Nobody would consider a person in her thirties to be old—not by any means (well, perhaps Hollywood, but don’t trust them). So, if you are in this age group, you may wonder, “Then why do I find myself complaining of all the things my mother complains of?” Well, it’s probably because, while you’re certainly still young in your thirties, you’re past that time of your twenties when your body was in absolutely pristine condition. You could put it through a lot, couldn’t you? Rage all night, sleep five hours, get up and rock climb, and do it all again the next night. Nope—those days are over. Your body is still in pretty great shape, but it’s fallen just shy of the perfection that it was in your glorious twenties. Of course, now you have the wisdom, confidence, and perhaps money you didn’t have you in your twenties. You wouldn’t go back if you could. But you could do without these ways your body betrays you in your mid to late thirties.
Your cocktail maximum drops
Suddenly, just like that, you get a hangover from having two stiff cocktails, when it used to be three (and in college, it was five). You thought you did a great job restricting yourself last night. You cut yourself off after two Manhattans and yet, here you are, with a massive hangover as if you’d drank the whole bottle of bourbon. Your cocktail max just dropped to 1.5.
You can’t bounce back from a bad night’s sleep
All it took was an energy drink and a jog to get you feeling right after a bad night’s sleep in your twenties. Within two hours of waking, you really couldn’t feel the effects of your restless night anymore. Now, clocking any less than seven or eight solid hours of sleep leaves you feeling like a zombie until you can go back to bed the next night. As if I’m not already a little crankier as I get older.
And you have worse sleep
Oh, and by the way—you don’t get those seven or eight hours consecutively. It can take you nine to ten hours to get seven to eight. You take a long time to fall asleep. You get up to pee a couple of times, and then take a while to fall back to sleep. Sleep takes work. It doesn’t just come to you, the way it did in your twenties.
You can’t digest this or that anymore
Whatever it is—spicy food, dairy, tons of sugar. You have certain foods that you now must limit or avoid if you want to prevent heartburn, indigestion, and other nasty symptoms. Your list of off-limits foods seems to be getting longer and longer.
You dry up, just a little
In your twenties, you were always a little, well, how do I put this…damp. Alright, you were like a damn slip and slide down there. Your vagina self-lubricated, all of the time. In your mid to late thirties, you may dry up just a little. You aren’t at that menopause level of dryness but you don’t self-lubricate as much as you did in your twenties.
Everything triggers a headache
Didn’t sleep enough? You have a headache. A little stressed? Headache. Lights too bright in your office? Headache. Sat with your neck at a weird angle while watching a movie? Headache. Dehydrated? Headache!
Loud noises become unbearable
Remember the very loud places you used to frequent with your friends? You’d plop yourselves at a table amongst hundreds of people in a bar, having to scream to have a conversation. And you’d do it. Now, you just can’t focus unless you’re at a very quiet bar. And, if you have to yell to talk, you won’t do it because you know it will leave you with a sore throat tomorrow.
Your PMS can alter
Maybe you didn’t even used to have PMS, but now you do. Maybe you used to just get cramps, and now those are gone, but you become terribly depressed around your period. Perhaps bloat wasn’t a PMS struggle of yours before, and now it is. Your hormones are shifting so PMS may feel a little different—but it was never any walk in the park to begin with.
You’re more sensitive to caffeine
Meeting for 4pm Frappuccinos with friends in your twenties was no big deal. You sipped it, enjoyed it, and moved on with your evening like it never happened. Now, it will leave you jittery, the sugar will send your blood sugar spiking and crashing, and you won’t be able to sleep because you had caffeine so late in the day.
You feel an urge to sit down more often
You just want to sit down. Is that so much to ask? At a bar, you want to find seats—it’s your main goal. If you go shopping with a friend, you want to take breaks to sit down. Sitting down is far superior to standing up—why didn’t you see that in your twenties?
A piece of cake shows up quickly
If you eat a little bit more than you normally would one night, you’ll see it the next day. Your pants will fit a bit tighter. Your face will look a bit puffier. Your body doesn’t seem to just handle it and do away with it during the night, like it did in your twenties.
You can’t tolerate most shoes
You’re down to about three pairs of shoes you can actually wear. The others have an unnaturally high arc that leaves you in pain. Or, they pinch. Or cause you blisters. Or make you feel unstable. You didn’t used to notice all of these shortcomings of shoes.
The temperature must be perfect
Remember when you could just sit at an outdoor bar, in a tank top, in 40-degree weather and not even notice it? You were talking, drinking, and not thinking about the temperature. Now you simply cannot enjoy a conversation if you are even the slightest bit too cold or too hot.
You panic more—just because
You may not have been a nervous person in your twenties. But now, sometimes, out of nowhere, you’ll feel this wave of panic. You’ll have anxiety, for no apparent reason. Maybe that’s more your mind betraying you than your body but, it just didn’t used to happen.
You’re developing spots
You’d swear you were turning into a leopard with the rate at which you’re developing spots. That’s sun exposure from your younger years, showing up just now. Fun, right?