In a few weeks I’ll celebrate my 35th birthday. I’ve already started planning my annual backyard birthday bash (black bean tacos, a cornhole tournament, and free ranging chickens will be the highlights). Despite my excitement to see my friends, eat cake, and celebrate, well, myself, I’m having mixed feelings about this particular milestone.
According to the Guardian 35 is the best age, bar none. The reason? You’re old enough to have certain achievements under your belt (spouse, house, a child) but still have several years to go before reaching the peak of your career. Other studies corroborate these findings. Women tend to rack up raises in their 30s and then, at the end of that decade, stall out. We’ll receive cost of living adjustments and occasional bumps in pay, but nothing that would rocket us into the next tax bracket. Armed with this information and a little thing called hindsight, I see now that I may have made some mistakes.
Don’t get me wrong. At 35, there are plenty of things in my life that are very, very good. I have an egalitarian relationship with a loving and supportive spouse. We rent a comfortable home at a fair price in a middle class neighborhood ten minutes from the ocean. If we were having a contest (which we’re not, but still) my friends are probably better than yours. By these accounts, 35 is looking pretty good, no matter what the studies say. And yet.