Mark Twain once said “age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” In his own way he must have been right, but considering my Eastern European culture thirty is regarded as the age of maturity. In our traditional society people expect that at this age you must be a complete human being, both professional and personal. It’s expected you are married, have a child or two, have a house of your own, a car and a job you’re proud of, because you’ve worked you’re a*s off to get here. Me, I’m one year to go, but I’m still not sure about the maturity bit and everything involved. I totally feel Bridget Jones now with all her uncertainties.
If you are really lucky you might be very successful by the age of 30, in that case let me congradulate and wish you all the best in the future. You also might stop reading now as the following paragraphs don’t refer to you.
But if you are not very successful you must know by now that life is not as simple as you thought in your 20’s I’m sorry to disappoint whoever it is that dictated the rules above, but they don’t apply to our society anymore. That is why I thought of the three big groups you might find yourself when you get to this age:
1. Still undecided. You didn’t have much time for your professional life as you were too busy having fun and travel while still young. If you were a rebel, that last thing you wanted in your 20’s was to get stuck in a boring job. You loved to experiment and tried to find your true calling. So when the time is ticking you are probably still not sure what you want to do in terms of profession, even though you owe one or two degrees. You still jump from one job to another, your salary (or lack of it sometimes) sucks, but at least, if you’re lucky, you might have found the love of your life already. If not, you’re still searching, hoping that he’s around the corner, embracing the life of a singleton :).
2. Unhappy workaholic. If you wanted to concentrate on your career as soon as they left the University, then by now you must be where you set your targets in your early 20’s. You might have some regrets once in a while because you missed all the fun. But everything in life comes with a price and you kind of accepted the one you paid. Even so, you want to be a CEO in a couple of years, so you chose to spend most of your days in the office. The big problem comes when you go home for Christmas and all the relatives are constantly asking about your personal life, which at this point is nowhere to be seen. It seems somehow that you missed your train and now you don’t particularly have the time nor the energy to wait for another one. There are moments when you feel kind of lonely and wish to have chosen differently, but you move on because there’s another important project to present for the next day. At least you are doing something with your life.
3. Young parents. And here you are: met your soul mate in your 20’s, got married soon after and already gave birth to one or two children. You have steady jobs and a good life per general. But sometimes you just need some time for yourself and 5 minutes peace (like that children book with Large family 🙂 ). There are also the exotic holidays you’ve planned for so long when you were younger, but now it’s too expensive to go all four. The children came too soon, but at least you are going to be younger grandparents.
And these, my friend, are the uncertainties of big 30. The truth is that the real maturity lies in stressing about certain things. Things that don’t turn out, the way society thought you they should. Maybe you stress because your babies don’t stop crying in the middle of the night and you have a big day at work in a couple of hours. Maybe is the fault of your job which requires all your time. Maybe is because of your partner, or, to be more precise, the lack of it. All in one, you must stay calm and remember that all of us are facing it sooner or later. And there’s something else, even geniuses we know today were having a hard time at the age of 30. Michael Faraday was swiping the floor for another scientist which we never heard of, Marcel Proust was still living with his parents and Nicola Tesla was broke. Even Leonardo da Vinci himself, was painting portraits of the hanged criminals in Florence, a job nobody was happy to do. Even J.K. Rowling was struggling by this age.
So there you go, no reason to stress. 30 is just a number like many others, not a reason to get all anxious. You can transform your life way past this age and if it make you feel better, Da Vinci painted “The Last Supper” when he was 46, far too old for those times. In other words, smile, be happy and enjoy every second cause things can change in the blink of an eye so there’s no point to stress over small things like age.