age is just a number

One Third Through

I turned 30 yesterday.

You know how, in our minds, we sometimes adhere to these concepts that don’t really have much relevance anymore (or perhaps ever), but because of how we were raised, or the movies we’ve watched, we just can’t shake them?

Take, for example, how people who grew up in smaller centres often feel Buying a Home is a colossal point on Life’s checklist, how if it hasn’t happened by such-and-such a time, you’re a failure or destined to be destitute? This, despite the fact in most urban places in Canada, no regular person can afford to buy, anymore, and plenty of generally successful people are renting well into middle age.

That’s kind of how I feel about 30. Logically, I know it’s no big deal, just like I know my world won’t collapse without a mortgage (it’s more likely to crumble under the weight of one, actually, but that’s another topic for another time). 30 isn’t “middle age”, it doesn’t signify the best of life has passed you by. The majority of rom coms re built around 30-something characters, perhaps because screenwriters know 25-year-olds are less likely to relate – they don’t want to think about settling down or finding that “forever” job just yet.

But, despite knowing this, despite not feeling old or overly behind in my achievements, 30 gets a tad worrisome when I let it because for so long, 30 was a major life cycle marker.

30 used to be old. I don’t mean back when people only lived to 35, I mean back when I was 10, 12, 16 even. My teachers were 30, my friends’ moms were 30 (ish), the actors on Friends were 30. 30 was decades and kilometres away, some distant milestone reserved for people with jobs and bills and cars.

Now, I have a job and bills and a car. Does that mean I’m old? Forget that “40 is the new 30”, or that the oldest person in the world is nearly 4 x 30, or that I haven’t a single grey hair (another fallacious determinant of old age). Sometimes, decisions I made in the whims of childhood rear up – batting down logic and common sense – and whisper to me that I’m running out of time.

When those thoughts decide to stop by, I fight down equally childish desires to call my mom or just curl up and cry (usually). Instead, I set sleep on a back burner, roll out of bed, and scrawl rambling blog posts in notebooks.

I’m 30.

It’s ok. Most of us are, sooner or later.

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