22 Things I’ve Learned In My 30s

22 things I've learned in my 30s

I’m *whispers it* 36. Which, to me, sounds ancient. How on earth I got to 36 when I feel like I only just left uni and started my career, I’ll never know. But as much as I sob a little at the thought of getting old, I am so much happier aged 36 than I was aged 22, when I had just graduated and was working in my first job. I was a ‘proper’ grown up and loved life, but now I look back, I can see there was so much I didn’t know. Here are some of them…

1. You really will feel better if you eat well and exercise – people who say this are right… who knew!

2. But being skinny won’t make you happy. Kate Moss says nothing tastes as good as skinny feels, but she clearly hasn’t ever eaten an oozy fried egg sandwich with ketchup.

3. Be kind to your friends – life’s too short to play mind games. Meet up, drink wine, gossip. It’s one of the finest things in life.

4. But lose the ones that aren’t real friends. Anyone who is a bit toxic or even just doesn’t have your best interests at heart? Bin them. Life is definitely too short to spend time with those bozos.

5. It’s OK to enjoy staying in, rather than going out. Ahh cosy blanket, Netflix and glass of wine, how I love thee.

6. And when you do go out, it’s OK to suggest going somewhere ‘nice’ that isn’t rammed full of people, only leaving you enough space to hover by the bar.

7. Family is the most important thing – full stop. Call your mum, hang out with your in-laws, remember to send birthday cards, send small random gifts that show them you’re thinking of them.

8. But chances are, you only learn No.7 when you have your own child. It magnifies your need for that unconditional support and watching your own bond with your child grow makes you realise how important your bond is with your own family.

9. Having a child is utterly life-changing. Not just in a ‘dammit, I can’t go out as much anymore’ way, but in a re-evaluating your whole life and what actually matters way.

10. A cup of tea makes pretty much everything feel a lot better.

11. It’s totally worth spending a bit extra on a ‘nice’ wine. And you might even get less of a hangover from drinking it.

12. But hangovers get worse as you get older, and there doesn’t seem to be anything you can do to stop this from happening. Just accept it and drink a bit less.

13. If someone is doing better than you, be happy for them. Jealousy and bitterness will just eat away at you, which is bad for you, but not that person who is doing really well.

14. Cleanse your skin properly before bed. I spent years not doing this, and my skin didn’t thank me for it. Liz Earle’s Cleanse and Polish is (as a lovely blogger I know put it) a total game changer.

15. Be kind to yourself.  It’s easy to listen to those negative thoughts about your thighs or your ability to do your job well, but counteract them with thoughts about how kick-ass you are.

16. Stay on top of life admin. Paying bills, sorting your taxes, booking your car MOT – all boring but essential. Even if you give yourself one task a week and achieve it, you’ll feel better. And like you’re WINNING at being a grown up.

17. Tell ‘mum guilt’ to do one. As long as your child is loved, fed, clean, happy, you’re doing a good job.

18. But leave your phone at home from time to time. A day out with your family, where you actually can’t pull your phone out when a notification buzzes in your pocket, is a bloody lovely thing.

19. Getting properly measured for a bra is everything. Go to a shop that specialises in this, like Bravissimo, and it will transform your life. (Bet you go down in back-size and up in cup-size).

20. Work out what you want in life, what you need to do to make it happen, and go for it. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Just focus on your own goals and plan.

21. Find your perfect lipstick. It’s the quickest way to make you look and feel a gazillion times better. I spent years convinced I couldn’t wear lippy, but I was WRONG. Now, it’s all about Mac Lady Danger, for me.

22. Don’t be a dick. I saved the most important thing for last. It’s something Caitlin Moran spoke about last year, when talking about feminism, but it applies in every area of life. Just don’t be a dick. Tell yourself this, if you are ever tempted to do or say something dickish. I promise, it will help you massively.

What have you learned in life so far?



