How To Survive Turning 30 In 8 Easy Steps

Going bald isn’t something that happens overnight. Like gaining weight or your hair turning gray, it’s an insidious process that is so slow and methodical that you can kid yourself that it’s not happening. I’ve said to myself many times, my hair is not thinning, I just got a bad haircut. That wouldn’t just be a bad haircut. That would be the worst haircut.

We spend a lot of time lying to ourselves about the passage of time, but it’s a complete and total waste. I’m better off worrying about more important things, like where I left the remote (under the couch cushions) or how many calories are in the one donut I ate at my office (approximately 200).

In July, I’ll be 30 years old; the universal signpost that exclaims, “You are no longer a kid.” 30 is it. I’ve pulled out some of the hair I have left stressing about how best to mark this special birthday. Do I have a huge party? Do I stay home and contemplate the meaning of existence? Do I get really, really drunk?

Though it might seem arbitrary to declare this year to be more significant than others, it would be as unwise to ignore this milestone as it would be to dismiss the clump of hair in your shower drain.

In order to properly mark my passage from “neurotic 20-something” to “neurotic 30-something,” I’ve compiled a list of suggestions for myself that should make this transition as smooth as possible.

1. Find a Hobby

Developing a weird skill at 30 is the gift that will keep on giving for the rest of your life. If I learn to whittle or master a bunch of yo-yo tricks now, I’ll be able to keep doing it for decades to come. People will think it’s so swell that you even have a hobby. Who has hobbies anymore? “Exercising,” “cooking,” and “appreciating nature” don’t count as hobbies, by the way. Exercising and cooking food are things we have to do to not die. Standing in a forest is not an activity. Actually do something that takes time to learn and master.

2. Rewatch the Original Star Wars Trilogy

This is a good idea, because it reminds you that some things get better as they get older. Hopefully you will too. Just don’t watch the prequel trilogy, because George Lucas obviously went senile by the time he directed Episode I.

3. Get Really Into Sports

You’re probably going to start seriously considering settling down soon. If you’re not actively trying to get laid anymore, then you’re going to have to find a new outlet for your competitive nature, and a new way to replenish your self-esteem without having casual sex with someone you met at a bar. Developing a borderline sexual relationship with a sports team is the best replacement for dating. When your team wins, it’s comparable to a really exciting, but brief relationship with someone out of your league. When your team loses, it’s kind of like a messy break-up. The best part is that unlike dating, none of it is actually your fault.

Also, you can watch sports in sweatpants. You can’t meet potential sexual partners in sweats.

4. Avoid Acting Out

Don’t get a tattoo or a piercing just because you think you need to do something “crazy” on your 30th birthday. Neither of those things are actually crazy. What would actually be crazy would be killing a prostitute or declaring your apartment an independent, sovereign nation. Don’t do those either. Any activity done purely for shock value is almost always something that you regret years later. Leave that poor prostitute alone. Stop recruiting people to join your militia. Don’t get that sailboat tattoo. Just chill out.

5. Don’t Lie About Your Age

Here in Los Angeles, “growing up” is not a great career move. There’s a certain pressure to succeed as quickly as possible, because the older you get, the less likely you are to be appealing as a “personal brand.” Still, that’s no reason to be a liar. The only way to fight against the psychic troubles of aging is to do it gracefully. Own it, don’t hide from it. That said, this next suggestion is even more important:

6. Stop Telling Everyone How Old You Are

It’s not only incredibly annoying to constantly be whining about your age, it’s also rude to actual old people. Someone in their 70s or 80s that is legitimately grappling with the inescapable truth of oncoming mortality doesn’t need to hear about how hard it is to be 30. Those people will be shitting in a bucket soon. Leave them alone.

7. Date People Your Own Age

Relationships are a lot easier when you don’t have to worry about your naïve, apple-cheeked significant other dragging you to a club at 3 AM when all you want to do is stay in and watch Scandal reruns.

8. Remember That You’re Still Not 40 Yet

40 is the year when all your clothes magically morph into polo shirts and your idea of a night out becomes taking your dog for a walk down the block. Every decade of life is different, so why stress about the one you’re in? Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Want more life advice from Dave Schilling? Then buy his Thought Catalog e-book, Letters from My Therapist.

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