There have been countless articles written about the transition between adolescence and adulthood. By twenty-five you are expected to replace the futon with a proper sofa, replace drinking binges with a wine collection and transition from nightclubs to art galleries. Obviously this is not always the case. Adulthood develops slowly in 2014. It is no longer considered socially unacceptable to still be finding yourself in your twenties.
What about thirty though? Or better yet, thirty-five? Certainly thirty-five is an age where one is expected to be well established in one’s chosen career, a parent and preferably a homeowner. I am a few of these things. I am thirty-five. I am a parent of two young boys. I have been married for almost nine years. Lastly, I am well established in my career of choice. Well somewhat my choice.
Why them do I feel like I am missing something? It is not the lack of home ownership. I rent rather than own mostly because I move every three years because of job. I am not comparing unfavorably with friends that I grew up with or friends that I now have.
I feel most of the time like I am still the same young and naive girl from over ten years ago. Only when I look at a photo of me or see another person around my age do I realize that I am most definitely not in my 20s anymore. Maybe it’s because I still know how to annoy the hell out of my spouse. Nine years of marriage has taught me a lot of things. How not to annoy my spouse is not one of them. On the other hand I do believe you become a better spouse the longer that you are married. I still know how to be lazy like it’s an art form. On the other hand I know when not to procrastinate for even a second. There is nothing like having young lives depend on you for a little bit of maturity.
I think maybe that all of us though as children that when we grew up we would know all of the answers. We thought when we were kids that parents and other adults were mature, knew how to behave in every situation and that we would someday as well. Oh well, I guess the jokes on us.
What I do know:
1. Marriage can age well. Despite first year marriage bliss, marriage actually does get better over the years. Your lives are much more intertwined, your collective memories become important to you. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of ups and downs when you’re looking at a nearly decade long relationship. Especially when you add children and financial strains to the mix.
2. Don’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses AKA your Facebook friends. You never know how many of your friends live a lavish lifestyle on credit cards and loans. Nobody looks down on you for driving your old dependable Toyota.
3. Work out. I won’t lie. I do not like working out all that much. I work a lot of hours. I have kids that I want to spend a lot of time with and I could read nearly all day if possible. I do work out however. Time catches up with each of us at different ages in our life. For me it was …well this age, 35. Besides keeping my energy up and keeping my weight down, running keeps me healthy. When you finally reach your mid thirties, you finally think about heart problems, cholesterol and blood pressure. I run for my kids nearly as much as I run for myself.
4. Parenting is the most difficult job. It’s not a cliché and I can see why a few of my friends still haven’t taken the plunge into parenthood. It’s 24/7, non-paid, physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting and downright scary. Despite my dour depiction of parenthood I wouldn’t change my lifestyle. I have never had a more rewarding experience than watching your children grow and thrive. I mentioned earlier that I can be lazy. Not with my children. My children depend on me to make good decisions. They depend on me to keep them healthy, safe, and educated. I’m not always sure what I believe in. I do believe in being the best parent I can be. I can only influence them for so long.
5. Start saving and investing. By thirty-five you want to be putting away as much as you can in a long term retirement account. Suddenly you realize that you’ll actually be at the end of your career someday. You don’t want to realize this when it’s too late to save adequately.
6. It is time to stop blaming your parents, family, childhood. You’re in your thirties. Your youth in all its glory and its failures is over. Period. You create your life. Your hard work, good disposition or lack thereof is what determines your fate nowadays.
7. Use your time wisely. As you get older, you find that you have much less time for sleeping in, silly friends and all night drinking. Suddenly having an hour to read the newspaper for an hour thrills you. The same goes for movies. No more time for bad movies anymore.
What I do not know still:
1. Twitter. Yes I know I am only thirty-five and I should know how to Tweet. Oh well. I did manage to make an account which I haven’t used. The same goes for Instagram, and all the other countless social media sites. Yes I know everyone on Thought Catalog has everything linked and well presented. Just not me. I guess Facebook really is for us old fogeys.
2. How to do a cool handshake. Kind of like that last thing. I am only thirty-five but still shake hands like I did as a kid.
3. How to type without looking at the keyboard. Does anyone under fifty? Oh well.
4. How to be pretentious. Nearly everyone I knew in high school seemed, pretty cool. I can’t put my finger on it but somewhere between your late twenties and early thirties everyone changes. When I walk around and I see fellow thirty-somethings I often see people trying too hard to impress. This is one thing that I deeply glad that I haven’t learned.