The View From My Thirties


This is not advice about wrinkle creams. I have no idea which ones do or don’t make you look younger. It’s a story about getting my driver’s license renewed. This no doubt sounds horribly boring, but bear with me. 

I am turning 35 in a few days. I also had to renew my license this week – you know, just to add to the birthday fun. But the positive side of my surprisingly quick trip to the DMV got me thinking. I recalled the last time I renewed my driver’s license. My 25-year-old self looked at the 2017 expiration date and felt like that year was a lifetime away. I knew where my life would be when that ten years passed, or so I thought.

And now here I am, looking back rather than ahead, and the view is much different than I expected. It turns out that I didn’t have any idea what getting ten years older would entail … but I have learned a few things looking back.

Thirties are better than twenties.

I think there is a peace of mind that comes from having your twenties behind you, whether they were great, or awful, or a little of both. Your twenties are fun, but they are also a lot of work. They bring countless expectations and a whole lot of pressure with them – college, jobs, careers, marriage, kids, houses – it’s a long to-do list. It’s a bit of a relief when they’re over. Even if you haven’t accomplished it all, you learn you don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations but your own. 

Lines around your eyes seem to show up overnight.

I don’t know how this happens, but it’s kind of a rip-off. Like I said, I have no idea what wrinkle creams work best because I don’t use them, but I feel like I earned the lines fair and square. They’re my own personal merit badges for “survived the infant stages with two children.” I don’t, however, feel like I earned my gray hairs. So I DO get my hair colored. We all have our limits. 

Exercise takes twice as much effort now for maybe the same results.

This sounds all bad, but it’s not. I didn’t think twice about wings and beer nights with my friends ten years ago. But boy is it harder to run them off in your thirties (especially post-babies). So my health is more important to me now than it was then, and I take much better care of myself. See? Not all bad. 

Gravity is a stronger force after 30.

This is especially true after you’ve been pregnant. I don’t have any positive spins to put on this one. Sorry. 

This thirties-wisdom stuff is priceless. 

Time has given me experiences. Some of them are wonderful, some I wish very much I could change. But I have thankfully learned from every single one.

If you’d asked me at 25, I would have never said I would be a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom. But I am now, and I love it.

I would have told you my biggest fear was one day losing a parent, and there was no way I could handle it. But then my mom died two years ago, and somehow, I’m making it through.

I would have told you I wanted to be a mom because it seemed fantastic. But I had no idea how much work it was. I also had no idea every bit of work was worth it. Motherhood is better than I could have ever imagined.

Ten years ago, I was sure I would become someone very different than who I have ended up being today. 

At the very least, I’m starting to figure out what is truly important in life. All the ’40s and up moms are no doubt thinking I don’t know the half of it – and they’re right – but I look forward to finding that out for myself.

When I got my new license this time, I looked at the 2027 expiration date and decided I had no desire to map out the next ten years as I did before. I have goals, but my older, wiser self has learned a decade holds plenty of good, and bad, and even more of the unexpected. I think this time I’ll enjoy the ride knowing I don’t have to figure it all out beforehand.

How is your life different than you expected?

Previous articleBecoming a Mom … 80s Style
Next article6 Ways to Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This Monday
Hannah is the Marketing Coordinator for Columbia Mom, as well as a contributing writer. She is a former full-time working turned work-at-home/homeschooling mom. She lives in Irmo with her husband and two young daughters, along with a very energetic Yorkie. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Marketing and Management, and spent some of her time at USC as a political cartoonist for The Gamecock, the university’s newspaper. She is passionate about writing, painting, social justice, coffee, and raising strong women. You can also find her writing at Her View From Home, as well as her blog, Palindromic Musings, where she writes about living with and navigating through grief.


  1. Fantastic! I have admired your wisdom since you were a child. I wasn’t wrong then, and you prove every day that I am still on the mark. I truly believe your next step should be to write a book out of this blog. Tell the whole story. There is so much more to learn, and even more to be gained from your wisdom. You are still that little girl that stays on the level road while everyone around you is struggling up and down the hills and valleys.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here