So I don’t know what the big deal is, I’m guessing there are some guys in this same boat, with girls turning 30 and having some kind of life-analyzing crisis. Not only is this feeling expressed by my friends, but also on the blog lists I peruse. inevitably, a blogger will write about how she is coping with the dreaded 3-0.
Snowbunny in the City has a 30 before 30 list. this seems to be the most popular way to cope with turning 30. it seems that a lot of people are writing their lists of 30 things to do before turning 30, and setting out with these goals in mind. Instead of a 30 before 30, I’ve come up with a “top 30 before 30″ list – where I list (in no particular order) my “top 30″ things I’ve done in the past decade.
1. began photographing events professionally
2. met anthony bourdain, america ferrera, and bobby flay
3. graduated with my professional degree
4. learned to snowboard
5. traveled to taiwan (aka, the motherland)
6. weddings. I’ve been to a LOT of them (>40 in my life)
7. progressed my cooking skills to a pretty kickass level
8. biked 500 miles to NYC to raise money/awareness for VBCF
9. biked over 4500 miles (yes, 4-5-0-0) to raise money/awareness for local HIV/AIDS organizations
10. volunteer for a free clinic
11. won a chili cook-off
12. had what would otherwise be a racist question asked by a cloistered nun
13. climbed on top of a crumbling dome of a church
14. ate at Morimoto’s
15. went to bachelor parties in vegas and montreal
16. hiked Red Rock Canyon
17. went paintballing
18. snowboarded at timberline resort (where the exterior shots of The Shining were taken)
19. spent a week in Vail and fell in love with west coast snow
20. visited the seals in la Jolla, CA
21. learned to wakeboard
22. went skydiving
23. presented photos at Artomatic
24. flew (briefly) a plane
25. studied for 4 weeks in Sicily
26. coordinated and april fool’s joke for the history books
27. dressed up as an underaged chinese gymnast for halloween
28. went snowshoeing on Baker mountain
29. stayed in a former brothel (now hotel) in Portland, OR
30. started this blog with the help of Mark
Logical Obscurity has a list of goals she wanted to accomplish in her 20s. these are a mix of some perfectly feasible and some not-so-easily done tasks which could be done in the remaining 6 months she has given herself to do them.
Everyone I know is Ridiculous isn’t turning 30, she’s celebrating her first anniversary of being 29. she expresses a sense of finality and definitive ends to years that went by where dreams were not achieved.
These trigaphobes seem to have some things in common:
- mostly women (I think it may hit guys 10 years later for their mid life crisis. we’re slow in the pickup, ok?)
- common coping mechanism is to create a list and accomplish each task, or getting a pet dog
- a similar sense of “losing” something when they end their 3rd decade (1st decade was 0-9, 2nd 10-19, 3rd 20-29, right?)
- an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia for the things they did in their 20s
I’m certainly not a trigaphobe. We’ll see in another year if this mindset will change, but I get the feeling it won’t. I’ve really liked the transitions between my life stages, every one seems to open up new opportunities, while at the same time closing off others for good. I think it’s kind of arbitrary to let turning a certain age be considered a life stage. but looking at my friends, I see that we’ve accomplished plenty in our 20s, and maybe we’re worried we won’t live up to that precedent we set for ourselves a decade before. We have a lot to celebrate in our 20s, collectively, but individually I can see how we may not “stack up” to others in our demographic. there are people who might be able to localize what it is about turning 30 that scares/concerns them the most. here I’ve got some hopefully encouraging words for you:
for the married-centric: your pool of date-able guys is starting to include more guys who may actually have a maturity level you’ve been looking for. an older guy may not take a 20-something as seriously as you. since you’re more likely to have your personal, financial, and professional areas of your life together, you’re definitely more appealing than your job-bouncing 20-something who is still not sure what they want in life. if you’re like me, you have friends who have kids, and about the same amount who don’t. I like visiting their kids and seeing my friends change over time (big time maturing in some cases). I also like my friends who are in the same non-marital state as me, where we can go do what we want to do with relative carefree-ness.
for the goal-centric: I read a stat somewhere that although people over 30 tend to make fewer new year’s resolutions, those that do are more likely to succeed at it. so maybe we grow wise in our 30s and are more able to accomplish things than we would in our scatterbrained 20s? accomplishing goals isn’t bad, but I think we just need to go at our own pace for goals. setting deadlines reduces those goals to just tasks that need to be checked off. accomplish your goals after 30, it will be ok.
for the nostalgia-centric: your memories of your 20s are probably really good and positive, but remember all the crappy times that you are now wiser for and will not have to relive again? the bad relationship(s)? the [insert embarassing and immature event] incident? you’ve probably found a job you’re reasonably happy with, and no longer waiting tables or folding clothes. although those jobs are very formative for your indirect work skills, I’m sure you’re happy it’s over. The 30s are the time where you’ll hopefully have some more disposable income than when you were in your 20s, you can travel or take classes in what you want. I think in general your 30s can be some of the best times.
my 20s will have a super-long list of awesomeness, and I’ll have many fond memories of those things. but I also know that my 30s are going to have a super-long list of awesomeness, too. instead of picking an arbitrary date to be satisfied with yourself, just do things a little bit each week to reach your goals. it may take some planning ahead, but at least you won’t be in a rush every 10 years to do your 30 before 30, or 40 before 40 (yikes!) or evey 50 before 50 (wtf?!).