Numbered gold balloons that spell out the number 30 against a wooden backdrop and purple flowers.

I’ve had many reservations about being in my early 30’s and what it means and doesn’t mean. I’ve thought about the societal expectations, particularly for heterosexual women, and the cookie-cutter American dream. One really good thing that happens more in your 30s versus your 20s is self-betterment.

You’ve most likely had a few tough lessons in life and learned a lot from those failures. You’ve had the damaging, romantic relationships. You are okay with staying in on a Friday night with Netflix and wine. You are (hopefully) better with your finances. However, the thing that is the BEST about your 30s is the willingness to go to therapy and work through your junk.

I’ve connected with or re-connected with FOUR different friends and acquaintances over the past six months to a year and ALL of them have told me they are now or recently have been in therapy. 

We caught up on each other’s lives and got updates on how things were going for one another. I’m a huge advocate for therapy and mental health, so I was thrilled to hear this.

My journey with self-betterment came at age 26, so I feel blessed to have started my healing journey at a much younger age. I was unemployed at this time and while I was actively looking for work, I also focused my energy and intention on going to therapy. Shortly after that, I started attending my first 12-step group called ACA, Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families.

Throughout the years, I have continued seeing therapists on and off. Therapy can be expensive, time-consuming, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all model. The therapist you have and the relationship with them can make or break your experience. I stopped going to ACA after a while because I wasn’t feeling connected to the people in my particular group.

Fast forward to the spring of 2018 and I returned to a different ACA group. I went to this group for maybe four or five months before a co-worker told me about another 12-step group called Codependents Anonymous (CoDA). I started attending my current CoDA group in September 2018 and I now have my 1-year chip! With the help of this group, I feel like I have found my tribe.

I am excited that therapy and awareness about mental health is becoming more mainstream and commonplace. Can you imagine how much better the world would be if everyone was required to go to therapy? Can you imagine if the skill set we were taught as children included how to effectively handle negative emotions, conflict, and confrontation?

Can you imagine if we were taught from an early age on how to effectively communicate in a loving way in all of our relationships? Dear reader, I leave you with this food for thought and I encourage you to explore your own healing and introspective journey.

This article was originally published on Medium.