I’m Turning 30 Soon and I’m Not Okay, Thank You for Asking
Here we are, the big 30. The age that I always thought was too far away to even care. I mean, I knew I was getting closer, but now I’m really getting closer.
I know what you’re gonna say: every age is a great age, it’s not the age that counts, you just need to stay young in your mind, or whatever you tell yourself to feel better. I’ve heard it already, but please try telling it to my growing anxiety, shrinking patience, and lower back pain.
You can’t reverse this shit. Half of humanity has tried, and I still haven’t seen anyone patent anything. So, for the sake of this story, can we all agree that aging sucks and that there’s no coming back from it?
Now that we’ve cleared that out, let me ask you this: since when accepting something means that we have to completely ignore it and act as if we were totally fine with it? I’ve been trying to talk about my fear of getting old, only to have people tell me that I was being silly. Or is it that they don’t want to admit that they have the very same fear?
I can’t help but wonder if we weren’t better off when getting a facelift and trying to match impossible Hollywood aging standards was a thing, before we went all “everything natural is beautiful and we have to embrace it with arms wide open.” At least we were honest about not wanting to get old.
Fear of getting old is only human. We know our time on earth is not infinite, and we want to make the best of it. We’re all the same that way. So why is it that we have to go into so much trouble to act like it’s not a big deal?
Getting old(er) is a big deal, and it’s okay to feel that way. What we need to do is embrace our feelings and learn to live with them, instead of trying to ignore them altogether. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been tempted to adopt the whole “30 is just a number” attitude, but then I realized that the only way I was gonna be okay with it was to deal with my feelings.
Okay, 30 is just a number, and I’m not gonna suddenly become an old lady on my 30th birthday. But here’s the thing: numbers are symbols, and our society values symbols a lot, especially in the form of numbers, hours, or dates. We make resolutions for the new year, we wait until it’s a sharp hour to get to work, we make plans to start a diet next Monday, and we read medium articles about the 30 things we need to do before 30.
My point is that even if your life is not gonna suddenly start going downhill on the day you turn 30, or 40, or 60 for that matter, birthdays are kind of a reminder that you’re one step closer to your grave. Not to sound dramatic.
Plus, your body does change, and it’s only natural to start being anxious about these changes. I don’t burn fat as fast as I used to, my hangovers last at least 4 business days, and my hair is turning grey. Sure it sounds superficial, but we care about these things. And that’s just the easy part. What really has been a drag is the growing fear of having regrets.
And our dear society does not make it any better. As a woman, I feel pressured to start thinking about having kids. Tick Tock. It’s like I have a few years left to make this huge decision, at the risk of forever regretting it. So yeah, I know times have changed and all, but can we take a minute to appreciate how hard it is to start having to make such huge decisions?
Most of all, I understand now what people mean when they say that time flies. There it is: understanding this expression is your tuning point. We become increasingly aware of the passage of time as we grow older. When you’re 5 years old, 1 year is a fifth of your lifetime, but when you’re 30, 1 year is nothing, and it passes really fast. It’s like this huge sword of Damocles that gets bigger every year, and we constantly have to adjust to it. I can feel that time goes a little faster every year, every month. So minimizing the impact of getting older and acting like we don’t care is not what I would call healthy and sane.
Aging means always having to accept our human condition, and it’s terrifying, but I’m still grateful for the opportunity to grow old(er). I’m grateful to get to live new experiences and spend more time with the people I love. I do feel more confident about some things than when I was in my early twenties, and I believe I learned a thing or two about human beings and society. Though life will always find a way to throw curveballs at you, you become better equipped to deal with them as you get older. So aging does have its perks once you come to terms with it.
But see, the first step of acceptance is always awareness. It’s certainly not denial. So yeah, I’m turning 30, and no, I’m not okay, thank you for asking.