  1. April 8, 2015 / 11:55 am

    I can completely nod at all of those things. I know I’m 27 (I know, I know) but I feel like I grew up quite quickly having Bill. I just think there’s a point in your life where it just clicks. And then you feel like the Dali Llama. Or the mother equivalent! xx

    • Alison Perry
      April 9, 2015 / 7:08 am

      By the time you are 36 you’ll be a guru 😉

  2. April 8, 2015 / 11:56 am

    Totally with you on all of these. I am so much happier in my 30s than my 20s. And yes re: bra fitting! x

    • Alison Perry
      April 9, 2015 / 7:09 am

      Always with the bra fitting! #brachat

  3. April 8, 2015 / 12:24 pm

    Someone should hand this out when you graduate!
    Definitely think that I’ve learnt most of these (at 29 years and 48 weeks old!) sure like you said a lot is down to having children.
    I’m still waiting to find the perfect red lippy without looking like vlogger Miranda Sings!
    And don’t get me started on getting fitted for bras! It should be compulsory!
    Fab post as always Alison xx

    • Alison Perry
      April 9, 2015 / 7:10 am

      I can’t believe most people have never been properly fitted for a bra (and I don’t mean fitted at a dept store here – they never measure you correctly). It’s so easy!

  4. April 8, 2015 / 1:58 pm

    Great post, you talk an awful lot of sense here. I’m 34 and that number sounds really old to me as in my head I don’t feel like an adult let alone one in my mid-30s. Ugh!

    Of all these number 20. I just don’t know. Or maybe I do know and I’m just scared of it. Not sure. But my personal task between now and my 35th birthday is to know what I want to be when I grow up, and do something about it.

    Mmmmm oozy fried egg sandwich with ketchup.

    • Alison Perry
      April 9, 2015 / 7:10 am

      I wonder when we will feel like proper grown ups?!

  5. April 8, 2015 / 2:31 pm

    LOVE this Alison. Although, I haven’t tried a oozy fried egg sarnie with ketchup (oh the balm of gluten free living)…….But can i still be part of the club?! 🙂

    • Alison Perry
      April 9, 2015 / 7:10 am

      Oooh you are missing out 😉

  6. April 8, 2015 / 4:23 pm

    Wow. Just wow. Everyone should read this post. IT IS SO TRUE! You are only 5 years older than me and yet you sound so wise. Many of those lessons I have learnt very, very recently. Thanks for this x

    • Alison Perry
      April 9, 2015 / 7:11 am

      Haha do I sound wise?! 😉

  7. April 8, 2015 / 8:27 pm

    A great big fat yes to them all! And I’m definitely with you on the oozy fried egg sarnie.

    • Alison Perry
      April 9, 2015 / 7:11 am

      Mmmmm oozy egg 🙂

  8. Life at the Little Wood
    April 8, 2015 / 10:04 pm

    I love this Alison! I’m the same age as you and really feel that I’ve got so much more perspective on life in the past couple of years. I especially love your point about family, and also the one about surrounding yourself with good people. Those two are all that matter really, aren’t they? Such a lovely post xx

    • Alison Perry
      April 9, 2015 / 7:12 am

      Definitely. That’s my favourite one. So important to stop wasting time on people who are negative or mean spirited.

  9. April 8, 2015 / 11:07 pm

    Loved this post, Alison. Happy birthday! I have been nodding as I was reading. Looking at your photo, you enjoy tea, but you enjoy it weak, he he! I only really started enjoying tea in my 30s and for me, the teabag has to spend 2 or 3 minutes in the cup before I get rid of it. Loved #22! Got a bit prudish and giggled but you’re right, just don’t be one! I was thinking just yesterday that I needed to find a good lipstick so I don’t look so pale & tired. I agree with all your points.

    • Alison Perry
      April 9, 2015 / 7:13 am

      Haha I’ve been 36 for a few months now but thanks Mel 😉 oh and I don’t take tea that weak – it’s got a filter on it! Xx

  10. April 9, 2015 / 7:39 am

    This is all so true! I’m definitely a much happier person now I’m in my thirties. Couldn’t agree more with No 2 – Kate Moss was clearly wrong!

  11. April 9, 2015 / 7:44 am

    I love this so much! Although I might have nailed the whole cleansing thing, I still have to remind myself that I am a grownup sometimes 😉

  12. April 9, 2015 / 8:38 am

    Fab post Alison and all so true! I am so much happier in my 30’s than I was in my 20’s but as I am 39 soon – I guess I will be saying that in my 40’s eek! You really hit the nail on head with bra fitting, with you on the tea and the hangovers! And, love points 7, 8 and 9.xxx

  13. April 9, 2015 / 9:16 am

    Bravissimo took me from an E to a G. I was mortified but oh so much more supported lol.

