On Turning 30.
I turn 30 in 60 days, but who’s counting? Okay, I’m counting. September 2 looms on the horizon in front of me and I am unable to shake the pit in my stomach that accompanies the date. In the past, the days leading up to my birthday were days of anticipation and excitement. Growing up, I was the youngest in my grade, which meant every year I anxiously watched as my friends reach their milestones before me. I hated this. I hated that I was the last one every time. Adults told me that someday I would love being the youngest. I didn’t believe them. But like most wisdom handed down from adults, they were right. For the first time in my life, I am relieved that I have a late birthday. But it also kind of feels like I am slowly tearing off a Band-Aid. With every birthday Facebook post I write, I know my day is coming. It is only a matter of time before I join the club.
I don’t want to turn thirty. I want to throw a tantrum and demand to remain 29 forever. I like my twenties. I accomplished a lot in my twenties. I graduated college, lived in Japan, got a job, bought a car, moved out on my own, got married, bought a house and had three kids (two of them at once, I might add). I’m proud of my twenties. We’ve had a good run, my twenties and I. I am not ready to say good-bye to them.
Though I’ve done a lot, I can’t help but think I could have done more. People do some crazy things in their twenties. They road trip to Mexico, they go skydiving; they get tattoos they later regret. I’ve done none of these things. Not that I actually want to do any of those things, but I’d like to know that I could do them and it would be okay. Well, maybe it wouldn’t end up okay, but if things got bad, I could chalk it up to being in my twenties. I didn’t know any better. I was just learning a life lesson.
Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like the youthful, ignorant bliss ends at 30. At 30, you have to be responsible. At 30, you have to make sound judgments. At 30, you become a real adult. The training period is over. You are expected to know better at 30. No more practice rounds. The rest of you life goes on your permanent record.
Your twenties are your safety net. They are your chance to take big risks and gain big rewards. You can set practicality aside and follow your heart. It gets harder to do this in your thirties. In your thirties you have things like college funds and retirement plans to worry about. You have soccer practice and T-ball games to attend.
I realize that many of you might be reading this “from the other side” of 30 and I probably appear to be a bratty baby. I’m sorry. I realize I most likely sound absurd. But I cannot pretend any longer. This is going to be a tough one for me.
So I’m asking you to help me out. Share with me why you loved your thirties. Tell me how great it is. Help me enter this new decade of life with excitement and joy instead of fear and dread. And do it quickly please because I only have 60 more days.