May 15, 2019

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Happy Birthday: I Turn 30, and Thoughts on Aging

Happy birthday to me, I’m officially 30! I wish I could say I met this birthday with excitement, but that would be a lie. Honestly, leaving my 20’s feels really sad to me, and I have a couple theories why. I don’t think this sadness will last though, because at the end of the day I’m still me, and I’m still having a really good time day-to-day with the people I’m surrounded with and the activities I’m able to take part in. This feeling on my age is definitely psychological… but that also might be why it’s so challenging to face. Well that, and now I’m an “official” adult. Ugh. LOL I have a friend though who assures me that at 30 you get to be more opinionated and give less fucks (as in none at all) so I mean… that would be cool if I can pull it off. Hahaha

My Dislike of 30

As I said, I have a few theories on why I’m not so pleased with turning 30. Some, none, or all of these may be true for me (maybe for you as well); I’m not 100% sure but I am exploring them (on my own, because despite knowing I need someone to help me with these things making that initial outreach is difficult).

Theory 1: I Don’t Like the Number 3 that much

Of the theories, this is definitely the weirdest. I don’t know if this is a “just me” kind of thing or not, but I have certain numbers I just really don’t like. They seem very dull, dry, lifeless, and otherwise uncomfortable. I don’t say this in a casual way either, I actually feel this, and see it in my mind’s eye. For me, from favorite to least favorite the numbers are as follows (presently):


The numbers sometimes move and change, but 5 has always been my favorite, and it’s usually a toss-up on if I dislike 7 or 4 more. 3 isn’t super far down, it’s right near the middle, and middle isn’t the top. Again, I know this is really weird, but I just have a thing with numbers (colors and letters too, to be honest; and words are even more insane).

On top of that, certain combinations of numbers change how I feel about them. For example, I like the number 2 a good bit (might be why I liked my 20’s LOL), but I disliked being 23, 27, 28, and 29 greatly. I don’t like any of those numbers. I don’t like the number 1, but 13, 15, and 17 are okay. It’s just something about how they combine… And when it comes to combining, I don’t really like most of the numbers in the 30’s. I’m not keen on the 40’s either, but I’m hoping I’ve numbed to it by then…

I mean, I’m even against living certain places because I don’t like the zip code… which drives my fiancee and family crazy. They don’t understand why it upsets me so much. I don’t understand why it upsets me so much. Sometimes I feel like I’m being over dramatic, but it really does bother me.

So yeah, there’s just this weird number factor. Moving right along…

Theory 2: A lot of Women on my Mom’s Side Died Young

This theory makes more sense than others by a long shot, but it’s honestly really depressing. My mother who passed last year (RIP Mom ♥) was 59 when she died. Her sister, my aunt, who also passed last year (RIP Aunt Linda ♥) was 69. Their mother passed in her very early 70’s I think (I was young, maybe 7 or 8, and I just remember Mom stating after Aunt Linda passed that Grandma wasn’t much older than my aunt when she passed away). So for me, with so much death happening so early… it’s kind of a mid-life crisis? I mean shit, for my mother 30 was her half-way point. For my aunt it would have been closer to 35, and same for my grandmother if I’m correct on when she passed. That’s not really encouraging (and I don’t even want to think about my uncle on that side that dropped dead at 46 of a heart attack out of no where…).
( : ౦ ‸ ౦ : )

Now, I’m trying very hard not to focus on this, but I cannot deny that it concerns me. I have always had a fear of the process of dying (the idea of being dead doesn’t bug me, just the process of getting there), and I definitely have a fear of dying young. I know that tomorrow is promised to no one, but ugh. All the cute phrases and philosophies does not change how I feel in this case. There is no amount of logic that can talk sense into my fears, because believe me, I’ve tried to out-logic them. Again, professional counseling would probably be amazing here but… sigh. That process of getting it set up causes a lot of anxiety and stress so I’m slacking.

