There are these moments of change in life that you see coming at you. You prepare yourself. You think you’re ready. And then they arrive, and you still can’t quite believe what’s happening.
All of that to say, one month from today, I will turn 30 years old.
It’s funny because I’ll have one group of people who are almost in shock, as if becoming 30 means you go through a metamorphosis that turns you into an scaly orange tentacle monster. Then I’ll have another group of people who just roll their eyes and tell me to get over it.
I try to follow the second group, but I feel torn between the two. The feeling isn’t new. Over the past few years, I’ve felt more and more unsure about where exactly I fit with my life. It doesn’t help that I’m a 90’s kid and a millennial who was technically born at the end of the 80’s.
I think there’s a lot of cool stuff that came out of the 80’s, but I don’t remember a single moment of life from that decade.
And now, here I am with the majority of my friends having actually been born in the 90’s. In some cases, I remember the year they were born. Meanwhile, all the people I know that are my age went off and got married, had kids, and/or figured out what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives.
I haven’t really done any of those things, so I find myself having a lot more in common with a person in their early-to-mid 20’s. They’re still chasing and discovering. They want to do fun things and go to new places. They have a spark to them that inspires me. Most days, I don’t have a problem being the oldest person in my crew. My friends don’t seem to either (not that they don’t make the occasional joke).
A random person might think it’s odd, but I’ve never really cared what random persons think.
Now though, I can’t say that my friends and I are all twentysomethings. Because I’m not.
And that frustrates me a little.
But it’s not as frustrating as those my age or a little older who seem to think they know how I feel or exactly what I’m going through. People who were married by the time they were my age. Had kids by the time they were my age. Had their house and their path all set by the end of their 20’s.
Trust me when I say it’s different feeling alone and directionless at 29 than it is at 21 or 22. I know this because I’ve been in both situations. To those who fit the description in that previous paragraph, I want you to know that my struggles now are ultimately different from yours, but it doesn’t make them less than yours.
We still have things in common. We can both relate to getting older and feeling older, but the dynamic of that is different. You worry that your kids are growing up too fast, or maybe that your days of fun are behind you, while I’m largely afraid that I’ll be alone and unfulfilled for the rest of my life.
Do you see the difference there?
Meanwhile, the last year of my 20’s has been one of the crazier years of my life.
The year started off with me almost quitting my job of 4 years. This is my career job. The one that uses that precious college degree. And I was on the edge of leaving it with no real options in place before me. The whole situation left me questioning everything about my life.
At the last second, I decided to stick with the job (and have been glad that I did so), but I also decided to take on a second job in hopes of chipping away at the demon that is student debt. Either that, or I’ll use the money as a down payment on a place of my own. I’m still deciding.
In April, I launched a book that I wrote. My very first one, written (and designed) entirely by me.
Just last week, I hit 300 days of consecutive piano practice. I should say, outside of taking lessons at ages 9 and 10, I didn’t grow up playing the piano. I decided I wanted to play it in my late 20’s, and have been trying to do so ever since.
Lastly, I’ve been to some amazing concerts (something I just started doing in the past year or two). At least 13 different ones. I even got in the middle of my very first mosh-pit. At 29. Thank you, Thrice, for the amazing show.
There’s a lot of other stuff I still want to do on that top of that. Things that I feel like I have to do. It probably would have been better to have done a lot of them by the time I hit 25, but I didn’t, and I’m not 25 anymore, and I still want to do these things.
So I’m going to.
Sure, I could say it’s too late for me to be good at piano (or guitar) because I didn’t play when I was younger. I could assume I can’t be a cool, insightful writer because I can’t quote Whitman or Thoreau or those hip, beat-poets. I could stop going to concerts because the people in the crowd (and often the band) are all younger than me.
I could work the bare minimum of hours at one job while making minimum payments on my student debt so I could still enjoy my life. I could stop playing music in church, the occasional wedding, or for myself. I could just relax during the evenings and weekends. Maybe I could create a profile on some dating websites and meet a nice lady who is my own age.
While I’m at it, I could get involved in some groups or activities with other people in their 30’s. I could cut all the extra stuff out of my life and settle for where I’m at, and I’d probably end up with an okay life.
And that sounds MISERABLE.
Even as I wrote that, I wanted to vomit.
I would reach my forties with this infection of regret under my skin, left to wonder what could have been. I already have some of that from my late teens and early-to-mid 20s.
When I was a teenager with all of these crazy hopes and ambitions, I thought I had to be in my mid-20’s before I could do something cool with my life. When I reached my mid-20’s, my life was such a clustercuss, I couldn’t do much of anything besides make it to the end of each day.
Now, here we are.
And I think I finally might be in a position to do something with my life. Or at least try. So I’m going try. I’m going to push myself harder than I ever have. Even as my body is pushing 30, my heart and my mind push forward.
Till my lungs give out.
That means I’m going to do the things I have to do to and go to the places I have to go to get to where I want to be. Where I’m meant to be. And I’m going to hang out with the people that inspire me to get there, regardless of their age (as long as, you know, they’re like 21+)
Because age is mostly just a number, as cliché as that sounds.
A month from now, you could say I’ll be another year older. I like to think I’ll be another year closer.
Closer to wherever it is I’m heading.