Thirty is one of those pivot numbers for women. If you’re 29, it’s a dreaded milestone. If you’re 31, it’s a longed-for one.

For the 13-year old character of the movie, 13 Going On 30, 30 was that age where a woman was at her peak in every way. At least, that’s what the latest issue of Poise magazine seemed to indicate.

For those of us in the real world, 30 isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

If you think about it, there’s no magical thing that happens the day before and the day after your 30th birthday. So what’s the big deal? Why do so many dread the big three-oh-my-gosh? Why do many treat this age as some sort of quarter to mid-life crisis?

According to Marcia Reynolds, Psy.D., author of Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction, part of the reason is that successful business leaders such as Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, and Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo!, are pushing women to assess their values early in their careers. As we see strong women such as these reach the top at such a young age, we tend to wonder if we’re pushing ourselves enough. The end and beginning of every decade mark a transition period and a time of retrospect. For most, the 30s are the beginning of that trend.

As one approaches her third decade, the tendancy is to begin focusing on the career choices that have been made so far.

We start thinking about whether or not our direction in life is toward happiness of not and we start asking ourselves questions such as,“Will the choices I make around my career and family make me happy in the long run?”

By the time we’re 30, many of us have already in a career of some sort. Life is getting more serious as we mature; less partying, more goal making. Most of us are beginning to step back to take a look at the big picture and re-prioritize: friends, family, and life missions. As you figure things out, your pensive 30s very well just might lead you toward career greatness, starting your own business, or raising a family.

Perhaps the term mid-life crisis is a little misleading

After all, is it truly a crisis to reevaluate where you are in life? No matter what results you find and conclusions you come to as you review your life up until now, no matter how disappointed you may feel with where you currently are or who you’ve become so far, isn’t it true that this is actually the beginning, not the end? Yes, it might feel a little uncomfortable. It’s no picnic to wake up one day with the thought, “What the heck have I been thinking all this time?!!” How much better, though, to arrive at such conclusions before it’s too late.

Think of a mid-life crisis as a sort 0f mid-year review

The mid-year review is designed to help you figure out what you’re doing wrong so that you can make changes and get yourself back on track. It’s the end-year review that affects whether or not you get a raise or how large your bonus will be. So too with life; now is your chance to frankly look at your past, ask yourself how you’re doing, and then make corrective adjustments to get you on track.

Your life has only begun when you turn thirty!

As you wrap up reading this article and begin imagining the dreaded day when your birthday cake looks like it will melt away under the extreme heat of thirty candles, just remember that it’s not so bad. Thirty is a coming of age; a period in your life that may bring, along with it, the tendency to make you retrospective, possibly cause a little confusion, but in the end, hopefully a little clarity in your life.

Don’t fear it; embrace it! With the right attitude, you too can be thirty, flirty, and thriving!

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