10 Things I’ve Learned to Really Appreciate in my 30’s

10 Things I’ve Learned to Really Appreciate in my 30’s

I spent my 20’s trying to build a professional foundation. I was often busy networking, putting in extra hours, and learning how to be a better Physical Therapist. While I look fondly on the memories of my 20’s, I’ve learned a bit since then. Here are ten things I now appreciate in my 30’s more than I ever did in my 20’s.

Person sitting at the end of a boardwalk overlooking the ocean


I used to be a REAL talker.  I remember one time riding in the car with my old roommate and her brother, and he turned around asked me if I ever stop talking.  Lol.  I am sure if you ask my husband, he feels this way at times too.  So, saying I USED to be a real talker is probably not correct.  I still get pretty chatty.  But, I always used to have music playing.  Or I would have the TV on in the background while cooking dinner. 

Now I have learned to enjoy just sitting or working with no noise.  No music.  No TV.  No talking.  Often I am halfway through a task before I realize I don’t have any background noise turned on.  Having a little one, I always hear some baby-associated noise going on. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love that Chulengo communicates with me through babbling and different types of cries, but when it is silent in this household, I am in a special place.  My favorite place to take in the silence is on a hike.  Sitting and looking at the scenery of the earth will get me every time.  The photo above is actually one I took in Chile while hiking.  We just sat in silence mid-hike to take in this mountain.

Close-up photo of comforter and unfocused view of window

A Good Night’s Sleep

Man, in my 20’s I was regularly going to bed after midnight.  Now I am lucky to make it past 10 pm.  I also used to pass out on the couch at the end the day.  But, now I love getting ready for the night and climbing into our comfy bed and resting a few minutes before dozing off.  If I get a night where I sleep through the whole night, I feel like a million bucks.  On average, Chulengo sleeps through the night 3-4 nights per week, waking at least once the other nights.  So now I try to take advantage of those 3-4 nights and go to bed as early as possible to a full night’s sleep.

Cars parked in a parking lot

Onsite Parking

Anywhere.  At the grocery store, at home, at a restaurant, you name it.  I love onsite parking.  After living quite a few years in major metropolitan areas where parking is a premium, I have learned to covet those places in which I don’t have to drive around looking for a street parking spot.  My parallel parking skills have probably gotten rusty, but I will choose a place that has onsite parking over another place that does not.  Especially now that I have a little one, I can take my time getting in and out of the car without worrying about the street traffic.

Sprinkled birthday cake with slice missing.

A Well-Baked Cake

When I first met my husband’s family, they had a fresh cake from a bakery at every dinner event we attended.  This was so odd to me, because when I was growing up didn’t really have dessert after meals.  I have made a couple boxed cakes here and there.  But now when I get my hands on a well-baked cake from a bakery, I am a happy lady.  We try to save these yummy cakes for a special occasion, but every now and then my husband and I will pick up a “just because” cake.  Eating a piece together after Chulengo goes to bed is a perfect little bonding time for us.

Path walk with Cherry Blossom trees

A Walk Around the Neighborhood

I love going for walks.  It’s a great way to explore the area, get some exercise, and enjoy some fresh air.  Every day we go for a walk in the neighborhood.  When I was in my 20’s the only walking I did was to school or to work.  I always had a destination to get to and a limited time to get there.  Therefore, I didn’t take in my surroundings or find walks relaxing.  Now, when life gets crazy, overwhelming, or stressful, a great walk around the neighborhood can be calming.

Woman on Zoom meeting in an office

Advice From my Peers

As I get older, I admit I know less and less than I thought I did when I was younger.  I used to pretend like I had all my sh*t together.  Now I realize there is no way to have it together all the time and it is okay for others to know.  I love chatting with other moms or friends my age to discuss what they are doing to make life easier and more enjoyable.  I always get great ideas from the ladies around me.  In the past, I would have never been so quick to ask for advice from those around me, being too embarrassed to ask.  Now, I seek out the help on a regular basis.

Plate of salad mix with utensils on the side

A Well-Cooked Meal

Good food — YUM!  Last year my husband was asking me what I wanted for my birthday.  Honestly, I didn’t want any “thing,” but I wanted a great meal — that I didn’t have to cook.  I have realized that my favorite way to splurge is to have a great, well-cooked dinner made by someone else.  Bonus points if I don’t have to clean up either. 

When we went to Vegas recently, I made sure we had dinner at a fantastic restaurant.  And to be honest, having a meal sans toddler can make any meal a bit more relaxing and enjoyable.  I have also been exploring some new recipes lately, and it’s incredible how cooking a great meal can perk me up.  So, a well-cooked meal prepared by me or someone else is something I love now.

Pillow propped up on bed

Fresh Bed Sheets

Clean fresh bed sheets make me narcoleptic.  I can fall asleep in an instant when we change the sheets on the bed.  I definitely didn’t appreciate this as much a decade ago.  The smell of fresh laundry and the crispness of the sheets are something I no longer take for granted.

Woman pushing cart filled with produce through supermarket

Grocery Shopping Alone

Grocery shopping used to be my favorite thing to do in my free time.  I loved planning which stores to go to and what I would get at each store.  Walking up and down every aisle meal planning was a real high for me.  Now that I have Chulengo in tow for most grocery store trips, it’s not quite as enjoyable as it used to be. 

So when I get a chance to head to the grocery store alone — I LOVE IT!  No one is reaching out of the cart for nearby items.  I also don’t have my husband deterring me from my list.  If you know me, you know I love lists, and when I have to stray from the list, I get stressed out.  Some women want a day at the spa to relax; I want a morning of grocery shopping alone.

Sandcastle with unfocused view of people walking towards the water

Relaxing Vacations

While I still love adventurous, thrilling vacations: long weekends in Vegas, hiking in Costa Rica, and scuba diving in Mexico. I’ve found that relaxing beach vacations can be just as rejuvenating and exciting as the more adventurous trips I’ve taken. And now that we often travel with our young kiddos, we can’t get out to go ziplining, paddle boarding, and snorkeling as easily as we used to unless we have someone to watch our kiddos.

We are saving those more extensive, bold vacations for when the boys are a bit older. I look forward to future vacations where we explore Crystal Caves in Bermuda, hop on Geneva to Meribel transfers to ski in the mountains, and zipline over Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. But for now, I am embracing the more laid-back versions where we can recharge more easily.

What are some things that you have learned to embrace and appreciate over the years?

10 Thing's 30's I Have Learned to Appreciate in my 30's

10 thoughts on “10 Things I’ve Learned to Really Appreciate in my 30’s”

  • As I am about to turn 30 in a few weeks, I can relate. I love going to bed early and waking up early for my coffee. Its funny how things change so much. I am such a home body now and really enjoy just hanging out with my family. Thanks for the post.

  • I think we don’t appreciate how fast time goes when we are younger. 20’s are so busy and you have more energy to accomplish more in less time which helps, but also keeps you SO busy. You learn to appreciate the little things the older you get.

    • You are so right, Julie. The little things are really the big things when you think about it.

  • Ah, it’s the little things. I’m only 28 (29 in October), but I’ve definitely noticed a preference for some of the things listed here. Climbing into bed with clean sheets after a long day is probably the best feeling in the world, lol. I also used to be such a night owl, but now that I’m getting older, waking up early is definitely an enjoyable experience!

    Love this post. <3

  • Although way past my 30’s I understand with what you are experiencing as you reflect on what you now appreciates. I feel the same! Love your reflections. Thanks for sharing.

  • Every time I got to the next item on your list, I was thinking Yes! I too love all of these things and did not appreciate them in my twenties.

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