I turn 30 on Sunday. I do a double take every time I say that out loud. It doesn’t seem like that much time could have feasibly passed. And let’s just say the festivities have already started and they are thrilling. For example, I got a birthday card in the mail from my investment firm AND today was the day my mortgage company mailed my $50 escrow surplus check. Exciting stuff.
All jokes aside, I am feeling oddly content, which is a feeling that I can’t say I’m used to. While there are parts of my 20s that were fun and enjoyable, I’m not overly nostalgic or eager to relive any of them.
College was fun. It was the time where I made most of my current close friends. But college was also stressful. Endless hours of studying and worrying about if I was setting myself up for a successful career and life. Was I choosing the right major? Was I interviewing for the right jobs? Was I moving to the right city? Was this the right answer to the Heat and Mass Transfer problem set? Too much. Would not recommend.
My early post grad years were fun too. Having disposable income for the first time and having a large network of friends and other young professional acquaintances to experience life with was exciting. But post grad was also scary. Could I manage living alone? Hundreds of miles away from my family? Was I good at my job? Is my job meaningful? Do my co-workers think I’m competent? Does Corporate America value my skills? Is being introverted, okay? Do my new friends like me? Why do I feel anxious all the time? Am I fun? Am I interesting? Is there anything that I’m the best at? Too much. Would not recommend.
The last few years I’ve really started to let go of most of the things that have historically kept me up at night. I still have things that make me anxious, things that stress me out, and things that I question. I have good days and I have bad days, but I worry less about what other people think about me and less about the existential questions. I try to focus on the things in life that bring me joy and feel grateful for those.
One of my close friends recently told me that his favorite thing about me was that I was “unapologetically myself” and that I know what I like and what I don’t like. I’ve had a few other friends allude to the fact that they appreciate my bluntness in this aspect as well. I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t try to take opportunities to still push myself out of my comfort zone especially in social situations, because I still think that’s important. But I am proud of the fact that I am old enough to know, I don’t like loud crowded bars and I don’t need to go to one just because that’s what everyone else is doing. I can see my friends another time, when they are doing an activity that I like, and it’ll be just fine. I know that I don’t like staying up past midnight and I know that I don’t have to do it! My fear of people I barely know thinking I’m boring has severely dissipated. I know that I don’t feel like eating meat anymore and haven’t for the past 7 years and I don’t care if people think it’s weird. As a recovering Valedictorian, I know that I value work-life balance and I don’t need to work insane hours for an arbitrary measure of success. I know that materialistic things aren’t important to me, and I don’t care if every time I drive with some of my friends, they ask me why I haven’t washed my car or fixed the dents on the side. The 2014 Nissan Rouge Select is at 104,000 miles and still kicking babyyyyy. Anyways, the point is I’ve become much more comfortable simply accepting things about my personality.
I’ve also spent the last 10 years really curating the people I spend my time with. I actually think I have always been good about my approach to friendship emphasizing quality versus quantity. However, there were times where I felt self-conscious about the lack of quantity. But in the past 10 years, I’ve surprisingly been able to have both! Despite the inevitable ability to not be able to frequently keep in touch with everyone, I still really appreciate the quality friendships I have added to my life over the years. It’s nice to feel loved and to have different people to go to depending on the need. Between the handful of high school friends, the crap-ton of college friends (a technical term), the large group of Houston friends, the select friends from work, and the guy I met on a dating app, I almost have more important people in my life than necessary. A good problem to have.
Over the last decade, I’ve also proven to myself that I am very capable of doing things on my own. It’s not scary to live alone, I’ve been doing it since I was 22. I even bought a house. I’ve hung pictures on my wall without help. I’ve traveled solo. I’ve climbed several mountains alone. I’ve cooked elaborate meals for one. I still value all the help, support, and companionship I get from people in my life. But it’s not a necessity, just a nice to have!
In conclusion, life is good. Thirty is fine. Would recommend.