Men in their 30s need that boost to get them to the next adventure in their large and wonderful lives.
For all brothers in their mid-to-late 30s out there, this one’s for you.
Something happens when you turn 35—it’s a long road of revelations about life, many of them based on the fact that you’re no longer young, but you’re now “older” (for all intents and purposes), and your brain and body are never going to be “young” again.
Now, with age should come a little wisdom. Many college-educated, working 35+ men have spouses and children, and have been working in their trade or profession for a substantial period of time, so you can rightly claim that you’ve been somewhere and had enough adventures to know a thing or two.
So here’s a bit of advice and observation for the 30s crowd. And here’s to staying (and looking and feeling) young as long as possible as we stare down 40 (and 50 and 60) and the many years to come.
You Have to Chill
Your 30s are a strange and stressful time—you will find yourself in several new ventures that are life-changing and life-defining, more so (for most of us) than in your 20s. Marriage (or divorce), children, and changes in career will dominate your daily life, and with all of these new (and seemingly permanent) life changes come long-term stresses that will start to affect your central nervous system, organs, neck, back, bones, muscles, and daily life.
Healthy outlets and routines are key to your life now—they will allow you to reflect, take inventory, and truly rest so that your role as a husband, father, and worker isn’t one that is making you sick. And be prepared to be sick—certain stresses will affect different parts of your life. The closer you pay attention to what is dragging you down, the better you’ll be at avoiding triggers that will push you beyond healthy stress and into a place where you don’t want to be. And start learning to say no to the things that unnecessarily stress you out—you’ll have plenty of time later on in life for “having it all” because you’ll be healthier if you’re less stressed.
And start learning to say no to the things that unnecessarily stress you out—you’ll have plenty of time later on in life for “having it all” because you’ll be healthier if you’re less stressed.
Go Vegan once a day, or three to five times a week
Bacon-double-cheeseburgers were the go-to when you were 17, and maybe even a few times last summer—but your metabolism isn’t speeding up and your arteries aren’t getting any younger, so it’s time to put the heavy meats down as much as you can. If you have kids, you’re in the position of being around carb-only and calorie-heavy food most of the time, or you’re finishing their food for them when pizza and ice cream were the main course. That means you’re going to gain the typical 10-pounds-per-decade and more weight than that because of the kids.
So go vegan—or vegetarian—a few times a week. Cutting out the fatty meat and consciously focusing on your food and diet is the best thing for your gut, liver, cholesterol, and heart. We’re not talking full vegan or even half-time vegetarian. But start incorporating meatless and dairy-less meals to your diet. The animals will never thank you, but your gut, brain, and blood will be better for it.
Get those cancer tests NOW
Cancer can be prevented, and now is the time to get tested for prostate, colon, lung, oral, skin, and testicular cancer. Put these on your radar and talk with your doctor about any and all of these. What’s detected now through endoscopy, colonoscopy, and routine and scheduled checkups can be vital to you in your 30s and 40s. Preventative care—even being overly cautious—is the best thing for all of us in our 30s because it increases the chances of not even having to deal with growing cancer later on.
There’s nothing “manly” about avoiding any of these screenings, and your friends and family will be glad you get regular checkups instead of lamenting the fact that you detected it too late. No one is safe or spared from the possibility of cancer, no matter how healthy their lifestyle is.
Pay close attention to your energy, sleep habits, and weight
In your 30s you do a lot of “30splaining,” meaning that you are constantly justifying why you can’t eat, drink, or stay up like you used to. You’re no longer a college kid or even a post-college kid: you’re closer to 50 than you are to 21. So you need to act your age, including the fact that your energy, testosterone, and muscles aren’t what they used to be. There’s no shame to this, it’s just how things are (wait until you’re 60!).
Eating healthy is a great start, but you’re going to need a boost here and there that supplements can help with. A good supplement like ZMA (zinc monomethionine/asparate and magnesium aspartate plus vitamin B6) can aid in muscle recovery, better sleep, increased testosterone levels, especially if you’re working out or pushing your body to stay fit regardless of a peppered schedule. Zinc is also extremely important for maintaining thyroid hormone production and maintaining a healthy metabolic level.
Sleep is extremely important as well. No longer can we glory in all-nighters and sleepless work hours. If our 30s teach us one thing, it’s that we have to treasure sleep, especially if we have children and are working round the clock to care and provide for them. Life only gets heavier and more difficult for the tired masses yearning to be freed from treacherous schedules.
Treasure these times (and the present moment, always)
Your 30s are when you may get married, have kids, and celebrate the first successes of your chosen career. There’s nothing like the first exciting years of marriage; there’s nothing like when the children are young; those first seasons in your dream job can bring euphoria that keeps you working for years to come.
Whatever it is, enjoy being young—that’s right: your 30s are still your young years. You’re still starting out! And hopefully life will only get better with age, but all those life markers—babies, the death of parents, divorce, career changes, dissatisfaction with your job—will be starting, whether you’re ready or not.
But take heart. Most artists, business models, and pioneers had their breakthroughs and world-changing moments in their 30s, from Nobel Prize Winners to influential world leaders. Your 30s are a time where you’ve moved beyond naivete and into the solid world of concrete realities that you’ll be ready to face head-on.
Because, damn it, you’re in your 30s and you’ve “been somewhere.”
And if not, you always have your 40s.