As 30 draws near for me and many of my friends I am struck by how many are in a state of alarm. I cannot say for sure how much of it is genuine and how much is just ingrained from hearing people continuously lament the aging process. Were I to take my mother seriously on how unwelcome age is I think I would have ended it before 25.
This is not to say that I am completely unaffected by turning 30 or aging in general. On the contrary. However, and I think most people over the age of 50 would agree with me, I do not think 30 is anything to throw back one’s head and cry ‘woe is me’ about. As a woman, I take particular satisfaction and consider myself very lucky to be turning 30 at this point in history. Women are, and have, accomplished so much. It was not so long ago that women became obsolete at 30 and then especially when their children were gone. They most likely did not hold jobs, did not exercise, go on ‘girl only’ vacations. Their homes and families were it. I am NOT in anyway demeaning motherhood or the home – I myself look forward to experiencing the ups and downs of family life. What I mean is we had nothing else and were not supposed to want anything else. I am not married and have no children – I would be seen as an outsider – a spinster even!
How then do I recommend this milestone of 30? I see it as a fresh start, a new decade. Indeed I have been attempting to tie off loose ends and make more solid plans for my future like buying a house and getting out of debt. I look at my life and that of my closest friends and family and others I am associated with. There are some who may have accomplished more and if I feel that I am lacking then now is the time to step up and achieve what will make me a better person and more satisfied.
I look at my family and friends and I think damn – I’ve been around for 30 years and look what I have. Very close parents – both still alive, still married – close friends, some old some still fairly new, I have a job that I look forward to and so many other things that make my life rewarding. I look at the people I know and, for the most part, I see the same for them. I just hope they see it, too.
Of course looking back on what I’ve written there are others who will read this and think well of course you feel that way, you’re young, you’re only 30. But aging is what it is – a process. My body will change, some things will get harder and of course, the inevitable but I am not at the point of inevitability yet. Not in the least and when I do dwell on the finality of life it is to make sure I am doing every damn thing I can to live it up, live it well and live it right.
Originally published May 16, 2007