It still sounds...almost foreign to me, yet for four whole months now I’ve been thirty. That’s right. The big 3-0. Kinda like twenty, but...plus ten. This means I can no longer take comfort in the fact that I can still refer to myself as the ambiguous twenty-something. So now I’m referring to myself as a millennial.
I remember after twenty five, with each passing year, thirty seemed looming and ominous. Strangely enough, I didn’t have nearly as much anxiety and apprehension about turning thirty as I did about turning twenty-seven. And my anxiety and apprehension about turning twenty-seven was brought on by the fact that...I was almost thirty. Strange, isn’t it?
I will say, though, that it did feel bittersweet. My twenties were such a time of coming-of-age, as I imagine is true for anyone. A time of...mistakes, and lessons learnt, and self-discovery and growth and maturity. And even though it did make me a bit sad to say goodbye to my twenties, I was ready. Ready to move on to the next chapter of my life and excited about what my thirties would bring me.
Now that I’m four months into thirty, I’m sharing my wisdom. Dropping gems, as the young people say these days. Here are my thoughts from this side of thirty.
MYTH 1. You Should Have It All Figured Out
I think age thirty might be considered the quintessential, ‘grown-up’ age. Which, I suppose, is why society expects and perpetuates the idea that this is the age when we ought to have all our ducks in a row. Well, let me be the first to say that I, a proud
millennial thirty-year old, most certainly do not have it all figured out. And my ducks are so not in a row...heck, I don’t even know where my ducks are. To be quite frank, some days I am still struggling to find my footing, but aren’t we all at some point or another? What does having it all figured out even mean, anyway? I suppose ranking high on some predetermined, one-size-fits-all benchmark of success and happiness. Here’s what’s important: Am I happy? Yes. Am I where I want to be? No, not yet. Do I have a plan to get there? Absolutely! The rest...I’ll figure out at my own pace. Imagine how monotonous life would be if everyone had it all figured out at thirty?!
MYTH 2. If It Hasn’t Happened Yet, It’ll Never Happen
Again, the ridiculous societal ideal that thirty is the age where...poof!...everything should fall right into place and you’ll never have to worry about anything ever again. You’ve got to have the dream career by thirty. Buy a house by thirty. Get married by thirty. Have a baby by thirty. Start eating your veggies at thirty. Geeze, can we just...live??? See #3.
MYTH 3. It’s Too Late To <insert aspiration here>
Go back to school. Start a business. Learn how to swim. Grow your edges back. There’s no time like the present, if you’re thirty or nineteen. Or forty or fifty. There are so many inspiring stories of people that only started to flourish in their professional and/or personal lives after thirty. I’ll be completely honest; I was one those people who was obsessed with ticking boxes off before turning thirty. Well, guess what? I’ve turned thirty and a number of those boxes remain unticked. Guess what else? I have every intention of ticking those boxes off, one by one. Maybe in six months. Maybe in a year, who knows? What I do know is that I won’t place limitations on myself. Certainly not when I’m only thirty.
MYTH 4. You’ll Feel Like A Real Grown Up
In a lot of ways, I still have a lot in common with my 10 year old self. I still enjoy Scooby-Doo. I still live for gummy candies. I draw a princess, and trees and flowers the same way I did then. I still read the last page of a book before a I start. And you know what, I like it! Of course now, I’m a mom and a partner, and I pay bills and do groceries, and plan meals and make doctor’s and dentist’s appointments, and attend parent-teacher evenings and work meetings but I still don’t feel grown up. And I'm not so sure that I want to.
MYTH 5. Thirty Is The New Twenty
Please stop lying to these good people! Thirty is most certainly not the new twenty. Never has been, never will be. If you don’t believe me, ask my knees. I think this ‘thirty is the new twenty’ business is a coping mechanism for people who aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to their twenties. Or a feeble attempt at trying to stave off time's inevitable passage. Both of which I think are unhealthy. I think a successful transition from one phase life to the next means being able to let go of what was and look forward to what's to come. Clinging on is never a good thing. Our collective fixation with staying "forever young" certainly doesn't help. But the fact is, even if you look and feel like twenty, thirty is...thirty. And I am A-Ok with that. At twenty I was naive, timid, full of self-doubt and, like most twenty year-olds, struggling to find my place and voice. Now at thirty, I'm more at ease with myself than I've ever been. More accepting of myself than I've ever been. Do I ever feel nostalgic about being twenty? You betcha! Oh, to be twenty again? No, thank you very much!
So, to sum up, thirty is...not as scary as it is made out to be. I haven't shriveled away into obscurity nor have I lost my zest for life. If anything, I'm happier, more motivated and more at peace than I've ever been. Thirty is pretty darn good, you ask me. I really feel like my best is yet to come.
Cheers to thirty!