For the first time since we started this road trip, we stayed in one place for more than one night, a very pleasant change of pace. When we awoke on our 7th day of travel, there was no immediate rush to take down the tent and camping equipment, no fussing with the fluid levels or tire pressure and no early morning navigational challenges trying to find the best route out of town. Instead, we took our time making breakfast in the morning and left our tent staked in the ground while enjoying a day on the beach of the Black Sea. Not having any responsibilities other than feeding myself and applying sunblock left me with time to reflect on the big 3-0.
The first question anyone should ask themselves when contemplating this life milestone is: Why is turning 30 such a big deal to begin with? I feel as though if left in a vacuum, myself and any other person wouldn’t give this a second thought. I like to think I wouldn’t care, but I am sitting here thinking about it now because people have told me such things like, “your eggs are getting old”, “you should have a wedding soon”, etc., and I’ve witnessed friends sink into depressive and/or dramatic episodes over turning 30. So naturally I have to think about what I’ve done with my life up to this point and where it’s heading and how I stack up to that “What Women Should Have by 30” list, which I’ve now decided is bullshit. Sure it contains some good advice, but what woman needs a nice piece of jewelry to validate herself as a confident thirty-something? I mean, I do have every season of The X-Files on DVD, which is basically the same thing because they contain shiny floating objects and keep me entertained for hours, so I guess I might possibly qualify as a real 30 year old woman.
Getting back to point, after all of that reflection and measurement of my life’s accomplishments, I didn’t really come up with any great plan of action for my life or any inspiring conclusion other than that people waste too much energy and thought contemplating and validating their lives. Sitting here now, I’m aware of the irony in me even sitting here and writing this article, but I do have a point, I think. I’m glad I turned 30 because the only alternative would be death and in spite of the philosophy class I took in college, I’m not at a mature metaphysical state of mind where I can be comfortable knowing I’m dead. That really should be the end of anybody’s internal discussion. My hope for the future is that there’s less of a demand for these self-help articles about aging and when my nieces enter this stage of life they respond to it with the same answer they give me when I tell them to be nice to one another: “Whatever”.
Though if I did have to share one piece of advice for newly minted 30 year old women, and I think this actually should go for anyone at any age, it’s that the only “thing” you should have, know or do is understand one simple rule: this is the age when you stop comparing yourself to others or to anyone else’s standards. One of the biggest killers of self-confidence is when you start comparing yourself to other women and focus on what they have versus what you have. This is also likely to be the root cause of cattiness and jealousy amongst women, which also doesn’t bode well for emotional health. I know it’s corny and annoying to hear but assuming you haven’t murdered anybody yet, you should always because your life is fulfilling to you or you’re still working on it. Take me for instance. I’m single in the eyes of God and the government. I’m unemployed and after perusing the job market, appear to be unemployable. I have no kids. I’m still up to my eyeballs in student loan debt. I don’t own a house or anything else of significant value. Taking all of this into account and stacking it up against where my peers are and what society norms are, I should be downright ashamed of myself. I do get a little depressed at times when I sit and stew about it, and I also thought by now I would have given up on my blog, but I’m still here working away at the dream and that’s enough to keep me motivated for the time being.
Also, learning how to roll your eyes at anything that doesn’t please you, is a great tool to have as well.