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Adult Developmental Stages: Adults in Their 30's

Carly is an artist and therapist who likes to write content that helps others live mindfully.

Stages of adulthood: Your 30s

Stages of adulthood: Your 30s


The thirties are a decade or permanence and establishing the status quo. The thirties begin for most adults by growing a family, a predictable job, having a car and home. The thirties also allow for more financial stability and often first time home ownership.

The preparation in the 20's resolve the thirties to be a more stable and a dependable decade. Routines become more of the norm. The thirties are a time when adults are more mature and seemingly have their act together. Most adults in their thirties begin to enjoy the fruits of their labor and hard work from their twenties.

Being Thirty Something

The thirties are a decade in adulthood where the body is still strong and shows minimal signs of aging. They are still young enough to enjoy physical activities without worrying about pain remedies that coincides when the body ages.

Often the majority of hands on parenting happens when adults are in their thirties.

The thirties are also a time when most adults become established in their chosen careers and climb the corporate ladder.

With careers and families the thirties can be a decade with more stability and routine. For some adults in their thirties the increase of structure can be stifling. Other adults appreciate the increase of security the thirties have to offer.

Defining the Deceade: Why Your 30s Matter

  • Raise a family
  • Increase in income
  • Home ownership
  • Some will divorce
  • Increase in self-identity

The Thirty Years

Some adults embrace their thirties as a reprieve from the twenties. Other adults in their thirties find this decade just as challenging or more challenging due to the extra pressures of being an established adult. The extra pressures come from being married with children- or the pressure of finding a lifelong mate if that has not happened.

In spite of the added responsibilities of marriage, family and career the thirties can be a time when adults come into their own.

Growing a family

Growing a family

Being Parents

Most 30-something year olds, who are also parents, are in the intense years of raising a family. It is necessary for all parents to look after their own physical, emotional and mental wellbeing while in the thick of raising a family. Lots of 30-something year olds who are also parents have less free time and less social time than they had in their twenties.

If you are a 30-something single parent than your time is even more compromised raising a family on your own.

Finding other 30-something year old peers can be a source of support and understanding. Most 30-something year old find friends through their children's activities. They connect with other moms or dads over their son's or daughter's T-ball practices.

Snapshot of What it is Like to be 30-Something

TasksPhysical Mental/EmotionalFamily/LoveCareer/Finances

Achieve more stability

Subtle signs of aging

Stress of having more people depend on you

Settle down

Continue to develop Career

Become more self aware

Hair may begin to turn grey

Worried about family/children

Grow a family

'Climb the corporate ladder'

Increase sense of self

Hair for men may begin to thin out/bald

Focus less on self more on family/work

Some will experience divorce

Pay down/off student loans

Increase self-esteem

Prone to weight gain

Stable family and career can increase happiness

Establish own family traditions

Begin to invest in retirement

Increase income and savings

May feel a need to have children before turning 40

Feel more secured

Less egocentric

Responsible for a mortgage

Advice for Adults in Their Thirties

The thirties are a decade of permanence.

Here is some advice to help you manage your thirties:

  • If you are raising a family, get support. Having friends, a community and extended family can make raising a family easier.
  • Enjoy your family, home, car and the life you are establishing.
  • If you are in a career or job you do not like, you can always explore other career and educational options.
  • Do not let yourself go stale. Although the thirties do provide more stability, keep your life fresh and exciting by taking classes and doing activities you can now afford or have the additional time for.
  • If you are going through a divorce, know this is not the end of your love life. Give yourself time to grieve and heal.
  • Continue to take good care of your body. Eat healthy and exercise.
  • If you go through a trauma or stressful event, or if your past is haunting the present go to therapy.
  • Pay off your student loans.
  • Begin to save for your future.
  • Invest what you have left over.
  • Go on vacation. Now you have extra income you can save for the vacation of your dreams.
  • If you are going bald or your hair is thinning know this is a natural part of aging.

The Average Age of Divorce

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average age for couples going through their first divorce is 30 years old. The average length of a marriage that ends in divorce is eight years. If a divorce is going to happen for a first time marriage it usually happens when the couple is in their thirties.

