While it’s been a little while since I turned 30, I still remember that feeling at first that society expects me to feel. Oh no, I’m not longer in my 20s, I’m now 30. Where’d the time go? What have I done with my life? After asking myself these questions, I actually came up with a totally different mentality about it. My viewpoint changed to, it’s about damn time I turn 30, I did a lot in my 20s, and it’d be strange if I was going to stay in this decade of my life for much longer. I did get a good college education, but arguably this is something that more people expect you to start in your late teens and graduate early in your 20s. Well, I moved and I moved a lot in my 20s, I lived in 2 foreign countries, Sweden for a semester in college and Brazil for 3.5 years. I lived in 4 different US states and I never had a period of unemployment after college.
To be clear, I didn’t do all the things that society expected from me in my 20s. I never bought a house and I didn’t stay in one place for too long. Brazil was my longest stretch in one place and I always knew that wasn’t permanent. I wasn’t in a relationship, much less a serious one, and I didn’t have kids. But what I lacked in meeting societal expectations, I gained in adventure and financial milestones. I had friends around the world and I was in a unique situation to have the 30 days leading up to my 30th birthday off on a solo trip to explore Patagonia in Argentina and Chile and drink wine in the lovely region of Mendoza.
Now I don’t tell you this to make you jealous, I tell you all this because the mindset we have regarding milestone birthday is usually one of horror and after considering it, I was just another day older. I was excited to be able to celebrate this birthday in the way that I wanted to celebrate, by taking my friends and their significant others out for a fancy several course meal and wine.
So if you’re getting ready for a birthday, especially a milestone birthday, I encourage you to look back at the things in life that are important to you and see what you’ve accomplished. If you still haven’t accomplished the things you wanted to, now is the time to make some changes. Honestly, I feel like most people have already accomplished a lot even if it’s getting through a really tough time, making good friends and having a good support system in life, or having good health. As 5 or 10 years of your life pass you by, grab hold and determine what it is that you want to do and what will make you satisfied with life.
Note, I never really was good with the where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years question, but you probably have a better idea of what would make you happy in the shorter terms and potentially the longer terms. What are the things you’ll look back on and regret not doing? For me it was living abroad and learning a new language. I put a lot into making that dream happen and gave up a lot too, but I don’t regret it. I’m better for it, but it also wasn’t easy the entire time and definitely was a path paved at points with tears of frustration. There isn’t a fairytale ending you’re working towards, because even if you do find your prince charming you still have to put effort into the relationship to make it work and make it be what you want to be.