At the end of May I turned the big 3-0. I’m 30, guys. My twenties are dead.
The year leading up to my 30th birthday essentially consisted of me trying the new decade on for size. I basically glossed over 29, usually introducing myself as being a 30-year old because if you think about it, by the time you’re 29 you’ve technically started your 30th turn around the sun. So…
I tried to be cool about my upcoming 30s. I had never been the sort of person who thought of 30 as being “old”, nor did I really think things were going to be all that different because, honestly, we all know it doesn’t really work that way. But as the end of 29 drew closer I started to grow anxious and panicky. Without meaning to I suddenly found myself worrying about all those things that you hear people worry about when they talk about their 30s; the very things I had never worried about before and had promised myself I never would.
The stress came out of nowhere. Without rhyme or reason I’d find myself questioning whether or not I had done enough with my 20s. I got caught up on weird things. Like, isn’t the world essentially designed and packaged for teenagers? Where do I fit into things now? I don’t even know what teenagers are saying half of the time. Oh, God – did I just have a “kids these days” moment? WHAT HAPPENED TO ME I USED TO BE FUN.
Oh wait, I’ve always been this curmudgeonly. Whew.
Fast forward and I’m now at least a month into my 30s and, I have to say, it’s actually been much better than expected. Liberating, even!
I mean, sure: it’s a little weird when you start to realize that the world is either chasing after 20-somethings or baby boomers and you’re just… caught floating nebulously somewhere in between. It’s also weird when you realize that your life doesn’t look like that of many of your peers – sans babies, not yet married, renting instead of owning, except that all of this is by choice.
Okay, so obviously this isn’t going to be the same situation for everyone but I’m willing to bet there are at least a couple of people reading this who are totally picking up what I’m putting down.
And here’s the plot twist:
Rather than making me feel like I’m doing something wrong like it did in my 20s, the fact that I’m not necessarily living the same life as other people my age actually makes me feel in more control of my life. My life is the way it is right now because I want it to be this way, not because I failed to check off boxes in a decade-long to-do list.
I feel less distracted and as if I’m better able to focus on the things that make me happy.
Sure, all those things I was warned about are true: my body is changing, my priorities are changing. I see wrinkles sinking in around my eyes (or as I like to think of them: scars from a life spent smiling. BOOM! So clever.) and those rogue white hairs are becoming more and more common (the ladies in my family don’t go grey).
But meh! It’s actually not nearly as scary as it sounds. In fact, never before has the saying “you’re only as old as you feel” felt as true as it does now.
So, here I am, entering a decade of independence without the baggage of self doubt slowing me down and the same “anything could happen” sparkle that sustained me through my twenties pushing me along even still.
And, honestly? That sounds pretty good to me.