It is never easy when a marriage ends. Whatever the reason for the divorce, marital separation can turn your whole world upside down and trigger all sorts of painful and unsettling feelings in your thirties.

Divorce affects:

  • Mental health
  • Physical health
  • Family relationships and ties
  • Work
  • Home
  • Children

Divorce is painful because it represents a significant loss, not just martial loss, but also the loss of dreams and commitments.

Divorce does not mean your world is over. Divorce can be seen as a gateway to a new life, or a new beginning. You can rebuild, and re-discover who you are and love again. Emotional healing after a divorce takes time.

Being thirty-something

Being thirty-something

The Thirties Are Significant

The thirties are a time for raising a family, becoming more established in a chosen career, home ownership, as well as becoming more self-aware.

By the time some adults leave their thirties, they have experienced a divorce from their first marriage and perhaps remarried. The strengthening and defining of one's identity is fortified in the thirties through the permanence of family relationships, careers, and routines. This permanence is then carried over for adults emerging into their forties.

Carly Sullens 2013.


chancha panfila on February 02, 2018:


Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on December 14, 2013:

Grand old Lady

Thank you very much. :)

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on December 13, 2013:

Well written piece! Very informative and helpful. Wish I read this when I was thirty...

Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on December 05, 2013:

Thanks Rae Saylor. Internet Hug right back at you. :)

Rae Saylor from Australia on December 04, 2013:

Thanks for the advice, Carly! I really appreciate it! *Internet Hug*

Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on December 02, 2013:

Rae, go back to school. You can do it. You are not too old. 26 is young. You have the rest of your life ahead of you. If you look at your life as a long time frame you only lived 1/4 of it. Go and study what you want and make your dreams come true.

Rae Saylor from Australia on November 26, 2013:

I'm 26, but I'm thinking of going back to school to do something I've always wanted to do. And yet even if I've got 4 years left til I hit 30, I'm scared -- scared that I might actually be too old to be doing something else :(

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, pal. Voted up!

Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on November 26, 2013:

LVidoni5 Thanks for reading. I hope you have a fantastic 30's.

Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on November 26, 2013:

Hui, thanks for reading.

Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on November 26, 2013:

You are welcome arshiacom. I do have a hub on the Adult Developmental Stages: Adults in their 20's.

arshiacom on November 26, 2013:

I am still in the early 20's ..still need to explore my 20's but thanks for the futuristic view of yours .

Hui (蕙) on November 25, 2013:

Great article in good organization. See through a life stage, and some information are scared.

Leone Vidoni from Portland, Oregon on November 25, 2013:

I'm creepin' on 30, but no marriage, no kids, and no divorce. Nice hub and great advice!


seologist on November 25, 2013:

It was very interesting to read, great hub! As for me the thirties is a perfect period, when you have the possibility to combine development with a stability.

Koralee Phillips from Vancouver British Columbia Canada on November 25, 2013:

You've really captured the essence of what life is like in our thirties. Great job!

I found that life was better after 35, and now that I'm in my forties, it's been my favorite decade so far! Now I'm looking forward to finishing my 40's and seeing what the next decades brings!

Graham Lee from Lancashire. England. on November 25, 2013:

Hi Carly. What an insightful hub. Written it seems with the knowledge and wisdom of a 70 year old like me! You are so right in your observations and approach. Well done, I enjoyed it and voted.

Voted up and all.


Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on November 25, 2013:

Thank you Marion Langley. There is a lot to do in the thirties.

Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on November 25, 2013:

Thank you Eddy. :)

Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on November 25, 2013:

Hi DoctorScottHealth,

I find developmental stages interesting too. It is amazing to me that adult developmental stages are under researched. But you are right, there are concrete themes in each of the adult decades. Thanks for stopping by and reading.

Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on November 25, 2013:

I am glad you liked it melpor and your thirties were your most interesting years.

Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on November 25, 2013:

That cerebral cortex is so important! Thank you for stopping by and reading rebeccamaley.

Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on November 25, 2013:

Thank you Thief12.

