30: In the thick of it
This is an ambitious post to write in less than 5,000,000 words, and limited to one volume. But you and I know that “Ambitiouspost” is my middle name. Let’s talk about the glory of our thirties.
In our thirties, life begins. Forget the first three decades of your life. If you haven’t established a certain moral code of conduct, sense of style and chosen your favorite wine yet, I guess your thirties will indeed be wrought with unprecedented, unplanned, badly managed surprises.
That’s all there is to it—suprises— thirty is full of surprises. Spoiler alert.
But first, the good stuff.
Surprise #1 Freedom
In your thirties you suddenly see no sense in trying to impress anyone. The new slangs weigh heavy on your tongue because you are one second away from being the weird old has-been-wannabe saying “okurrr” and overdoing the“r”. Guess what? You say it anyway, what do these youngin’s know? Spell cassette. Rewind it with a pen. Floss? “Do I know how to do the Floss?” Of course I do, with a string or the stick. Oh, it’s a dance. This Floss you are talking about is nothing. Try the flex or the butterfly or the running man while wearing hammer pants. Okrrrrr!
Surprise #2 Prudence
It’s the age when you decide whether you are going to be an old, beady-eyed corrupt perv or not. In your 20s you’re an idealist, busy saving the world. You’re still saving the world in your thirties but what else are you doing? Still sticking to idealism? Life isn’t so black and white anymore. Is it? Now there are shades of grey—more than 50. Now there are multiple choice answers. It’s now or never ever. The defining moment, and every little action you do paves the way to your forties which, is a tiptoe away from your sixties which is when successful people get smacked with corruption charges, and get tagged as #MeToo predators. Side-eye.
Surprise #3 Wisdom
In your thirties you become very wise, Sensei (which is how you avoid the charges and stay corruption-free. Wee!) The wisdom probably comes from an increased awareness of life and our role in it, and also from being burned several times and learning from horrific mistakes made in our twenties. On the night before thirty, you feel it seeping into your veins, and the room emanates that gentle glow of discernment and insight with all the application steps to all the problems you tried to solve in your twenties. Yes! Suddenly you’ve attained all the wisdom you’ll ever get, and believe you have the answer to everyone’s problem and will attempt to make world peace. Get ready, World! Then you discover the world is crazy and smoking on a giant bong and doesn’t want peace. Because think about it, if there’s peace, then earth becomes attractive, aliens will finally stop their surveillance, land their UFOs, move in next door and start using our WiFi.
I hear you, World leaders, WiFi and sharing will always be the most contentious topics on the forefront of politics.
But WiFi-theft crisis aside, the world needs us thirty year olds and our half-full optimism (or whatever is left of it) and our new burning, incomplete wisdom (it gets complete when you hit 150 years). The world needs us and she can not tolerate forty year old fools, it hurts her back.
Surprise #4 Everything is on purpose
This is the season we find purpose, and to all the overachievers who discovered purpose as toddlers: What. Ever. We finally made it. Tongue out.
If you haven’t found purpose, I’ll give you an underlying, common clue. It involves people. It involves you and people. You helping out people or just one person. The thirties is the season when you realize your life really isn’t about you at all. Now you got the memo. I got it late too, it was probably intercepted by the toddler overachievers. We love you guys. Fake smile.
Surprise #5 Trials and Temptations
In your thirties, you will get hit by great challenges which will attempt to scramble your moral code and question a substantial portion of your values. Even Jesus got tested in his thirties: bread, stones, and stuff. If you have no values and principles, pour yourself a beverage because life is about to stuff its own values down your throat and they taste funky.
Surprise #6 Mom, is that you?
Your thirties is when you become your parents; when those traits you swore you’d never adopt start to show. It’s when you take on mother’s hysterics or father’s hairline. It’s the time you press down on the imaginary pedal when your friend is taking sharp bends, because you do have some money in the bank now and will like to spend it. It’s wild, the similitude. And you’re ok with it. Shrug.
Surprise #7 Under Pressure
In your thirties, believe it or not, there’s peer pressure and self pressure, societal pressure, marital pressure, political pressure, financial pressure, social media pressure. It’s Pressurtopia. A new life management tool known as“saying No” is to be employed. Say “No!” to pressures. I say No to all pressures now and also to random strangers, just to scare them before they project any pressure.
Surprise #8 Money, Journaling and Strength
It’s also the season when opportunities come your way and you must do your best. If you havent’t achieved much, you still have at least 70 years to change that.
Guess what you don’t have 70 years for though? Strength training! You need to start that like yesterday, because your basal metabolism is lower, your body is choosing to store more fat, if muscle isn’t built. Your body produces less growth hormone, which means the mid-rid of mid-life is here, and if for any reason you shave your hair, you will look like the Michelin man. So, yesterday, strength training. Pronto.
Yes, you finally have more cash and can buy seven Ferragamos while sitting in the frequent flyer lounge. If you are an aggressive shopper, be an aggressive investor too. Invest here, there, and way over there. And if you are not in the lounge but sitting home with nothing to invest, invest in yourself. Do something. Anything. Wait, don’t do anything. Do only legal stuff. Lol. And hold tight. It really gets better. It’s the greatest time to be alive (I will also say this about 40, 50 and so on).
At this age you must keep a diary, with sincere, explicit details which is not left in plain sight, not with everyone being a blogger and all. You’d be surprised how many diaries you’ll go through in a year. Keep a journal, tell us yourself the details. I repeat, keep records my friend, so no one can press charges. This worked recently for an official and all charges were dropped.
Surprise #9 Parallel Parking
Finally, it’s that decade when you can learn to parallel park like a pro. A guy just parallel-parked a Tundra next to me in one try. His forties are set, and in his fifties, he will be king. If I don’t learn this now, I guess I’ll have to get a Mini Cooper…which…I think I may have trouble parallel parking too.
Wisdom, minis, aliens, parallel-parking, Ferragamos, okrrr; I told you it was ambitious to get this done in less than twelve volumes. It’s the great 30s. There’s nothing dirty about it. It’s the greatest time. Before we go I’ll let you in on a crazy secret about your thirties (and forties and fifties): If you choose to be happy regardless of its surprises you are going to have a ball.
Describe your thirties in one word! What would it be?
For me, it would be Surprise!