I recently posted a photo on Instagram about being half way to 30 – I’ve not thought about being half way to anything since I was 17 1/2 and DESPERATE to go clubbing…wishing my days away. This time it’s not the same feeling – but why?
Why turning 30 isn’t like turning 18:
- The obvious…it feels FUCKING OLD! Nobody raves about turning 30 in the media or elsewhere
- Society/family and peers tell us we need to have our shit together by 30:
- The career cracked
- The babies popped
- The ring on the finger or the long term partner in the bag
- The beauty / fashion regime nailed
- The finances on track
- the body honed and fit
- The mortgage acquired
- Pension pot payments
- At 18 all you need to worry about is:
- A level results
- Freshers week at Uni
- Outfit for Saturday night
- Saturday job / weekly pay packet (for Saturday night)
- Having a car to pootle about in
- Getting a snog every once and a while
- Hanging out with your mates
Overall the main difference is, it feels like all the good bits are behind you and not in front.
I want to bust this attitude WIDE open, not just for myself and my own anxieties about ageing – but for anyone else fretting about the big 3.0. I don’t believe it needs to be something to fear, or to feel resentful about. Here’s why….
In 1921 the average life expectancy of a British woman was just 59…59!!! So by rights women of the early 20th century had the right to freak out about hitting 30, because statistically that literally was the middle of their lives. But did they worry about it or did they just get on with life?
By 2011 women’s life expectancy had jumped to 82 and I’d wager that by 2021 – a hundred years on from the flapper girls of the 1920’s, most of us (if we’re lucky) could easily reach into our 90s.
I know my lovely Grandma who was born not long into the 1920’s herself will be looking down on me and laughing at the thought of 30 being considered old. She would tell me to enjoy myself and not worry about the small stuff.
The women in this photo don’t look like they were living life in the slow lane. They look like shining stars, burning brightly without a care for tomorrow.
Perhaps it’s that wartime mentality we’ve lost, which leads us to dissect and over examine all aspects of our lives, because actually we’re a pretty spoilt generation, as is our parents generation. We don’t know war, bombs, fighting, rations, air raid shelters – we DO know Facebook, FOMO, filters and throw away fashions. Which lifestyle is more damaging? All I know is that these women lived life day to day, not because they perhaps wanted to, but because they had to.
I truly believe you have to have lived to know that you’re alive. Nobody wants to experience personal pain or loss, but I’m realising it’s the only way to really appreciate what you have, at 30 or any other age.
When you think about it, most of us weren’t allowed to make our own choices fully and truly until we left school or university. I know I didn’t make my own choices really until I moved to London in my early twenties. So really, I’ve only been my own person, living my own adult life and making my own mistakes for less than a decade. That’s nothing!
So instead of thinking of 30 as a road block ahead of you, stopping the fun, ending your youth and limiting you. Think instead of all the freedom you continue to have with age, the ways you can mould and shape your life to make it what you want. You can get blind drunk if you want, stay stone cold sober, run about nude, climb that mountain, dance until you fall over, paint, explore, write…whatever you want.
But in the same breath, don’t put yourself under impossible pressure to have it all figured out by 30. If it’s only a few years on from necking four double vodka red-bulls the night before an exam or doing the walk of shame in a dishevelled bunny costume – don’t expect miracles overnight. You’re still you after all.