If your twenties was all about discovering who you really are, your thirties is when you learn the true meaning of acceptance, and that it’s okay to be beyond caring about other people’s opinions on your life. Sure, you still have your insecurities (as everyone does), and most of the time you’re not even sure if you’re “adulting” right, but you’ve already built enough confidence in yourself to know that you’ll eventually figure things out. Moreover, you already know how to put yourself first—or at least, you’re trying to.

Strutting like the strong and independent woman that you are, there are so many things that you don’t need to feel guilty or ashamed of doing; after all, it’s such a waste of time to sweat the small stuff. Here are a few things you should learn to stop apologizing for now that you’ve hit the big 3-0.

1. Not doing overtime work and taking breaks

We know that it’s important to hustle, especially if you have a family to support, but in order to be effective in what you do, you have to be in tip-top shape physically, emotionally, and mentally. That being said, it’s okay to pass on overtime work, especially if the task can be done the following day. It’s okay to use your vacation leaves and actually go on a vacation. It’s important to value your own time and not just your employer’s. Remember that you’re working to live, not living to work.

2. Saying no to night- and weekend-outs

You want to curl up in bed with a mug of hot chocolate while watching season two of Queer Eye and bawling your heart out instead of having another Mary Grace session with your friends? Then go right ahead! Granted that cheesy ensaymadas and friendship are fabulous, there are also times when enjoying your solitude is the perfect expression of self-love. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends the real reason of your absence either—we’re sure that they have those kinds of days, too.

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3. Outgrowing people

Speaking of friendships, there comes a point when you and someone you’ve known since high school eventually develop different views on things and lead very different lives. You may feel bad about realizing that you now have nothing in common, but this process happens often and is actually pretty natural. Like your BFF, you are your own person, and friendship isn’t really about being obligated to like or do similar things. There will always be a connection, but don’t beat yourself over the fact that it won’t be the same as before. Accept the changes, manage your expectations and just go with the flow.

4. Spending your own money on things you like

Just because you have responsibilities doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun. Whether you’re splurging on a watch you’ve always wanted or booking a trip you've been meaning to take for years, don’t feel bad about spending your hard-earned cash to actually enjoy life. Kaya ka nga nagtratrabaho eh. Besides, you’re already smart enough to know that you also need to save and invest, so what you spend for yourself is really well-deserved.

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5. Dressing the way you like

You’re done looking “cool” based on society’s standards. Wear whatever you feel comfortable in, and don’t bother with other people’s opinions. You know how to dress for any occasion anyway, so why bother about what the tita of your kababata thinks about your hubadera little black dress (which isn’t even super hubadera—it’s just an off-shoulder number)? You keep on doing you, and the more you do, the better you’ll feel about yourself.

6. Not being in a romantic relationship

So what if you’re not tied down? You don’t always need to explain yourself when someone looks at you sadly and asks, “Why are you still single?” Being in a relationship is not a requirement in living your best life. You’re the only person who can make yourself feel complete, so the next time someone sends you those pity vibes, hold your head high and be proud of your status.

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7. Choosing not to have kids

For some reason, many people still equate a woman’s value to her ability to bear children. Those who choose not to get pregnant are often met with all sorts of reactions, from “Sayang naman,” to “Buti ka nga kaya mong manganak—isipin mo ‘yong ibang may gusto pero hindi kaya.” It’s as if the sole purpose of a woman is to procreate and nothing else, and if she opts not to be a mother, she has failed in life.

That belief needs to be left in the dark ages. Girl, you’re more than what your uterus can do. If you’ve chosen not to have kids, then good for you! Don’t ever apologize for it or allow other people to make you feel guilty about your decision. Your body, your rules.

8. Choosing to live your best life

The path you choose is yours and yours alone, no one can dictate your destination and your pace. Take your time and enjoy the journey. It’s your life, and it’s totally okay to be the boss of it.

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