Thankfully I can offer myself some comfort by reminding myself that I’m not just genetically my mother (though my father’s side of the family isn’t much better on longevity and co-morbidities…), and I also take a lot better care of myself than either of my parents because I learned from their examples. So I’m giving myself a boost in the right direction, but you can only do so much to fight genetics. Fingers crossed on unlocking some hidden potential with this one.

Theory 3: Expectations as a “Real Adult”

There’s just something about your 20’s that you feel like an adult… but you’re not a real adult yet. Like… there are folks who are more adult-y than you are. And now… now I’m that adultier-adult. I have to match some weird stereotype or something like that. This is definitely the vaguest of the feelings, but I’m going to explain it a bit further in my thoughts on aging. Basically though, it’s just that I’m sad to leave my 20’s behind, where I feel like it’s more acceptable to be experimenting with things. Likely, this is all just in my head, but that’s how it feels to me. Like suddenly a switch was flipped and the expectations on myself went way up because I’ve been around for three decades (or at least I’m close).

Theory 4: The First Birthday without Mom

I already didn’t want to turn 30, for a whole year honestly. As soon as I turned 29 I was sad that my 30’s were on their way. And my Mom could sympathize, she didn’t want to turn 30 either (and come to find out neither did Dad but I just found that out today LOL). Then, we lost Mom very suddenly.

So on top of the above reasons, there’s also the fact that I was the last birthday we celebrated before everything went downhill very rapidly with Mom until our sudden loss of her, and this also means I’m the last of the firsts to happen without her. I mean yes, there’s also Father’s Day, but that feels more like a Dad thing than a Mom thing, ya know? So this is it, my first birthday without her, and a kind of milestone birthday at that. On top of which this marks a first full year of firsts without Mom. It’s just really, really sad; and that feeling definitely compounds how I was already feeling about this age.

It’s definitely complicated. Lets get back to less depressing things though, shall we?

Thoughts on Age Categories

In my mind there are different categories of age. You’re already aware of some of them, but I feel they go beyond what is typically talked about.

To start with we have infants. Cute little vomit and poop factories that are experiencing the whole world for the very first time in this lifetime of theirs and can only communicate via crying. You can’t help but instinctually love them. I personally love that since they’re not my own, I can give them back (I’m not super comfortable around babies, but I do like them.)

Then, you get toddlers. The terrible two’s (and threes, and fours…) Now they’re mobile, they’re starting their regiment of “no” and “why”, and you might kill them if they watch the same movie one more time because you already have the music stuck in your head, you don’t need to hear it in actuality too. You love ’em, you can’t wait for grandma and grandpa to take them for a few hours and give you some quiet… time to clean the house.

After this, you reach childhood. Ages 5-9. They’re sweet and innocent, and say the damnedest things. This is that time where they’re starting to really develop a personality, and you’re getting the first glimpse of why your mom always said “when you have kids of your own, I hope they’re JUST like you!” Unfortunately, your mom was right and there’s a mini you with a mini attitude in your house. Lot of exciting times, but lots of times where you just wish you could reason at an adult level with this small human that doesn’t get that dirt is not the new clean.

Next comes Attitude 2.0… the preteen years. Ages 10-12. Puberty might start here, that’s fun. By now the child is reaching an age where their personality is really starting to shine through, but in all the wrong ways. They have a lot of learning to do, and you have to (somehow, as a parent) be the most patient teacher ever. Good luck, they’re going to push all your buttons.

Preteen leads into nothing more than the (dreaded) teenager. You blinked, and they went from 3 to 13. You’re going to watch as slowly (and yet all too fast), the years of innocence slip away into the years of exploration, and eventually, adulthood. I’d say this is probably the saddest part for a parent, because it’s when their baby is getting ready to leave the nest and break out on their own. It’s a time of rapid development and self-discovery, and unfortunately false-wisdom. I don’t think there’s a kid out there who in their late teen years (17, 18, and 19) doesn’t believe that don’t have it all figured out (and we’re not even going to get into the 13-14-15 year olds who will INSIST that they know better than you… they don’t LOL). Especially with the push to go to college and decide on a career by the end of High School, most teenagers seem really sure on who they are and what they want. They just don’t realize yet that they have no fucking clue.