Carlo Giovannetti from Puerto Rico on November 25, 2013:

Congrats on HOTD!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on November 25, 2013:

I learned in brain research class a few years ago that our cerebral cortex does not actually become fully mature until late twenties or even age 30. Well done article. Congratulations!

Melvin Porter from New Jersey, USA on November 25, 2013:

This is a very interesting hub. My thirties were my most interesting years of my life and they were very similar to what you described in your hub. Voted up and interesting.

Dr. Scott McLeod. PharmD from Los Angeles on November 25, 2013:

Hey, great article. I myself am somewhat in new territory known as your 30's having just turned 31. As you get older its interesting to note the general attitudes, beliefs and physical considerations as time marches forward. You start recognizing and categorizing epochs of time. It does seem like decade blocks have concrete themes. I find that fascinating. Like a built in biological clock for not only your body but mind... along with general objectives, lessons and inclinations. Anyway, thanks for the great post and happy 30's to all you other fellow members ; )

Eiddwen from Wales on July 30, 2013:

Very interesting and voting up.


marion langley from The Study on July 20, 2013:

just jumping into the thirties...have the house, husband, and kids. Taking actions to still have them when I jump to the forties. Paying off the debt from the twenties and definitely feeling stronger in my sense of identity and future plans. I'd say you have it pegged. I'm sorry divorce is so common but kudos on commenting that it's not the end of the whole world. Voting up, thanks for writing.

Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on July 20, 2013:

Hi Kathryn, I laughed when I read, "I was really a statistical average!" It can be validating when we read something like this, knowing we are not the only ones who went through something like a divorce at age 30. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on July 20, 2013:

Hi Jane, thank you for stopping by and sharing your experience of being 32 years old. It is challenging with growing a family, changes in your career and having less personal time. However, you are right it is a great time of life to be in because it is so full.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on July 20, 2013:

I am in my 30s now, so it was interesting to read this article.

The "divorce averages" took me off guard. I was married for 8 1/2 years, and split up from the ex when I was 30. The divorce didn't happen quite at that point, due to finances, but the split up was the end of the relationship. Wow, I was really a statistical average!

I like being in my 30s. I am 35, so I am halfway through this decade. I haven't established many of the milestones yet, so I have a ways to go. But I am working on it.

Thanks for sharing this with us, and have a wonderful weekend!

~ Kathryn

Janet Giessl from Georgia country on July 20, 2013:

With 32 years I'm in my 30's now and I find it challenging as a lot of changes happened: I'm a mother now, I have made changes in my career, changes in my personality, I have more responsibility, less time for myself... but I really love all these things.

Your hub is very informative and describes the developmental stages very clearly and well.

Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on July 18, 2013:

Hi Chace, glad you liked the hub.

Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on July 18, 2013:

Ms Dora,

Thank for stopping by. I appreciate you reading and commenting.

Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on July 18, 2013:

Hi Midget,

I agree there is a sandwiching that begins in mid adulthood. I am going to add the 'sandwich' feelings in the next decade the 40's but some adults may very well be feeling that in their 30's.

Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on July 18, 2013:

aquinby, I am glad you can relate to this hub. Having stability in the late 20's and 30's is indeed a great feeling. I would not go back to my 20's if I had a choice, but maybe my 30's. :)

aquinby on July 18, 2013:

Great hub! I'm turning 28 at the end of the month but am already experiencing some of these things. After years of college and graduate college, I'm really enjoying having some stability for a change!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on July 17, 2013:

I think the 30s and 40s are times when we start to feel sandwiched because of being committed to our jobs, immediate family as well as to the older generation of parents and grandparents. It can be a lot of pressure! Much to think about here, and sharing!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 17, 2013:

Good information. Great advice!

Chace from Charlotte, NC on July 16, 2013:

Lol, at this very moment I'm writing a hub about a 30th birthday idea! :) My husband just turned thirty last week. It was lots of fun reading this!

Carly Sullens (author) from St. Louis, Missouri on July 16, 2013:

Hi Thief12,

Glad you liked it. Being 35 is a great age!

Carlo Giovannetti from Puerto Rico on July 16, 2013:

Interesting hub. I'm 35 and I can identify with a lot of traits and phases described here.