Why does the idea of turning 30 terrify us?
When I was a child and someone said they were 30 I'd think wow - that's old, they must be a real adult, with real lives and real responsibilities. For sure these 30 year olds must 100% have their shit together!
Now I'm nearly 28 and when I see 30 year olds I think wow - you're really young! You have loads of time left, and does anyone ever really get their shit together? Maybe it's wishful thinking because if 30 year olds are young then surely that makes me still young, right?
From conditioning I think 30 is scary because its always been a big benchmark in our lives when defining any form of success. 'By the age of 30 I want to be married with babies, by the age of 30 I want to own my own business and drive a Ferrari, by the age of 30 I'm going to be a famous actor starring in 40 movies with 12 Oscar wins.'
But the closer we get to 30, the benchmark of success has suddenly turned into some sort of failure deadline, making us cack our pants every time another birthday comes around. The obvious answer is pretty depressing - death. We thought we'd be young forever getting drunk on tequila shots with no hint of a hangover for the rest of our lives! But the reality is, we are going to pop our clogs at some point and we can't believe we're invincible forever. This realisation brings in the thoughts and judgements.
- What have I achieved with my life so far?
- Why has someone else done it better?
- Why haven't I made enough money, bought a house or found the love of my life?
- Why do I spend so much time in a job I hate?
- My expectations and the reality of my life haven't added up...
Questions aren't bad. Questions leads to answers and that leads to change especially for those of us who are willing to jump into the unknown. But it's the judgement that our lives have somehow failed because we didn't reach the top 0.08% of billionaires that creates the self doubt and fear.
You've heard it before - our generation is lucky! We have multiple opportunities and multiple advantages our Grandparents didn't have, and yet our generation is pretty depressed. I won't go to heavy here (global warming and an increase of popularity in far right ideology can wait for another time). But with multiple opportunities comes multiple setbacks. Social media makes us compete and clogs up our brainwaves with fast lived endorphins, competition in the workplace makes hours longer and internships unpaid and we are lacking in a sense of community and meaning - and this isn't even touching on the cost of living and mortgages.
I would argue that life and the world is changing a lot quicker for our generation. For example we're living longer, therefore we have an extra 10 -15 years that have not been experienced by the generation above us and therefore guidance and advice is constantly outdated.
We're also up against a lot of conflict, for example it makes more financial sense for us to have babies in our mid thirties rather than early twenties, and yet there's not been enough time for physical female evolution. We want to own our own home by the age of 30, and yet for most of us it is not possible to live alone without flatmates until the age of 32. We want to save the planet, therefore eat less meat and fish, and yet by doing so we could be having a devastating effect on local communities depending on the sale of meat.
So what is the answer to this fear of thirty?
Redefining success - We all know someone who seems to have it all, and yet is deeply unhappy. We're taught success is a materialistic measurable currency. A house, a high paid job, x amount of followers, a ring on your finger etc etc. But none of these things actually make you happy. In fact think about it, when you tick an item off, are you happy because you've achieved it? Or because you no longer have to achieve it?
Measuring Time - What are you doing with your time? Ok so you may turn 30 next year, but what have you done in the past ten years? Did you travel? Did you work your way up the career ladder? Did you experience some heartbreak but learn self-value? Did you look after your sibling, or birth a baby? Did you start from an unstable home, and now feel stable? These are all incredible things, now if you're saying you haven't really done anything - now is the time to start!
Saying a big bright fuck off! - I got engaged before my older sister, she has been with her partner for 5 years, got two beautiful boys and owns a home together, they are incredibly happy. And yet when I told our family I was engaged after 5 months of being with someone, everyone said to her 'aw are you ok?' Like something in her life was incomplete without a ring on her finger. Now that is a time to tell people ever so politely to fuck right off!
Making Changes - Re evaluating your whole life can sound pretty scary, queue a quarter life crisis. But as mentioned in 'Quarter Life Crazy' this existential crisis is actually a gift. It is time for you to reassess life and really figure out what is important to you. Without being too cheesy it's never too late. Change is scary, but staying in the same place your whole life is even scarier. Changes don't have to be big ones like moving continents, they can be as subtle as simply writing songs and posting them online because they make you happy. Remember redefine success, for you a simple change or little leap of faith is enough.
I'm no longer scarred of turning 30 because I'm happy and content with where I am right now. I'm not trying to chase something or chase happiness that is far away and only achievable through X,Y, Z. Of course I still have goals and dreams but I'm not attached to the outcome. My dream is writing this blog post for you right now, not how many hits it gets or how many people read it.
If you've enjoyed this post please sign up to my newsletter below.