Thoughts on turning 30

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Today I have some more thoughts on turning 30 for you, brought to you by Mike at  It's a little longer than my usual posts, but it's definitely one you will want to read through from beginning to the end.



Two months ago I crossed over into the realm of adulthood known as my 30's. My fourth decade on Earth is officially underway. As unnerved about this as I was in the past 12 months, I am now decidedly at ease with the fact that my youth is officially done with.

"Lines form on my face and hands
Lines form from the ups and downs
I'm in the middle without any plans
I'm a boy and I'm a man."

Although those lyrics are from the classic Alice Cooper song "I'm Eighteen" , they're actually more appropriate for the age of 30 then they are for someone just getting out of high school. The fact that this song was written in 1970 says a lot about the evolution of the growing up process.

I am a member of the tail end of what's been labeled as "Generation X ". We've been accurately dubbed "The Slacker Generation".

The rites of passage that were coveted by prior generations as gateways to manhood are not only an object of indifference to today's budding adult male, they are often shunned in their entirety. This intentionally condescending moniker was obviously coined by the Baby-Boomers to express their displeasure of this fact. But, not only do we largely not care what they think, we actually have embraced the paradigm and use it as an emblem of our prolonged youth.

"We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives."  -Tyler Durden

Two cycles ago they were known as "The Greatest Generation". Then came The Baby Boomers and now us - the MTV watching, video game playing, know no hardship slacker generation. This is clearly a sore subject with the older folks and their apparent resentment over the fact the we've had the luxury of taking our time growing up. In their days, when you turned 18 you either did one of two things: you got a job or your joined the Armed Services - and with either choice starting a family wasn't far off. A handful went to college - but that was somewhat of an irregularity and was usually an option reserved for people of above average intelligence - which is in obvious contrast to the standards of secondary education today.

This generation's young adult male has the options of work, military service, four-year university or any combination thereof. Alternatively, they can incur a lifestyle of an '88 Honda Civic driving pizza delivery guy, living in his mother's basement with unhealthy addictions to Asian bukkake porn and Domino's Cinnamon Sticks, which by the way, are like crack for white people. And although the latter is still generally frowned up in the overall scheme of things, it still illustrates that the deadbeat existence of living off of the excesses of capitalism is still a viable choice for some of us.

*Turning The Corner - A Moment of Realization*

Although I've never been one to celebrate my birthday, I figured I would break the cycle of apathy by having a party to mark the occasion. It wasn't so much of a birthday bash but more of a going away party for my 20's.

I sent out a mass email to the people I thought might be interested in attending. The first one to respond was my friend "Mick", who is 32 years.

"Welcome!!" He offered in a jovial, congratulatory tone.

'Welcome', he says to me, as if this is some sort of accomplishment and I am now a card carrying member of an elite, exclusive group. Coming from anyone else, I probably wouldn't have given it any thought. But Mick is pretty much the only one of my friends who is significantly more obnoxious and immature than I am. After all, this is the guy who one Sunday evening last year emailed me a picture of his wife and newborn son, then 90 minutes later left a frantic, drunken voice mail on my phone worried that he'd inadvertently sent me a picture of his penis instead (full story).

But, it wasn't until another conversation with a psychiatrist friend of mine who really provided the proper perspective.

"Congratulations!! Enjoy it!!" She said.

I was confused, so she elaborated.

"Society has an unhealthy obsession with youth - and we try to hang onto it for as long as we can both in our appearance and in our behavior," she told me. "This is unrealistic and defeats the purpose of life. The purpose is to live and learn as much as you can, therefore every day your life is a little richer than it was the day before. In reality, your life really doesn't start to improve until you've lived a little and had some life experiences to draw from."

At that moment I had instant flashbacks to the creepy older guys you'd always see in the bars, desperately trying to hit on coeds young enough to be their daughters. I recalled the 40 year old used up hags with the skin-tight leather outfits and excessively heavy make-up flashing their aging tits at rock concerts. To them, even negative attention is courted. I had immediate feelings that I never want to be that, and then I wondered if they knew what they'd become or if they were oblivious.

