If You’re Almost 30 And You Feel Like You’re Losing Your Mind, This One’s For You

Unsplash / Amanda Sandlin

What’s going on with us? Every almost 30 year old I’ve talked to seems to be having a complete identity crisis. We don’t know what we want. We’re not happy. We feel despondent. We feel hopeless. We’re still young and yet? WE DON’T FEEL YOUNG. We feel like our best years are behind us and what’s next is just… time. Lots and lots of time… that we wasted. So! Much! Time! Wasted! What have we been doing for the past decade? DECAAAAADE. Yes, an entire decade of adulthood has passed by us. What has happened? What is time?

I don’t know what this weird phenomenon of people our age is. Maybe it’s a generational thing. Maybe everyone goes through a little bit of a craziness before they hit a milestone age. But, I have a feeling we’re down on ourselves because we’re not living up to who we thought we’d be by this age. Do you feel that? Do you feel like you’re not the person you thought you’d grow into? I could list off every accomplishment I thought I’d have ticked off my list by 30. Bestselling author. Millionaire. Homeowner. World traveler.

When you’re 20 or 21 or 22, you look up at the high rise of 30 with wonderment, projecting all your most exciting hopes and dreams onto that age. Forty is too far away to conceptualize. Fifty is unfathomable. But 30! Oh, the person we’d be when we’re 30! So well-adjusted. So successful. So sexy. So everything we weren’t at age 20 or 21 or 22. So, we project all those hopes and dreams onto our 30 year old selves and we hope and we dream and we think it will all unfold, because our vision was clear. We knew what we wanted!

And then, life happens. It happens in the most extraordinary, dull, boring, fun, amazing, exhilarating, heartbreaking moments. We get busy in the business of living and project out more. We’ll be this and that and don’t forget about THIS and THAT when we’re 30. Oh, we’ll be everything we’re not when we’re 30. It’s gotta be some sort of defense mechanism because if we couldn’t hope and dream to be those things when we’re 30, we’d probably stop trying all together. We’d just start drinking or doing drugs or just fucking our lives away because there would be no hope. So I don’t think this is disparaging to us. We needed to project and hope and dream.

But, the time is now. It’s happening. Maybe you’re 30 or maybe 30 is looming just around the corner. And you’re feeling that heart-stopping panic. That rumbling in the bottom of your stomach that says: you didn’t do it, you failed, you fucked it all up. And, you do the worst thing you could do: you look at people younger than you and you project the lives you think they’re living onto them. Look at this person writing a book! Look at that person traveling the world with complete abandon! LOOK AT EVERYONE YOUNGER THAN ME DOING THE THINGS I WANTED TO DO BUT DIDN’T DO THEM BECAUSE I WAS LIVING MY OWN GODDAMN LIFE UGHHHHHH TAKE ME BACK SO I CAN DO IT OVER I KNOW BETTER NOW.



But here’s the thing: it sucks. This all sucks in the way that regret in your belly sucks. That regret feels like acid sitting at the bottom of your stomach, just stewing there, reminding you of your inadequacies.

But, here’s what I really, really, really, really, really believe to be true: we are all experiencing the life we are meant for. I don’t mean that in the overtly positive—it’s all perfect!—way, but I mean, we are souls having a human experience of what it means to be alive in a physical body. (This is what I believe, so you can choose to believe what you want, but hey, this is my essay I get to say what I believe.) I believe that we are here in the exact experience we are meant for. We may have these hopes and dreams, but those hopes and dreams don’t have a timeframe, not usually. And, honestly, part of being a human and having physical experiences is knowing what it feels like to let ourselves down and regret and feel like we could have done better and making commitments to do better next time and learning from our past and learning from mistakes and stewing in our own shit. THIS IS PART OF IT. It’s not just about rainbows and sunshine and The Secret-ing abundance and perfection into our lives. We have this skewed perception of things, that if we positive think and choose happiness then we’ll suddenly create money or accomplishment out of thin air. It doesn’t work like that. We are here to experience the multitude of feelings and emotion, which means that sometimes we are ordained down a path which will show us disappointment and fear and grief and anger. We cannot throw out the bad in search of the good. It does not work like that. There is a dark walk through the tunnel to get to the light. There just is.

And, here’s the thing: we could build a library of the things we don’t truly know about our world. There is so much that is unfathomable and indefinable and so vast and so grand that we cannot understand it with our human brains. Our souls can feel it, but our brains cannot define it. We must learn to be okay with that. We must learn to understand that sometimes we will not know exactly why certain tragedies or certain events happen or why we have hopes and dreams that will go unfulfilled and why some suffer and some thrive. We cannot always know. We want to know so desperately, to put some logic to everything, but it doesn’t work that way. When I try to understand everything, I remind myself that the solar system we live in is so vast and so unfathomable and so incredibly complex that we are still discovering new aspects of it. This is but a small part of what we cannot fathom about our world and perhaps that’s frustrating and disappointing, but to know and see that there is so much you do not know should be freeing. You can live. You can accept where you are and what is meant for you and what happens to you because IT IS YOURS. IT BELONGS TO YOU.

So, this turning 30 bullshit belongs to you and to me. This is where we are. And, the best we can do right now is acknowledge the past decade, see where we were, where we want to be, and move towards that. All we can do is keep showing up fully to our lives and seeing what next grand adventure awaits us. And, I don’t know about you, but that seems pretty fucking awesome to me.

Good luck on the journey. We’ll get through it. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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