I am currently rolling down the backside of 29 and despite any efforts to hit the brakes, I will propel through the last six months of my twenties and crash into my third decade here on earth at full speed. They say thirty is the new twenty, but it’s not. No colloquial phrase (or Jay Z lyric) will ease the notion of turning 30 or the effects of aging. It’s just a statement intended to help those nearing the milestone feel better about the transition.
Here’s how I know:
1. While once viewed as somewhat acceptable, it’s now selfish to be selfish.
Okay, so maybe selfishness was never encouraged, but there was a little more leeway back in the day. Throughout our teens and early twenties, it was expected that we’d do or try things that required putting ourselves first. These were the formative years; times when we needed to follow our own instincts and explore opportunities that would lead us to discover who we really were. Things like spending all our money on trips with friends or taking a few years off of school to get down to the bottom of what we really wanted to do with our lives.
While we must never lose sight of doing what is best for ourselves, these days, many of us have others to look out for – whether that be children, significant others, friends or society. We’re no longer at the age where living solely with a “me mentality” is acceptable nor excusable.
2. With all the miles packed on over the years, your body now requires a little more TLC to keep moving forward.
Contrary to what our bodies had us believing back in college, living off a liquid + Ramen diet is a not sustainable approach to survival. If we’re not careful, age will offer an assist in turning us into lightweights at dinner and heavyweights on the scale. Time will never slow down, but our metabolism will, so we must take it upon ourselves to learn about our bodies’ needs and meet its demands. Educate yourself on the necessary nutrients and vitamins to maintain a balanced lifestyle.
The second part of the equation is exercise. You can eat all the natural, organic, Whole Foods items you want, but without keeping your body calibrated, you’ll end up in the shop much like the way your first car from high school always was. If you work a desk job like me and sit for 8-10 hours a day, even exercise won’t be enough. You’ve got to get up and move, every hour on the hour, so your body doesn’t get tricked into thinking it’s destined to stay put.
3. Life past 11 p.m. is nearly non-existent.
Back in college, I’d be getting ready to go out at 9, pre-gaming by 10 and rolling deep with my girls downtown by 11. These days, I’m getting ready for bed at 9, PJ’ing by 10, and rolling the in Zzz’s by 11. When I do somehow muster up the energy to make it out to a bar, I’m quickly left wondering what’s driving me to leave faster, the obnoxious, boisterous crowd or the warmth of my covers back home. The past few years have taught me that fun is found in many forms and doesn’t always require an elaborate plan or celebration. These days, the best nights are the ones followed by a manageable early morning.
4. You’re already halfway to retirement.
Split your age in half, and you’re back in the halls of high school without a worry in the world. Although those days seem long ago, chances are many memories are still so fresh and emotions still so vivid. Now, double your age, and you’re almost 60. Will you be able to look back on your 30’s with memories still so clear?
You’re one day closer today to retirement than you were yesterday, and while the picture of freedom may seem enticing, it won’t be so pleasant if you don’t have the money to fulfill your post-career aspirations. Start saving now, don’t wait until your next big birthday milestone!
Despite the early emergence of wrinkles and the occasional white hair, loss of eyesight, rough mornings and seemingly endless responsibilities associated with thirty, turns out, the transition may not be that bad after all. You’ve finally reached a point where all your hard work has paid off and you’ve set the foundation for yourself, your family, or your future family. You have a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the people that helped you to where you are today. You have the ability to make your own choices and create your own destiny. Sure, there are a lot of tough changes that go along with aging, but each birthday we celebrate is another opportunity to change the world, or at least our own.
Bring it on, thirty.