From this, I've come to terms with the inevitability that the effects of aging, both mentally and physically that I'd witnessed on virtually every other person on earth are going to happen to me too. I think that's the reality of turning 30. The realization that this is actually going to happen, and that I'd better enjoy the stages of life as they naturally progress rather than worrying about every little milestone on the way to death. I've learned that although it might be socially acceptable to continue to act like a 24 year old would, the point of life is to evolve. Hang onto the fun memories, learn from the painful ones, and move on.


Related Posts:

On Turning 30 - My thoughts on turning 30
Turning 30 - Gary's thoughts on turning 30


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Thanks for sharing this! Very insightful and came at the right time for me since I'm turning 30 in two weeks and am trying very hard to accept that!

Hi Jaymee,

Thank you for the nice comment!! There's an element of finality that comes with turning 30... it's hard to describe - you'll just have to find out for yourself!!


Great post as always man! I'll be joining you come January 2010 so let me know how your journey goes. I actually look forward to getting older. Dunno why but I don't dread it like alot of people in the Boomer generation seem to. They all seemed to dread their 30s where as I can't wait!

Jaymee, I had the exact response you did when I first read the article. Mike did such a great job. I particularly liked the last paragraph that, I think, really puts things in perspective and helps ease the transition into your thirties.

Harold, thanks for stopping by. That's good that you aren't dreading your thirties. Really, there's nothing to dread! It's not so bad. :)

Thanks for sharing Mike.

Erin - seems you could have a whole new blog (or at least a category for this one) with people writing specifically about their thoughts on "turning 30" :-)

Ultimately, 30 is just one more than 29 - we place undue emphasis on this change, despite the fact that the numbering system was invented by humans, thousands of years ago - had the number after 29 been 2& (some other number, but still with the 2 at the front), would the change seem so significant?

Gary, I was beginning to think the same thing about being able to create an entire blog of "thoughts on turning 30"! I plan on getting even more guest posts (there seem to be a few new visitors here that will soon be turning 30) and somehow highlighting those posts on the main page (any ideas?!). I was thinking some sort of 125x125 icon somewhere but just not quite sure the best way to add it to the design yet.

It really is just a number, but I think we tend to correlate age with amount of experience. Therefore, we create expectations (amount of experience) based on age. 30 is a nice round number so it's an easy one to fixate on. For some reason we seem programmed to need to compare ourselves and gauge our success as an individual.

Thanks for writting this, I"m turning 30 in 2 weeks and am obviously having a crisis since I'm goggeling articles on turning 30 :) I like the perspectives here and am tyring to relax....

Hi Allison,

Thanks for the comment. Now that you're 30, does it really feel any different? I am 31 now, and it has gotten to the point that I don't really miss my 20's at all. That time was enjoyable, but it's time to move forward to see what else life has to offer.


Very insightful with just the right amount of humor! Was having drinks with an Irishman last night who's life slogan is "F$%& 'em if they can't take a joke". I've been having a hard time contemplating my 30th in less than 2 weeks and the last few weeks has been full of panic tears and total fear. Slowly, as I've talked to people the fear has eased and I'm feeling hope and a sense of adventure about it. But more than anything, I'm approaching it with humor. It defuses the anxiety and fear so effectively. There's reality and time marching on, waiting for no one. And then there's taking a breath to enjoy a moment, a success, a sunset. Life is this second, wonderfully imperfect, irreverent and unfair. Your psychologist friend was right. It's a learning experience and life improves as we gain experience and wisdom. Looking forward now to a decade of WISDOM, better decisions and hopefully better results!!

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About This Blog

Stories, advice, and random thoughts from a thirty-something female.

Many people in their thirties are dealing with common issues and concerns. Some of these include buying a home, establishing a career, starting a family, and dealing with aging parents. I will blog about all these things as well as other every day stuff as I make my way through this third decade of life.

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This page contains a single entry by Erin published on April 22, 2009 10:39 PM.

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