Living Our Best Thirty-something Lives

My 29th year was when things started to click for me, personally and professionally. I finally found the courage to quit a job I’d long hated and leave a city I liked even less. I was still working really hard, but felt like I was finally gaining some traction. It was around age 29 that the number of fucks I gave about other people’s opinions dipped to critically low levels. Which freed up all kinds of mental and emotional space for the stuff I was really passionate about.

I don’t think I’m the only one. The late 20s and early 30s seem to be a turning point in many modern women’s lives.

Ann Friedman riffs about the joy of being almost-30 in the Cut today.

All of my friends are summer babies, it seems, and we’re all turning 30 and asking each other how it feels. We dreaded it a few years ago, making lists about all the things we wanted to accomplish and fearing we wouldn’t get to any of them. And we didn’t really!

I ACCOMPLISHED NONE OF MINE. Zero. I didn’t visit a new continent. I didn’t publish a short story. I didn’t self publish some kind of zine or some shit. I didn’t even do the easy ones, like run a 5k or chop all my hair off!

But now my friends and I, we all seem to feel pretty good about it. This was the first birthday I had in maybe a decade where I didn’t end the day crying over the state of my life. I mean, I probably cried that day, statistically speaking, but it wasn’t a macro-level, existential cry. Like Friedman says, “You realize you’ll never be a wunderkind, and you’re okay with that. In general, you give way fewer fucks.”

I feel really equipped to do all the things I want to do, in the time frame I’m able to get to them, and with the mindset that allows me to actually enjoy doing them. I feel like the questioning of “am I even an adult???!” is over. And the pressure of accomplishing things before I turn 30 is a foregone conclusion. I care less how old other people are. I feel like once you’re 30 we’re all just…youngish adults living our lives, knowing what we want and doing what we can to make our lives reflect that.

Although I am starting Couch to 5k again, for the third time. I have never made it to the end 🙁

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