The big 3-0. It crept up on me last year and I celebrated with my friends like I was actually happy about leaving my 20s behind. In reality, I’m not sure how I actually got to be 31 since most days I feel like I’m about 23, in fact there are some days I’m convinced I’m still 16.
I keep seeing these lists and articles all over the internet describing the dreaded decade of thirty. Lists that are telling me where I’m supposed to be, what I’m supposed to be doing, and things I should never think of doing ever again. Exhaustive lists with headings telling me I should already be hiring someone to clean my shower, that I should be drinking expensive alcohol and not skimping on generic brands, and that Snapchat and Facebook should be out of the question.
I guess I didn’t get the memo. I didn’t know that entering your thirties meant you had to become a pretentious asshole as well. I still clean my own shower (and probably not as often as I should), I enjoy Beefeater gin because it’s cheap and gets me drunk when I feel like getting drunk, and I enjoy using all types of social media to stay in touch with my friends. Well fuck me, I must be failing at life.
Hell no. Don’t let anyone or any stupid internet article make you feel like you’re not where you’re supposed to be. Don’t give in to the pressures and fake pretenses that people from our generation seem to enjoy putting on each other. I can tell you that when I was 26 I was convinced I had my life together. Never did I foresee the twists and turns which would ultimately barrel me down and lead me on a journey of self-discovery which has brought me to 31: a bit banged up, a little muddy, but stronger than I ever knew I could be.
So screw all those people who make it seem like crossing over into your 30s means you have to have your shit together. If I’m being honest, most people at most ages don’t have their shit together 100% of the time. Obviously, the goal is to have a good head on your shoulders and be a kind person, but if you’re still cleaning out your own shower drains don’t worry, you’re not a disaster.
The things no one tells you about hitting your 30s is that we’re all facing some kind of struggle. Some people handle their struggles better than others and keep their shit under tighter wrap but hard days are real for everyone.
Some of us are single and wondering when the fuck we’re going to find someone who we actually care about getting to know, someone worth pursuing a meaningful relationship with. Others are married with a kid or two and not sleeping at night, getting puked on and shit on by little gremlins at all hours of the day and wondering if they’ll ever feel like a human being again. Some of us are going through divorces or custody battles wondering how we became so fluent in lawyer talk. Some of us are in happy relationships or marriages with people we sometimes can’t stand but ultimately love with every fibre of our being.
Some of us are in amazing jobs making more money than we ever dreamed of (or at least enough to sustain a pretty decent life) while others have had to take two serving job just to be able to pay their rent. Some of us are working towards our goals and not getting paid at all (or very little), sitting on university degrees and well-planned out lives wondering how we ended up here. Some of us are working decent jobs and getting by just fine but wondering if we sold our dreams short to have the life we thought we needed.
Some of us own nice houses, some of us rent small apartments, and some of us have had to move back in with our parents to be able to survive. Some of us are diligently saving half of every paycheque so we can buy a starter home in the suburbs.
What no one tells you about hitting your 30s is that there is no right or wrong way. There is no set plan that every single one of us must absolutely follow to become a true adult. There is no exam that tells you if you’re being a good 30-something but there are small life tests that we all face every day and those are important.
Those tests that assess our strength, that examine our kindness, that delve into our grit. Being able to acknowledge those tests is what sets our 30s apart from any previous decade. Recognizing who we are in the face of what we should be and standing up for ourselves no matter where we are in life. Knowing that we’re all struggling to find our way in one capacity or another and instead of judging like we may have in our teens or 20s, letting each other know “We get it”.
So be happy with your life however it has turned out. Work on improving yourself in whatever ways you see fit and continue to challenge yourself daily. Find joy in the life that you do have instead of comparing with everyone else and encourage others to do the same. That’s real maturity.
Now excuse me while I go sip some cheap wine and post this on Facebook. I’ll get to cleaning my shower later.