When I was sixteen, I used to think 30 seems rather bizarre and far-fetched. I reckon, by 30, I would have it all figured out – like being financially stable, owning a big house, driving a fancy car, married with maybe two kids, the list stretches all the way to the north pole. It is unclear to me how I could even begin to think of such thing and how many seem to share the same vision. Now that I am just an inch away from turning 30, the age I so much dreaded once upon a time, I am proud to say that I am nowhere near what 16-year-old me would have thought I would become and I am okay.
Perhaps, I could blame that episode of Rachel turning 30 from Friends and how that show and many others made it seem like 30 is the end of an era. How you are supposed to accomplish these long list of achievements as though you were just told by the doctor that you have three more months to live. And how they had kept me foolishly believing that being 30, you are supposed to be mega-successful, you live in immaculate homes, you have a successful career, you walk in Choos or Louboutin in confidence and wear a suit that accentuates your figure, coffee cup stained with your bold lipstick in your hand as you cross the street to work. I may or may not have watched too many movies. I do not understand how it had all begun, the obsession with 30 as a marker of achievement. If only I could pinpoint the incunabula of such absurdity.
Women are expected to get a degree, get a job, be successful, date an insane amount of mr assholes before you could hopefully meet the least asshole of them all, find someone to marry, hope to God that you did not marry the wrong one, figure out how to be a wife, procreate, figure out how to be a mum and do it all before you turn 30. That seemed easy when I was writing this so-called plan when I was 16. Graduate. Be successful. Get Married. Have children. Easy peasy. The wishful or gullible 16-year-old me never would have anticipated the things that come in between. How these “things” come in so many forms like the nights that you weep and begin to question your self-worth, or comes in a form of a crazy ex-boyfriend, or anything really that would yank your steering wheel from multitude of directions and causing you to careen into massive walls and dividers repetitively. The umpteen times you have to swerve your severely dented vehicle and hoping that you could get back into the right direction while others are going at full speed, way ahead of you.
Honestly, I felt the pressure for quite some time. The number of times I had burst into tears thinking how I am good for nothing. How I have no idea what I am good at. How I am close to turning 30 and I have yet to have it all figured out and not knowing how long I will be stuck in this quandary while I see others seem to have their life figured out. I remember asking my dad once, “You know how some people try so hard but they still fail in life, is it possible if I am that,” and dad would just give me the incredulous look. At 30, you are supposed to be at the pinnacle of maturity and have it together but the truth is, whether you are 40 or 60, life is a continuous learning process and there is no end to learning. And I have learned that you just have to stop trying so hard to make things happen, stop forcing things to happen when obviously, it’s not working out. You are exactly where you are supposed to be right now. Slow down. You are progressing.
I reckon, 30 is just a beginning and we need to stop treating it like it’s a destination. You have come this far, you have somewhat matured, and these experiences you carry with you, all those heartbreaks, all those disappointments, have given you a fresh perspective of life. The more you age, the more you learn. You are no longer this gullible 16 year old girl, and despite what you think, you have progressed. Give yourself some credit. Just drop out of that race we have concocted in our heads for decades and live life at your own pace. After all, success is subjective. To some, success means having a million in the bank, and to other, success simply means being able to breath.
I am happy to say that turning 30 no longer bothers me. Like I said, 30 is just the beginning.