So I just turned 30.
I know, I know. Age is just a number. That has always been my mantra. I have always felt older than my age anyways. Yet, there is a weight in completing the thirties. Almost as if there were voices shouting at me saying, ok, you got your crazy twenties to figure it out. Now, you’re an adult. The spell breaks. Behave, figure out your life. No more excuses.
The thing is I don’t think I need to figure out anything. I’ve learnt a few things in the past decade and one of them, and probably one of the most important ones is that you will never stop figuring it out. Yourself, the world around you. The meaning of things.
We are never a finished product as long as we are living. We’re clay moulded by life. Our essence may remain the same, but our edges are smoothed out, some new ones may arise in different places, and perhaps we get some new texture. Yet the hands that mould us are never stopping. They keep pressing in certain places, changing our shape, changing our outlines.
And yet, turning thirty years old is such a big deal. It’s expected of us to have accomplished certain things by thirty, even though nobody asked us if we even wanted those things. And even though I don’t want them when this year started and I came face to face with the reality I was going to turn thirty, I simply felt terrible. Almost as if I was less valuable or successful for not having achieved those things – owning a house, getting a husband, having children. Even though I NEVER wanted any of these things. And I still don’t (okay, being a house owner would be nice, but certainly was never a priority goal in my life).
I spent some time torturing myself with these thoughts. What was wrong with me, why did this suddenly seem so important. And then it hit me. Because of the way human life is portrayed in the movies, TV, and books… have you noticed how everything exciting in life seems to happen before your thirties? It’s almost as if when we were born we are given a countdown to your thirtieth anniversary and you need to cross off the list everything by then. Because after 30 life is going to be just you living, in contentment, cause you are an older and responsible adult.
One of my friends was telling me how the new mid-life crisis is happening at 30. Perhaps this is now the case because there is so much pressure we Millenials suffer and suffered. In comparison to our parents, it’s harder to get a job, it’s harder to maintain a job, and it’s almost impossible to afford rent even with good salaries, so buying a house is practically out of the question unless you have help from your family. We’ve gone through two major economic crises and a global pandemic, and the cost of living keeps rising when we thought that finally, after two years stuck at home, life could be enjoyed! At this point, I’m glad I haven’t lost my mind completely, and, trust me, I’ve been very close to that.
You know what we’ve been doing, us, the Millenials? Figuring it out. All the damn time. Cause uncertainty has been the governess of our lives. We’ve been adapting as no other generation had to before. We are also the generation that has seen the fastest growth and progression of technology. And we have to be on top of everything. Or, we are left behind in this race. A race that I’m part of, without even knowing where the destination. I thought the destination was the thirtieth. And now, that I’m here, I’ve realised that it’s not.
You see, throughout all of this, life has been moulding me. In essence, I’m still the same person I was when I was twenty. But also, I am not. Because it is true what they say – with age comes wisdom, and I definitely feel wiser.
The question is – am I happy with who I am right now? Most days, yes. I know I’m doing my best. Even if my best isn’t what others expect. The most important thing to know when you’re turning thirty is that there is only one person to please – you.
And being in New York this week was the best thing I could have gifted myself.