If there’s one thing I know it’s that if you want to love your life, you need to learn to navigate the stages of life with grace and love. This can feel challenging if you don’t have clarity around what’s next. And I get it. That’s why I’m starting this new series: Loving Your Life’s Stages. And, since I just talked about this recently with a client who is nearing her thirtieth birthday, that’s where I”m going to begin. What are some milestones to consider when you are ready to settle down in your thirties?

Your twenties can feel like turbulent time. For many folks, it’s the first time you’re out on your own. It can be lots of fun days filled with travel, parties, education, and new experiences. And, in so many ways, it’s the beginning of discovering what you really enjoy in life. Especially when you begin to explore things you never did when you were with your family.

Because, of course, you don’t know what you haven’t experienced before.

By the time we reach our thirties, most of us are ready to settle and live a comfortable existence. It’s not to say you need to hang up your party shoes forever, but chances are you’ve reached the stage where a dinner party and a few glasses of wine with friends sounds more appealing than a nightclub. Here are some of the ways you can start the process of creating roots in your life and settling down once you reach your third decade.

Milestone One – Create a Space to Call Home

In our younger years, many of us tend to move around a fair bit. We move from our parents home into student housing if we had off to college. And then, many of use either move in with friends or a partner.

When you shift into your thirties, you’ll probably begin thinking about the property ladder. Though it may begin with renting a house or buying a small starter home, now is the time that you begin to develop personal tastes and desires when it comes to design and decor. Even if you’re renting, it’s important to make your house feel like home.

When you’ve done your moving around and are happy that this will be the place you stay for the foreseeable future, it’s worth making it into a home you genuinely want to be. Invest in some nice furniture: a sofa, a comfortable bed, a dining table, and maybe entertainment electronics. Spend time considering the decor and choose colors that you like but aren’t too trendy.

When you make your home a place of sanctuary and respite, you’ll find you love your life even more.

Milestone Two – Shift Your Work Life to a Career Rather than Just a Job

When you’re in your teens, you probably work a lot of jobs that are just that: jobs. Many folks get their first job in retail or food service. Your twenties are a time that you take something that’s a bit of “stop gap” kind of job. Maybe you had plans of starting at the bottom of a company and working your way up but things didn’t pan out like you expected.

Whatever the circumstances, taking steps to change jobs into careers is another milestone to consider when you head towards your thirties.

That’s because we spend a lot of our time in our work places. And, my dear, you need to find something rewarding and/ or interesting in what you do. And without that next rung of the career ladder to work towards, it’s easy to stagnate and fall into a rut. If you aren’t happy with the work you’ve been doing, you can always go back to school to explore other avenues. And don’t forget how volunteer work can open your eyes to new experiences. Figure out your next career move then make it a possibility.

Milestone Three – Take Your Relationships to the Next Stage 

Have you been in your relationship for a while? If you’re happy and feel that you’ve met the person you want to be with, how about taking things to the next step? You could move in together, get a pet, get married or plan for a family depending on where you’re currently at.

Your thirties tend to be a time for settling down, so if you feel ready for these things it’s the perfect opportunity to start.

Know, though,that you don’t have to settle. If you aren’t sure about your relationship, then take your time. Sometimes, taking your relationship to the next stage is about learning to live on your own so that you’re ready to be yourself.

When you reach your thirties, it’s often the time to begin shedding who you think you should be. And becoming who you are meant to be.

Though these three milestones may not be the exact fit for you, thinking about how you can make them yours is a fabulous path to clarity. Each one of use experiences life differently. And that, my darling, is the wonderful thing. Because your thirties, like every stage of life, is just that opportunity to find a way to make life more loving and nourishing.

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