by by 20s

It´s weird what a num­ber can do…especially when the first dig­it changes for good and stays for the next decade. But more than that, it holds a dif­fer­ent ener­gy – thus you do feel some­what dif­fer­ent (even though so many keep say­ing, I don´t feel dif­fer­ent at all, it´s just a num­ber blala, yea wait til your 32 or 35, the 30ies will hit you at some point).

“30” holds a dif­fer­ent set of expec­ta­tions, from your­self and soci­ety – how to behave, what you should have had accom­plished so far, and what you should be aim­ing to achieve in the next few years (hel­loo mar­riage and baby!). But luck­i­ly (or not) our gen­er­a­tion cares (and wor­ries) about so much more than a wed­ding and house with gar­den. We care about trav­el­ling – france til japan, by 30 we might think we should have start­ed a start-up already – of course with big suc­cess. We care about free­dom and work we find mean­ing­ful. We don´t need to get set­tled, have kids and a dog (okey the dog can stay).

Most peo­ple who hit 30 nowa­days, are by far not inter­est­ed in those stereo­typ­i­cal things peo­ple used to, like back in the days (lets say grand­ma days). Most women I know can´t even han­dle the thought of hav­ing a child in the near future. Most men (boys) are still…well boys.

Both gen­ders in gen­er­al just don´t feel like actu­al adults. As kids every­one above 18 is a grown up for us and we start to cre­ate an image of what being an adult is sup­posed to look like. This pic­ture in our mind is by far more adult-like than we´ll ever feel.

And in the world we live today, it gets hard­er not want­i­ng to stay young. There is just so much to do and explore. We have a hard­er time com­mit, cos we like our free­dom to chose, any­time and everytime.

There is noth­ing wrong with that…except..

…there sort of is.

Liv­ing in a mul­ti­op­tion­al envi­ron­ment chal­lenges us to con­stant­ly work on main­tain­ing or devel­op­ing our iden­ti­ties. So many pos­si­bil­i­ties to do, look or be in order to feel like the per­son we want to be in this world. That´s exhaust­ing. It´s exhaust­ing because it cre­ates even more expec­ta­tions we hold for our­selves, an image of our self that we want to embody. But these expec­ta­tions are often in con­flict with what life is right now, and our inner resis­tance to those expec­ta­tions (that´s a whole oth­er chap­ter by itself..).

Turn­ing 30 (or any turn­ing age for you) can be a “oh so great reminder” of those unmet expec­ta­tions, which can make us feel like a fail­ure in what­ev­er area you chose to.

Still haven´t found that one rela­tion­ship you think you should be in by now?

Still work­ing in a job that drains you dai­ly and makes you won­der what the hell am I sup­posed to do otherwise?

Still not work­ing out and pre­tend­ing alco­hol is healthy because alco­hol makes you hap­py and hap­py equals healthy?

Still liv­ing in a city that stress­es you when all you want is smell ros­es and sleep under the stars? (hey don´t laugh, I´m just try­ing to include all peo­ple here okey).

So yea, it´s this: I still haven´t….I still need to…. But now I´m a lit­tle too old for this..or that. Or worse, will it ever happen?

Clos­ing a chap­ter when in fact you haven´t come to an end in the pre­vi­ous one makes it all hard­er to move on.

Yes cer­tain things aren´t so sim­ple to do any­more than with 21.

And before I con­tin­ue, think your­self of a few things you feel like you can´t do any­more or would feel kind of weird, now that you´re much older.

So what did come up? Doing a cou­ple of intern­hips again? Tak­ing a year off to just explore, try new things and fig­ure life out? Par­ty­ing 3 days in a row and then being back at work by 9? Going back to school? Not know­ing the top 5 news-sto­ries of the week? Tell peo­ple you´re still find­ing your­self? Live life as if there´s no tomorow?

Yes they might part­ly be true, but to be hon­est, there are not that many things you can´t do any­more when you´re 30. How­ev­er by then, we already lived quite a while and this time frame gives us more room for self-judge­ment and regret on how we spent this time. Thanks com­par­i­son syn­drome. But that´s smth we have to live our whole life with, bet­ter we learn how to man­age it prop­er­ly now than when we´re 40. Because it gets woooooorse.

30 is a beau­ti­ful num­ber I think. And how­ev­er peo­ple might see it, it does mark a new chap­ter in one´s life, even if noth­ing huge changes „imme­di­ate­ly“.

The good thing is, we can use this turn­ing point to help us redi­rect our mind­set in order to make changes we want­ed to make for a long time (in our 20s for exam­ple?). And as I said in the beginning…if it doesn´t hit you will at some point. The ear­li­er the bet­ter. Who wants to real­ize they haven´t done all the things they want­ed to in their 50s??

And it´s not even about accom­plish­ing cer­tain goals or dreams. It´s about doing smth every­day that moves you for­ward to that thing you want to achieve. In the end it´s about that feel­ing. That feel­ing of, I actu­al­ly went for it. Because then, 10 years from now you will have the best feel­ing one can have before enter­ing a new chap­ter: _____________

You can pick your feeling.

Chose how you want to feel til your next chap­ter begins and aim to feel that way every day.

So, on the one hand, yes, 30 is just anoth­er num­ber. On the oth­er however….the youth as we know it, is pret­ty much over. It´s over. For some peo­ple this process can be hard to accept. Ah ok, a name for this phase has been giv­en already? Well then, hel­lo midi-life cri­sis (not to con­fuse with midlife).

And for those peo­ple who can´t relate to any of that? Well, good for you! It is sup­posed to feel that way. A cool ride with a lot of bumps in the road.

I always say, the best thing about get­ting old­er is that we´re all in this together.

One wrin­kle at a time.

Have a good turn­ing year.

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