You’re Not Crazy—Turning 30 Comes With Major Turmoil

Lean into change when Saturn comes calling and sets you on your path

Wondering what Saturn has in store. Unsplash/Tommy Tong

“It was as if I woke up at 29 and my life turned upside down. Everything I worked so hard to create for myself was suddenly falling apart. It seemed the harder I tried to save it, the more chaos I ended up creating,” my client says.

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“At 29, you say?” I implore.

“Yeah. It was rough, and it went on a couple of years. It was the hardest time of my life. I never want to go through that again,” he says.

“But where are you now at 36?” I ask.

“Now I’m in such a better place. I picked myself up, moved out west, mended my broken heart through martial arts, went back to grad school, and got involved with a buddy of mine who started a tech start-up supporting refugee relief. The rest is history. I turned it around. I guess you could say I made lemonade out of lemons,” he said.

“Congratulations. Not many people do as well as you did with their Saturn Return,” I say.

“Sorry… with what?” he asks.

“Saturn Return,” I answer. “It’s considered your first right of passage into adulthood. It’s a term given to the period in one’s life roughly between the ages of 29 and 30 years of age. Generally, it tends to be a transitional and somewhat difficult phase, so you are not alone in your struggle.”

“You mean everyone goes through a hard time at that age?” he asks.

“Pretty much, although not everyone has to necessarily,” I tell him.” It depends on where you are in your life when you approach 29 years of age.”

If you are in the right place in your life, your Saturn Return will be a walk in the park.

But how many of us find ourselves in the “right place” at that time? Some of us never find that place, let alone at the tender age of 29 years.

“How do you know what the right place is? Isn’t that the problem?” he asks.

“You don’t know what the right place is per se, but you always know how you are feeling about your life and those emotions are key to understanding where you are in your life.”

Your emotions tell you everything you need to know about where you are in your life. Are you listening to them?

How you feel is everything. If you feel good about a situation or relationship, then you are on the right path. If you are uncomfortable, undermined, underappreciated, unloved, frustrated, agitated, depressed or experiencing other negative emotions, then you are in the wrong place in your life. It’s fairly simple.

But how many of us listen to ourselves? We tend to run headfirst into situations that are destroying us and try to fix them. We have been trained on a “no pain, no gain” strategy but that hasn’t served us; it has only contributed to a culture of anti-depressants and addiction.

“But I wasn’t going to give up on my relationship. I really loved her,” he says.

“Yes, of course. But there is a difference between working hard on a relationship with someone you love and trying too hard to push an outcome that is not right for you. It’s a fine balance, and unfortunately many people never find it.”

“So you are saying that if I realized then what I know now—that she was wrong for me—that I wouldn’t have had to suffer? I suppose, but hindsight is always 20/20.”

“Hindsight is always 20/20, but so is your emotional guidance system,” I reply. “Your emotions were telling you that this relationship was not right for you. It was making you very unhappy, suffocating you, and restricting your happiness, yet you stayed with it hoping it would change. But it never did. I am not telling you this to make you feel badly about yourself. I am telling you this so you learn to listen to yourself and make better decisions.”

If you cannot make better choices for yourself, Saturn will do it for you.

Saturn comes calling approximately every 29 years—that’s when the planet makes its full rotation around you.

“Saturn is the planet of discipline, focus, maturity, personal growth and, yes, sometimes hard knocks,” I explain. When it comes around at approximately 29 years old, it is going to help you find balance by transitioning you out of things that are not working and pushing you into new, more suitable directions.

Saturn takes away whatever will not stand the test of time.

If there is someone or something in your life that is not going to be around for the long haul, Saturn will sweep it away from you. So, if something leaves you during a Saturn Return, learn to let it go and move forward. Don’t complicate your life by holding onto it. You will make things much more painful and dramatic then they need to be.

“So you are telling me that the planet Saturn had something to do with the difficult period in my life back then?” he asks.

“You didn’t have a hard time because Saturn was transiting you, you had a hard time because you were in the wrong place during that period and Saturn was trying to rectify it for you,” I explain.

If you are not sleepwalking your way through your life, Saturn will not need to take anything from you.

If you are consciously living your life and making decisions based on how you are feeling, Saturn will not have to bring you to a better place. The hope is that you are already doing that for yourself. But if you are like most people, you will have a rude awakening come 29 years old.

Where will you be at 58-59 years old?

Saturn transits everyone every 29 years, so you will get another visit at 58 or 59 years old. If you have not made progress in the right direction, this second phase of Saturn can be even more intense.

Do the work. Listen to yourself and make the decisions that feel good and that bring you joy. Learn to recognize what and who is right for you and build your life upon that foundation. Don’t wait for Saturn to come in and tell you what is wrong. Learn to identify it upfront and leave it on your own terms.

Here are three tips for dealing with Saturn Return and all other transitional phases:

  1. Stop drinking sour milk. It only makes you sick. If something has gone sour in your life or is not working out for you, be strong enough to let it go. If you can put down the cup early, it will be less painful.
  2. If it feels right, it is right, and if it feels bad, it is wrong. It is very simple, but we complicate it. If something is causing you pain, it is a signal that you are in the wrong place. You are meant to move away from it, not continue to pursue it. Hitting your head on the wall over and over again doesn’t move the wall; it just gives you a headache.
  3. Don’t fight the flow of the river. It’s easier to flow downstream then to try and swim against the current. Transitional periods are very purposeful and they indicate a trend in a new direction. Stop sleepwalking. Wake up and notice when the river is turning a bend. Allow yourself to explore that new direction without panicking and trying to turn upstream. When you let go and flow with the river, your life opens up in the most amazing ways. You’ll find out that you end up exactly where you need to be exactly when you need to be there.

Based in New York City, Donnalynn is the Author of “Life Lessons, Everything You Ever Wished You Had Learned in Kindergarten.” She is also a Certified Intuitive Life Coach, Inspirational Blogger (, writer and speaker. Her work has been featured in Glamour, the iHeart Radio Network and Princeton Television. Her website is You can follower her on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn,  Facebook and Google+.

You’re Not Crazy—Turning 30 Comes With Major Turmoil