This is where most things on age usually end, and everything beyond this is just adulthood, until you reach senior citizen. I’d like to amend that.

After being a teen, you become a pre-adult: ages 20-29. Like your preteen years but for adulthood, this is where you’re actually getting some real life experience. Everything you thought you knew about yourself as a late teenager gets reworked, rethought, and potentially remolded to fit who you will become via life experience. We all think we know ourselves at 19. Then we hit 29 and look back at how naive we were. There is so much you cannot learn sitting at a desk studying math, science, language, music, etc. The (possible) experience of moving out, holding a job, starting a career, long-term relationships, alcohol, drugs, bills, travel… all these sorts of things that aren’t accessible until this milestone of graduating (or somehow leaving) high school and getting into the world are going to offer a whole new perspective. These are also probably the most formative years of wisdom for some, and depending on their choice of direction will determine how fast or slow they acquire it. Someone who goes to college for four years and does dorm life the whole time is going to have a very different experience from someone who joins the Navy and explores the world, for example. Overall though, I’d say the 20’s are a time of experimenting 100% on your own accord, where your parents are no longer holding you back and all your decisions will bear consequences you essentially chose for yourself.

Adulthood, to me, really starts at 30. Now, you’ve had the fun of childhood, the angst of preteen, the transformation of being a teenager, and the true self-discovery of your 20’s. You’ve gathered a lot of wisdom and experience, and you finally arrive at 30. You have everything you need to be an adult, and you’re going to be expected to act like one. I think a lot of people offer more leniency to those in their 20’s because they remember that floundering to learn the ways of the world, too; even if subconscious. By 30 I think many have started families, have careers, and just a much more solid idea of where they’re going in life AND how to achieve it. I mean think about it, don’t you have a different perception when someone says they’re in their 20’s versus if that same person said they’re in their 30’s? How about their 40’s, or 50’s? Even if we don’t think about it, the different perceptions are there, and I think it’s a rather major shift from 20’s to 30’s.

You’ll be an adult until you’re a senior, and this is where the line gets a bit fuzzy, I think. The other stages had some relatively clear delineations based on knowledge and experience, but to me senior status comes when your body really starts forcing it on you. I don’t think senior status has to do so much with experiences, and more has to do with your body succumbing to time. That thing that none of us can avoid. So this will be purely individual, because I really think in our minds we don’t feel it (barring any diseases). I know so many spry 60 year olds, and then I look at how awful my Dad has treated his body over the years and he is definitely not a spry 60 year old. I know people older than my Dad who because they have less physical issues than him, seem far younger than he does. So in this way I think senior status is unique to each of us. I kind of think we actively get to decide when we’ve reached that point, in a way.

So For Me…

Based on this stuff, I’m just now becoming an adult. My pre-adult time is over, and it’s just… sad. I was excited to go from being a teen to an “adult” because at that time I thought I knew it all. I was so sure I knew who I was and what I was going to do. Now I look back and I realize that 19 year old me was a naive fool. Similarly I look at 30 year old me and I wonder and worry about all my decisions and the like. It’s a vast difference, and I don’t know that I like it. Thankfully, I’ll adjust.

Here’s to hoping that my friend Steph is right though, and this is the part where I really do stop worrying about the stupid shit and just get on with living 100% how I damn well feel like it (within reason, of course). Dirty 30, it’s here, it’s real, and time isn’t stopping for me so I better make the most of it. Now to just figure out how to beat my family’s history and live to at least 100 with a really decent quality of life.

A big shout out to friends and family too for throwing me a surprise birthday party too. It did help lift my mood in regards to this whole dirty-30 experience, and I am blessed to have them in my life. ♥ So now I party for the rest of the month, right? LOL

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