I turned 29 few months ago. 29. Almost 30.
Entering my 20’s was a roaring, thrashing affair, during my 4-year celebration of college. I don’t remember the specifics, more the general sense of freedom and carelessness. Who gets upset at turning 20? You’re almost to 21! You’re young, free, and unencumbered by the real world. 21 is even better. Booze! You get to act like a faux-adult. You express your new air of adult confidence. You own the world.
Then you leave the sweet haven known as college and enter the world. I was lucky. Jobs have been plentiful and rewarding in varying ways. 20 became 25 (a minor crisis in and of itself), and 25 became 29.
I grew up more the first two years out of college than my four in college. But I’d have to say, the most maturation happened between 27 and 29. Trauma with my family. Real-world career building. Home and responsibilities. Deciding what kind of adult I want to be. Entering a real long-term relationship. I try not to think too much about it, because it’s all a bit staggering at times.
And now I stand on the bleeding edge of 30. 30. When I was younger, it sounded beyond my reach. A distant land I wouldn’t venture into for decades. The mountains I’d have to climb first! To my current self, it seems young. Close. Looming. My memory of a perception and my current perceptions stand at a crossroad, wondering which one is going to move forward. Do I move into 30 with fear? Hesitation? Excitement? Apathy?
30 has a connotation of understanding. You’ve partied and lived and tried out life in your 20’s. Your 30’s should have a plan. You should know where you’re going and where you want to end up. Retirement thoughts pop into your head. Marriage. Kids. Buying a home. (granted many precocious members of my generation may have jump started many of these things already)
You have an excuse to live passively as a 20 year-old. You’re riding the wave. 30’s feel like intention. I should live with purpose and action. I feel more responsible for every decision. I feel like the crossroads is more than a mental flicker in the back of mind. I have to choose a path and go down it.
My brain knows this is silly. You can completely change your life at any point. Every moment in your life is a moment available for complete and utter change. You can have thousands of revolutions a year. You and your will power are all that separate you from anything and everything you want.
I know these things to be true. But I have a giant wall in my mind with 30 burned into the brick. 30 is coming. 30 is almost here. Get your shit together Ryan. Take charge. 30 is unforgiving and only fast tracks you to 40, 50 and beyond.
So I’m going to take a moment and let 30 have its fun. Seep into my brain. Scare me. Excite me. Torture me. And then 30 is going into a box to be locked away until this October. I’ll unwrap it like a present and try it on. I have no idea what it really means. What significance it will have in my life. But if 30 goes anything like 29 has so far, I’ll be damn lucky.
To all of you Not Quite 30’s. We’ll freak out together when the time comes. But until then, let’s put it away. Let’s stay 29 until the last possible second. Let’s channel that 21 year-old fresh out of college, unafraid of the world. Assumed the best. Excited about everything.