On September 27 2021, I turned 30 years old.
I didn’t do anything big or fancy to mark it. One of my friends bought me brunch. I got a cupcake with my name on it at work. I got birthday messages from friends and family. It was all very nice.
But it just felt utterly inconceivable that I could be thirty years old. Shouldn’t I have it more together right now? Shouldn’t I know what I’m doing by now? Shouldn’t I feel more like a real grown up and not just a kind of sort of grown up mostly defined that way by absolutely not feeling like a teenager?
I would say I didn’t expect to be where I am now at thirty, but I’m not sure WHERE I expected to be. I’ve never been any good at hypotheticals. Being asked to say where I want to be in five years or ten years has always been very difficult for me. Hell, I was asked about something related to where I would be in a YEAR yesterday and I felt like I couldn’t properly know the answer to that question. How could I know before I lived more of the year??
I live about 20 minutes away from the home I’ve lived in all my life right now and this is the first time I’ve ever lived away from my family. I never did during my university years–I went to a school that was in the city and never ended up doing an exchange–so now, at 30, it’s the first time I’m doing so. It’s still in the same city, and I’m living away from home in an environment that’s very safe and easy to adjust to. Meanwhile, I see people my age getting married, or having kids on purpose, or travelling the world, or having had stable careers for years.
I’m not saying I want to be married or to have kids at this point in my life, I don’t. I certainly would like to travel more in some capacity. I’m hoping that the next year of the contracted job I’m currently in (which I’m enjoying by the way!) will give me an idea of what I want to do long term. But I still can’t help but wonder, shouldn’t I have it more together by now?
I guess the comforting thing about being thirty is realizing that even when you feel like you should have it more together than you do, there are other people who feel the same way that you do (Like in this post from my friend Paul, who is three weeks older than me and was far more eloquent and interesting in his post than I’m being right now). For every person I see who is getting married or buying a house, there’s someone else posting about living at home, or going back to school, or having a first date, or trying to take care of a pet fish. And deep down I know that everyone, no matter what stage of life they’re in at thirty, or whether or not they post it on social media, has days where they have no idea what they’re doing, or if they’re where they should be, or where they wonder “shouldn’t I have it more together by now?”
So I don’t know where my year of being thirty will take me. All I can hope is that a year from now I’m still here and still standing and can say maybe I have it a tiny bit more together than last year. Even just 1% more.