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“The only time you really live fully is from thirty to sixty. The young are slaves to dreams; the old servants of regrets. Only the middle-aged have all their five senses in the keeping of their wits.” -Hervey Allen
The First Stage of Grief:
It was my 32nd birthday not long ago, I used to think 30 was over the hill. Right up until I was 29 years and 364 days. I spent my 30th drinking cocktails, being in denial and cried every time anyone sung to me. Entering my fourth decade was something I didn’t do willingly or gracefully. But then I don’t think anyone really enters their 30’s enthusiastically, well I don’t think many women do anyway. I remember when my friend turned 30 a year before I did. A group of us hired a house for the weekend in Mount Maunganui. It started with shots in the car on the drive over and ended with a multi-day hangover.
Maybe it is because when you are in your 20’s you are seen as young and allowed to experiment more with your life and make mistakes. You are supposed to have it all together once you hit your 30’s. I know I certainly didn’t, and still don’t really but I am less afraid now. I don’t feel like I have to have a set plan and am happy just to see where life takes me. In my 20’s I thought I had to have a map of my life and felt like a failure if it didn’t work out. Now I see that I can have a general idea and know that life will often throw curve balls but sometimes, those curve balls even though they take you off-course into an unknown destination, will work out even better.
“She didn’t feel thirty. But then again, what was being thirty supposed to feel like? When she was younger, thirty seemed so far away, she thought that a woman of that age would be so wise and knowledgeable, so settled in her life with a husband and children and a career. She had none of those things. She still felt as clueless as she had felt when she was twenty, only with a few more gray hairs and crow’s feet around her eyes.” – Cecilia Ahern
I have since decided that I quite like being in my 30’s. Nowadays, I feel much more comfortable in myself and in my own skin than I did in my 20’s. I have come to a point in my life where I am happy enough being me and make no apologies for being otherwise. People can take me or leave me as I am and that’s ok. I don’t have a lot of close friends, mainly acquaintances but I would rather have a small amount of close friends than spread myself thin over lots. I am content with my life.
My 20’s were plagued with depression, self-doubt, and uncertainty. I spent years under a black cloud unable to see the light through the clouds, I felt like I was navigating in the dark without a compass. I am not saying that as soon as I turned 30 the clouds disappeared, the sun came out and I was handed a compass. That is far from what happened! I have worked incredibly hard on my demons and with age and experience, they are mostly dormant.
“Thirty was so strange for me. I’ve really had to come to terms with the fact that I am now a walking and talking adult.” -C.S. Lewis
A Wise Ole Owl:
My wise Oma once said to me (last week) that 32 is a great age. You are old enough to have learned a few life lessons but still young. I pondered over this for a while in my head thoughtfully and realised she is absolutely correct, I still don’t feel very “adult” but I don’t feel like I’m stumbling through life, trying to find myself as much anymore. Sometimes I feel like I should have my shit more together more but I am getting there. Slowly but surely as we all do.
Getting older is terrifying. But it doesn’t have to be if you embrace each new year positively, reflecting on the lessons learned and the adventures to come. That was part of the reason I made my “33 things to tick off before 33“, I figure it is time to start making the most of life. Some of the things I have done before but not for a long time so it’s about finding the joy in the little things again.
“At 30 you’re old enough to look back, but young enough to look forward.” – Unknown
Want to read more?
On the cusp of turning 30? Read this book 30 things to do before turning 30
Shelia Panchal wrote about turning 30 and reevaluating your life to get what you want out of it
This non-fiction book by Mike Gayle from a male perspective about turning 30 titled, Turning Thirty
Another book about turning 30 and how a year of depression became the best year of Andrew Clifton’s life
What age scares you the most? What lessons have you learned as you’ve gotten older? Let me know in the comments. I like comments.