From the 20s to the 30s…

Given the usual circumstances, happiness is not a particularly difficult statement in the 20s. You have youth on your side, more people in your life, few responsibilities to cater to, and well, materialistic factors do make you happy. Most of us are reasonably happy in our 20s, thanks to an abundance of these happiness ingredients.
But the equation of life changes as you step into your 30s. The 30s put to test your true internal potential for happiness.
It doesn’t matter if you are single or married. Both come with their own package of perks and aches. Of late, ‘single’ is becoming a fashion statement in our country. Though a lot of older people continue to express their concerns over a woman’s decision to stay single, the young crowd is increasingly attracted to the intellectual appeal of the ‘single’ status. A woman in her 30s, single, with a lucrative career and a glamorous lifestyle- this image appeals to their psyche. In India, everything has to be a trend. At one point, marriage was in. Now, that is old-fashioned. Being single is in! When will we ever stop setting trends and learn to ‘live’ life on our own terms?
I think one must explore every opportunity that is available; each is a door to experience. Let our individual instincts guide us to what we really want. Marriage is an age-old tradition. If it has survived this long, there must definitely be something of value in it. But don’t get into marriage just because everybody else you know is, or because you don’t know what else to do with your life. Don’t stay single just because it sounds fashionable. Explore love…explore relationships. Spend time in your relationships. Not just because you wish to know the other person, but because relationships will teach you so much more about your own self. And then some day, you shall know if you wish to explore marriage. And that again, is not a dead-end. Take time- to get in…..and to get out. Marital status has little to do with the happiness equation. I know of enough single and married women who have inspiring stories to narrate and who have painted their own pictures of life.
Getting back to the question of the 20s versus 30s, how are the 30s different? For one, I feel more settled for the 30s have been a lot more about self-discovery. With greater insights into my own self, a lot of my anxieties have dissipated. Not only am I more comfortable with who I am, but I am also in love with who I am. Also, I realize that I have to defend myself less often because my family and friends now see something of value in me. This offers me much more freedom of thought than I could buy in my 20s.
Secondly, I feel a greater self-esteem because of a greater sense of contribution to the world, as opposed to my 20s. I have spent enough time nurturing my deepest passions and so, I have more clarity with regard to what I wish to do with my life.
Relationships have also changed in tone. Love is a lot more holistic and meaningful; there is no more the overt dependence on relationships for self-esteem. In fact, the 30s are a phase of more healthy relationships with people because you begin to understand the concept of ‘space’ in any relationship. Warmth, companionship and exchange of perspectives takes a predominance; expectations are simpler and more realistic.
So, all in all, the 30s are years when you begin to feel beautiful from within. Of course, the journey through the 20s would determine where you land in your 30s!