  14. April 9, 2015 / 9:26 am

    Yes to all of these!

  15. April 9, 2015 / 9:33 am

    I love this. I was forced to grow up quite young … so have always seemed older than my years – and yet – I’ve not felt peaceful about this … I’m getting there though.

    Totally agree about the bra fitting! X

  16. April 9, 2015 / 10:34 am

    Spot on bab. The dick one is perfection. There are a lot of dicks around and the best way to counteract the dicks? Is to not be one yourself. Drives them MAD. I am hoping you chose 22 in homage to Swifty maybe she will do a mid 30s song using your words when she’s in her 30s?? Em xxxx

  17. April 9, 2015 / 12:05 pm

    so many good and interesting points! also you reminded me i totally need to get my bra size measured *properly* for once at some point.

  18. April 9, 2015 / 1:07 pm

    Yes – yes to all of these. Am a complete Bravissimo convert, discovered I can wear lipstick and I love a night in (and somewhere to sit and have a proper conversation when I’m out). It was a bit of a relief to turn 30 and not have to pretend I wanted to go clubbing every night. Just discovering the joy of 16 and working on 14… I have the Liz Earle, not always the energy to put it on.

  19. April 9, 2015 / 1:51 pm

    36 over here too! Crikes! But I agree with them all. Staying in is the new going out, and give me a cuppa anyday. Still love my wine though 😉 I’m happier now than ever before just wish I was 20 again!! 🙂 Great post. Jess x

  20. April 9, 2015 / 4:36 pm

    I agree with so many of these. I’m 27 but I’ve learnt a lot of life lessons the hard way so I absolutely know what you are talking about! Number 13 about not being jealous of other people’s success is still one thing I find REALLY hard to do. I am the worst for really hating on someone when they get something I want, even if they’ve worked hard for it and I’ve been sat on my arse. It’s definitely one of my most unattractive qualities.

  21. April 11, 2015 / 9:30 am

    Love this list! I also cannot believe that I am officially a grown-up (and, erm, have apparently been so for a while!) But one thing I have come to realise is that life is short so make the most of it – don’t be afraid to take chances and say yes!

    Although, having said that, I really should accept that hangovers are worse and say no to that final glass of wine!

  22. April 11, 2015 / 8:30 pm

    This is great advice and reading these I am so glad to be able to announce that I’m already on top of most of these (I’m 26). And now I’m going to go and make myself an oozy fried egg sandwich because GAH. WANT. (And to hell with being thin!)

  23. April 12, 2015 / 12:49 pm

    I’m about to turn 30 and have to say my late twenties have been SO much better than my early twenties. I do think I was always a bit of an old soul when it came to my friends at that age but having W in my mid twenties made me evaluate and grow more than anything I’ve ever done. Also yes to not being a dick! x

  24. April 13, 2015 / 9:19 pm

    These are fab Alison! Nodding along to so many of them. And you’re right, life is definitely too short to not enjoy an oozy egg sarnie! xx

  25. April 14, 2015 / 2:06 pm

    I nodded along when reading this list like I was some sort of wise old sage or something – I totally agree with the staying in thing; I can’t think of anything I’d rather do after a long day than collapse on the sofa with Netflix!

    • Alison Perry
      April 17, 2015 / 10:09 am

      That’s because you are an ace lady x

  26. April 21, 2015 / 4:49 pm

    Ah great list Alison! I do still struggle from time to time with the ‘it’s okay not to go out’ when trawling through friends’ ‘out’ photos on Facebook – but have to remind myself that whenever I do go ‘out’ I wish I was at home with wine and Netflix 🙂

  27. April 21, 2015 / 4:49 pm

    Ah great list Alison! I do still struggle from time to time with the ‘it’s okay not to go out’ when trawling through friends’ ‘out’ photos on Facebook – but have to remind myself that whenever I do go ‘out’ I wish I was at home with wine and Netflix 🙂

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