself as a good company, you are good to go. Also, I became very selective. If you want to be my friend, awesome, if you don’t, just move along. I’m not going to try to convince you I’m cool, I’m too old for that.
When I was 20, my dream was to be a Lonely Planet guide writer. Or a National Geographic photographer. I love traveling and sharing my ideas of places with people sounded like a tangible dream. On my first experience abroad in 2006/2007 to North Carolina, I started a blog called “Where the hell is Joana?”. The title was indeed a bit aggressive, but I was thinking about Where is Waldo when I created it.
For the longest time, I wanted to be a travel writer, and in 2009 I found out about Anthony Bourdain. And I was like “Wait, can you cook, travel, and write about it? Sign me in!” When I got back from to Brazil from Australia, I got a scholarship for Culinary school. I never enjoyed any class that much in my life. I got a bunch of kitchen gadgets, books, learning about different techniques. Until the first year of scholarship was over and I ran out of money. And time for it.
Even though I’m in my 30’s my dreams are constantly changing and adapting. I finally managed to go back to school and graduate in Creative Writing, something I should have done in my early 20’s. Another point to be made is, it’s never too late to keep dreaming and improving. As soon as I’m released into the out, I will take writing for TV workshops, baking workshops, and all the fun things that make the wheel go round.
If you are alive and breathing, It’s not too late to have plans and dream about it.
This is the only part I would say I prefer would’ve stayed my 20’s. My health is fine, and thank God I never got Corona. Even though, if I had anything I was probably asymptomatic. Josh probably had it last December, when he was coughing like crazy, couldn’t sleep laying down, out of breath, had a fever and was exhausted. By that time, the virus didn’t have a name, but I’m sure a lot of people had it. At least two of my other friends had the same symptoms.
I miss eating like a construction worker and just be fine with whatever. After turning 30, I started to realize I have to watch what I eat carefully. I can’t eat fried chicken very often, the oil makes me gag and the cheese platter I always dreamed to order in a restaurant, makes me bloated, like a Dollar Tree Baloon. Cheap Liquor wakes me up in the middle of the night, scratching my stomach, to remind me I’m not as young as I used to be. Cheap wine keeps banging my brain the next day like I’m at a rock concert.
As the time passed, I started paying more attention to what I eat and how I eat it. Especially after the Corona Crisis, I started paying more attention to what kind of nutrients I put in my body.
To wrap it up
To finish my thoughts on why I prefer my 30’s over my 20’s, I wanted to say that everything falls into place. Sometimes we rush to get things done and end up on the wrong path. I did it multiple times, and I will probably do it again, but this time I’m older.
There is no timeline for dreaming and accomplishing! Please let me know in the comments how do you feel about your age group!
Stay well and Stay healthy!