Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thirty is the new who cares

Never too old to 'meme'
Thirty is the new 'who gives a toss how old you are'. An indifference I expect will - naturally and counter-intuitively - increase with time. The happiest people in the world don't care about their age. Most of them are 'old'. Writing about getting old at 30 must seem as foolish to anyone older than me as it would seem normal to most people younger.

"Are you feeling older and wiser today?" my workmates asked on Tuesday - the day I dropped the "2" prefix forever.

"Yeah," I replied. "Same as every other day."

I don't feel anywhere near as old as I probably seem to those kids that drunkenly stumble around the bars around the corner from my house. Not that I care. I was the same. They'll get it one day. Maybe.

My 18-year-old self would have been shocked to find out 12 years on I'd be renting in a share house, with no wife, no girlfriend, in a barely-satisfying job.

Aging worried me more when I was 16 than it does now. I was dumb. Why spend today worrying about how you might feel tomorrow? How else is there to live other than moving through life?

People complain about getting old, but no one wants to miss out on the privilege.

I didn't get it, but you're not supposed to, otherwise what would be the point?

I could never have dreamed of my life at 30 - the people, the opportunities, more actively getting out and seeing things, looking at small gigs and realising that not everyone buys into the myth of adulthood that's sold to us early on, not everyone lives by the numbers. It can still be fun and that doesn't mean balking at the responsibilities and serious stuff. It just means being happy. I don't have to be married right now (or ever); I don't have to have kids, though it would be a shame given how awesome an uncle I am; I don't have to be bidding on houses in places I can afford but don't want to live; I don't have to start tuning in to classic hits radio.

My twenties were tough. And fantastic. And memorable. Defining. I've picked up so much and left behind a restrictive, miserable, instructed way of thinking about myself and the world. I realised that it's weird to be normal and it's normal to be weird. Normal for you is who you are, what you desire, how you express yourself. Guaranteed it will seem weird to other people but that's just a great filter of figuring out who is worth talking to.

I've never been older, I've never been happier.

Thirty is a good round number, so it's a worthwhile time, sit back for a moment and think about how things are going, write a blog post perhaps.

Life is moving fast, as ever. There's more to do than can be done. But you will never have so much life left again.

Mostly, turning 30 has made me think about my priorities and how to achieve what I really want from my life, particularly the next few years.

Saturn's Return has fascinated me for a few years, because I wanted it to be truth. I wanted upheaval in my life, and better if it came because of some external, universal force that didn't require me waking up to myself. I wrote one of my first blog posts about it, on the occasion of my 28th birthday.

I was excited about this period when “a person crosses over a major threshold and into the next stage of life”.

“The first Saturn Return is famous because it represents the first test of character and the structures a person has built their life upon. According to traditions, should these structures be unsound, or if a person is living out of touch with his or her true values, the Saturn Return will be a time of upheaval and limitations as Saturn forces him or her to jettison old concepts and worn out patterns of living. It is not uncommon for relationships and jobs to end during this time of life restructuring and reevaluation.”
And on turning 30:

"During this time astrologers note that goals are consolidated and people tend to gain a better vision of where they are going in life. There are added responsibilities and a person may reap the rewards from his or her hard work. Many major life milestones seem to happen around the ages of 29 and 30. This is why astrologers believe that the thirtieth birthday is such a major rite of passage because it marks the true beginning of adulthood, self-evaluation, independence, ambition, and self-actualization.”

Maybe I just wanted it to be true, I had the right mindset to make it self-fulfilling. Maybe it was coincidence that that girl passed through my life right at that time and shook everything up. Whether astrological, psychological or random chance, the last two years of my life have been the most amazing, most transformative, of my life. Or perhaps I'm just more aware of myself now.

"You're shit - do stuff!": Friendly advice in early 2010
Two years ago I desperately wanted a relationship, partially as a distraction from myself to make me happy. Instead I did it myself. I had some guidance and good friends, friends who saw the gap between my life and my potential and were willing to say "You're shit, do stuff!". And I did, I am, I will. I got to work on being happy with myself so I could get going pursuing the things that made me happy. I'm keeping an eye out for that special someone, whoever she is, but I don't need her anymore - to the resistant dismay of some friends. There is so much else in my life that drives me and makes me happy anyway. I will never rely on just one person for companionship, inspiration, advice, conversation, wisdom, fun, telling-it-like-it-is, love and everything else my friends provide. I am tired of spooning my pillows though.

The notion of being a grown up is bullshit. It suggests being done growing. No one never knows much at all, and we know taking life too seriously is hazardous for your health. The day I stop growing as a person is the day I say goodbye, be it 30 or 80.

Today is always today. Yesterday is a memory. Tomorrow will never arrive. This is the start of what I expect to be the best decade of my first four. But maybe it won't be. Maybe I won't see it out. I'll just enjoy living it for better and worse. I'm not going to base my life around a job I don't like and work towards a day I might not reach, only to get there and wonder where the time went?

I'm the least stressed member of my family and I'm the one living the least conventional life (and the one with the - diagnosed at least - anxiety disorder...).

Every day is a highly unlikely gift, so don't make it a cliche - you're not one, once you realise it. Even if that sentence is.

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