I turned twenty-seven this week and the only thing that has been on my mind is how there are only three more years until thirty. I can’t seem to shake the feeling that time is running out. Even more potent than that is I’m also filled with the excitement of a life promised. I find this particularly amusing because I can’t for the life of me fathom why thirty is the new threshold I’ve given myself and when this shift in my mindset occurred.
Previously, I thought I had (humorously) accepted that twenty-five was the society set ‘expiration’ date for women and that my ‘desirability’ had ended for all intents and purposes. I didn’t really care either way and breezed through that well into twenty-six without any form of crises. So why was it different this time and when did it change? Could it perhaps be because in the two years since my 25th birthday I wildly exceeded goals I had previously thought unattainable? Was this the reason I was able to let go of that patriarchic notion of female shelf life? More importantly, I asked myself, when did I cement this other standard of thirty and put it on a pedestal.
Is it that I secretly view thirty as the “time to get serious”
which is something I have vocally dismissed as rubbish? I have found myself in this (completely self-imposed) intense personal battle over the importance of my fast approaching thirties. In moments where my mild hysteria clears, I wonder if men ever have to deal with these insecurities. Some might, but it is no secret that society never really pressures men to live as though they have a peak period for anything. Society has deemed it fair that age doesn’t have to affect them if they don’t want it to. Deep sigh.
I could also decide to sit and start making a list of all the reasons why thirty will be amazing (I’ve definitely already done this). On how the thirties are the new 20s. How I’ll have more disposable income and be able to actually afford the things I want with reckless abandon. Oh, there’ve been numerous articles written in the same vein and between ourselves my girlfriends and I have all agreed that it’ll be this wonderful magical abundant time in our lives.
So naturally I have fallen into the trap of eagerly anticipating my thirties (for all the right yet on further introspection so very wrong reasons). I am eager to be thirty so I can see if I lived up to my expectations. I want to be thirty so I can prove to myself that that’s when life truly begins. I want to be thirty so I can finally be an adult that’s got her shit together. All the while forgetting to live in the present.
I’ve been twenty seven for 48 hours and apparently, I’m eager to be thirty. I’m already pressuring myself to live up to the woman I will become in the future. The woman that I’m hoping to become. So instead I’ve made a promise to myself that I’ll live for now. That there’s no rush. That I can neatly fold the checklist away. I would have said ‘throw it into the trash’ but that would be a lie. My anxiety would get the better of me and I’d happily sift through the rubbish until I found it and say a little prayer to whichever guardian angel might be listening for it to manifest. Though having said that I’m convinced they are tired of me only calling on them when I’m in deep trouble. But surely that’s the whole point of a guardian angel isn’t it?
I should mention that it’s also very frustrating to me that my list has a cutoff date for ‘being important’. Should I blame publications that pride achievements made by a certain age. It’s aspirational but also very disheartening. How do I get rid of the question ‘will I ever amount to anything’?
For now, I’ve decided all I can do is focus on what I can do better. I can be better at learning from the mistakes I make. I can be better at being a great friend and supporting the people I care about. I can be better at appreciating every day no matter how hard it gets. I can be better at doing my best. I can be better at enjoying being twenty-seven.