I’ve heard people talk about how turning 30 was a life changing event all my life. Turning 30 seems, for no reason in particular, seems to be the magic age when a person crosses the threshold into serious adulthood and the last ounce of youth left in you slips away.
I have a sister who is seven years older than me. I couldn’t understand why she was upset when she was turning 30. It was just another year to me. At the time.
Seven years later, I was turning 30. I kept trying to hypothesize how I would feel when the day finally came. It was one of those things where you can’t predict until you experience it. I had high hopes I wouldn’t let it get me down and I wouldn’t feel any different.
Now, I am nearly six months past my birthday and although I’m not drowning my sorrows away in marlot or pinot grigio, I have an enlightened perspective on why turning 30 can be so tough, especially for women.
7 Reasons Turning 30 can be tough
- The realization that your youth is, in fact, slipping away. No longer are you the young, spring chicken that you once were. Kiss that metabolism good-bye if it hasn’t already failed you. Aching in some form or another is becoming a regular occurrence; getting out of bed and bending to put socks on aren’t the same anymore. Your skin doesn’t have the zest it once had as a teen and lines are popping up on your face. Oh, and you’ve probably got at least a grey hair hiding somewhere.
- It’s the beginning of being identified as old. Yea, you might not feel old and your friends and peers may not see it that way, but let’s face it, we’re not going out bar hopping or crashing at friends’ places anymore. Kids start referring to you as lady, twenty some-odd year olds are calling you Ma’am. ‘Excuse me, who the Hell are you calling Ma’am?! I could be your sister!”
- People have preconceived expectations of you. Partying is not frowned upon when you’re in your twenties. Not having your career nailed down is no big deal. Not being married or having kids doesn’t come to question. However, when you hit 30, people’s expectations of you change. You’re too old to go out late or party. It’s expected that you’re married with kids or at least married. You also start getting asked more often what you do, so not having a steady career or job will raise an occasional eyebrow.
- Your body is unrecognizable from previous years. This may not apply to all, but I know it applies to many moms. I had all three of my kids before my 30th birthday, and I can tell you with certainty, it is not the body of my former, 16 year old self. I cant even remember what it used to look like. You know you’ve got to this point when you look at younger, fitter girls and are pissed that they wear their leggings as a fashion statement and not for their comfort or flexibility.
- Regrets show their ugly face. We all have regrets. We’ve had regrets before turning 30 and will continue to have them after. Even if it’s just that fourth and fifth Viva Puff you ate after you convinced yourself you’re done at the third (speaking of a friend’s experience of course…). Losing touch with someone who you wished you hadn’t, not taking – or taking – a job, buying that expensive car you didn’t need, not putting money away sooner; these are the kinds of regrets that start sinking in.
- Complacency. By the time you’re turning 30, and you’ve experienced all or some of the above, many people fall in to complacency and just accept life for what it is. Maybe you never graduated and you think it’s too late to go back to school. Maybe you think it’s too late to change careers. Maybe you’re married and unhappy, but you stay together because this is as good as it gets. Maybe you just accept that life is and always will be hard. Many of us are guilty of being complacent with our situations because it’s too late or hard to make a change. Finally…
- Reality hits you – your life is going one direction. Fast. You stop and think, ‘Oh my God, I’ve already lived thirty years?!’ Yep…. yep you have. Life is a one shot deal. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought for a brief second that next time I’d do things differently, only to immediately remember that. There are no re-dos.
So, if you’re wondering how I handled turning 30, the answer is – better than I thought. A hidden stash of Viva Puffs helps take off the edge some days, or so I heard from a friend.
Thirty is the new 20. I don’t even know if that’s accurate, but it sounds good. What I’m trying to say is, thirty is not old. Nothing is too late. You have so much left ahead of you and time to make things happen. So get out there!
Are you 30+? How did you feel about turning 30?