"I feel like I spent my 20s being like, 'I have to find a husband.' Now that I'm not all about that husband-hunting life, dating is so much more fun."
As someone who recently entered her twentysomething years, I can honestly say that on multiple occasions I’ve turned to my friends and asked, “Will things be better when we’re 30?”
Don’t get me wrong. I love my 20s, and I have a feeling *fingers crossed* they will only get better. But I also wonder, are things really easier in your 30s? Are your 20s actually the best years of your life? Do things get calmer or more confusing as you get older?
On the Cosmo Happy Hour podcast, Cosmo US social media editor Elisa Benson discussed all of these questions along with the site director of Cosmo US, Amy Odell, associate US editor Tess Koman, and assistant editor of US Snapchat Discover Carina Hsieh. Amy and Elisa are both in their 30s, while Tess and Carina are in their 20s. The group talked about dating, drinking, and all the ways life changes from your 20s to your 30s:
In your 20s: Commitment in a relationship isn’t always priority no. 1 for twentysomethings, perhaps as a result of hookup culture. Carina, who recently turned 23, admitted that while a lot of the guys she dates are “garbage twentysomethings,” she feels like she falls in the same boat, often exhibiting the same behaviors herself that she dislikes in guys. “I am [a garbage twentysomething] too, in the sense where it’s like, ‘Oh I like this guy, but do I like him enough to not go on a date with this other guy? I guess not.'”
In your 30s: Commitment can start to matter more as you get older. Amy met her husband when she was 23, and now that she’s 31 and married, she says commitment has made her life a lot easier. “We can go to the airport and not have fights…” she says. “There’s an ease to our relationship, and with that, an ease to my life.”
In your 20s: “I feel like with all of my friends, it’s like, you’ll go out a few times, you’ll hook up,” Carina says. “If it’s great, you’ll hook up a few times for the next few months, and then it sort of blisters out. But I feel like nobody in my direct circle is looking for anything serious.”
In your 30s: For Elisa, being in her 20s meant looking for The One: “I feel like I really spent my own 20s being like, I have to find a husband, that was so much what dating was about,” she said. But now that she’s in her 30s, her perspective has totally changed. “Now that I’ve decided I’m not all about that husband-hunting life, (dating) is so much more fun.”
In your 20s: “I definitely engage in that behavior where you get home from work, you wait five hours and then you go out again,” Carina says. “I’m not a crazy partier. I just think I’m a late partier.” Proving not all twentysomethings are the same, Tess, on the other hand, says she feels like she’s found a happy medium where she doesn’t go out super late. “I will go out wearing exactly what I wore to work, and I will still have a good time and stay out semi-late. Like I’m never out ’til 1 a.m. — that sounds exhausting.”
In your 30s: Elisa remembers the lifestyle Carina explains, but feels like her drinking habits have changed in her 30s. “You know that idea when you’re younger and you’re drinking to get drunk? I’m doing so much less of that now, but I’m more inclined on a random Tuesday to have a glass of wine,” she says.
COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS
In your 20s: Carina says she still feels like she compares herself to her school and university classmates when it comes to career and success. “I feel like in university, I was always ahead of a lot of my classmates in terms of having my shit together career-wise,” Carina says. “I was never struggling to find an internship or anything. [Now] it’s like, f^c&, (my classmates are) catching up to me, what I’ve done is no longer impressive. I don’t have that confidence that I’m somewhat ahead of my peers.”
In your 30s: Elisa agrees that in school and university, there are defined tracks that make it easier to compare yourself to your classmates. “There’s built-in hierarchies of being the senior, being the leader, or president of whatever,” Elisa says. But as she’s entered her 30s, she sees just how different things are in the ~real world~. That feeling of comparison? It might not be going away any time soon. “It can feel so endless. In some ways, you never reach that point like, I’m the one who’s ahead,” Elisa says.
In your 20s: In your 20s, career goals can feel daunting. “I feel like I grapple with that idea that I’m not moving enough, I’m not accomplishing enough by this age,” Tess says. Even though she loves her job at Cosmo, Tess admits that being surrounded by hardworking women can be intimidating. “Just the idea that people I know are doing more or making more or going places, wherever those places are.”
In your 30s: But as you get older, you learn to appreciate the goals you have reached, whenever you may reach them. When Amy was in college, she says she wanted to publish a book by the time she was 25, and while she did publish a book, it happened when she was 30. “But, so what?” she says. “Age is kind of arbitrary, and there are so many people who succeed in their 40s or their 50s.”
From Cosmo US
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