When you hit your 30s, chances are your priorities will change, making it easier to see the upside of your sensitivity.
As a highly sensitive person (HSP) now in my 30s, I have seen a vast improvement in how I interact with the world around me, how I perceive my environment, and, ultimately, the enjoyment I get from life. All the little stimuli that perk up my highly sensitive senses are still there, of course, but I now embrace them more versus try to cover them up and be someone I’m not.
The biggest change has to be, quite simply, the easiest and most natural change we undergo: aging. Moving into my 30s has been awesome, and I’d love to tell my fellow HSP why it is my favorite decade so far.
Why My 30s Are My Favorite Decade as an HSP so Far
1. I am aging, and it is not as bad as I thought; actually, it’s kind of cool.
As an HSP in my 30s, I am now far more secure. As I see my face and body age, I think of the bigger picture. Before, I’d focus on beauty and youthfulness and wanting to look my best. And, as an HSP, these feelings were magnified. But now I feel more comfortable looking the way I am, sans makeup and all. (Side note: A lot of celebrities go makeup-free, too, like Alicia Keys.)
I am not here on this earth to impress people with dewy skin and thick hair. I am a 32-year-old woman, and I do not owe myself (or anyone) pretty. In fact, there is a wonderfully named book called Women Don’t Owe You Pretty. My body is a strong, healthy, living vessel that is built for the marathon, not the sprint. I would never wish to be defined by my looks, be it positively or negatively. (We HSPs feel enough as it is; we don’t need more things to add!) I think by the time we hit our 30s, or beyond, we are judged less on our looks and more on what we say anyway, which, for an HSP, is music to my ears.
2. I no longer have to keep up with “party people.” My priorities are changing.
One of my best friends recently gave birth. This is not the most shocking thing you ever heard a 32-year-old say but it was not that long ago when she was an absolute big kid, partying her way through her 20s. We all drank too much, and life was a bit of a blur.
But being young and fun does not always accommodate HSPs. Sensitivity can be a red light, stopping the fun and easygoing vibe. As HSPs, our 20s can (ironically) be an isolating time, particularly if we do not want to keep up with the loud party people and go out every weekend. The good news is, when you hit your 30s, chances are that your friends’ — and your own — priorities start to change, inviting new and exciting experiences. You may find yourself becoming a parent, godparent, or perhaps an aunt or uncle. Your HSP attributes will be put to great use — like your empathic nature and deep listening skills — as you provide support and care for the new additions in your life.
3. Time — and turning 30, and beyond — waits for no one.
To observe the passing of time is never so magnificent as when people hit the big 3-0 (or another significant age). It’s different and there is no denying it. I went from renting and moving from place to place (with roommates), wondering what would become of me (we HSPs love to overanalyze things!) to suddenly being engaged, having a mortgage, and a steady job. I never thought it would happen to me, and yet suddenly society’s expectation for us to put down some roots and take responsibility somehow got ahold of me.
Before this, I was all about the here and now, partially to compensate for the agonizing fear of the future. I’d procrastinate making big life changes; HSPs and change are not good friends. I had little to cling onto, materially, and it felt right to just go whichever way the wind took me.
But as I got older and hit 30, I really “woke up” and remembered that “time waits for no one.” This was not a dress rehearsal. I had to get it together because my future needed me sober and rational — alcohol made it easy to hide from all the stimuli around me. The fancy dress was packed away, and I haven’t rung a 24-hour beer delivery hotline since 2016.
4. Familiarity gives me strength: I’ve been down this road before, and I know it gets better.
I had a rough time in my teens: I was clinically diagnosed as anxious and depressed. I eventually learned to hide it, but I did not treat the root cause. During my 20s, I started seeing a therapist and trying self-help remedies. Eventually, I came to grips with my demons, and I am sure some fellow HSPs can relate. Now in my 30s, when I am having a bad day, feeling emotional, angry, and just generally awful, I remind myself that I have been down this road before and it gets better. It does.
No longer do I feel the same sharp pain of excruciating agony and emotional turmoil. I now know that even at my lowest, I can pick myself up again because I have done it before many times. (There is wisdom in repetition.)
By the time you hit your 30s, you will have endured several unpleasant experiences that the nasty side of life offers (food poisoning, a broken heart, a best friend moving to another country, the list goes on). And, of course, our HSP souls still feel the emotions, but now that we’re older, we merely whisper to ourselves “Oh, here we go again,” rather than feeling as though our whole world is caving in on us.
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5. I’m too busy… and that can be a good thing.
As we get older, there’s a lot to juggle. We might have aging parents, some of us have children, we might have careers, mortgages, friendships to maintain… so much going on. We HSPs can be prone to overthinking and overanalyzing most aspects of our life. But life is happening right now, right in front of us. We need to embrace it and enjoy it. We cannot afford the luxury of pondering the meaning of life in the same way we did before. In our 30s (and beyond), we must pull our socks up and get on with it. Keeping busy is a wonderful distraction from HSP procrastination. After all, what are we waiting for?
6. You will have sophisticated no-nonsense detectors and super empathic abilities (even more so than before!).
HSPs have an almost innate sense of whether or not somebody is genuine. We are very skilled at detecting this in a person’s tone, body language, and eye movements, a true gift of being an HSP.
By the time we reach our 30s, we have some brilliant experience and history in this field of empathy, and we can use it for great things to make this a better world for ourselves (and, of course, for all those in it). This could mean everything from picking up on when a friend could use our support to becoming an empathetic activist that’s so needed these days. This will vary from HSP to HSP, but just know that your highly sensitive powers are making a difference in others’ lives — and they only get better with age!
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