This past week I tried to ask as many of my twenty-something friends as possible to weigh in on how they feel about their future, and since they don’t read my blog because they don’t think it pertains to them, I’m safe (but only for now since I’d really like to get more twenty-something readers.)
The gist of our conversations was that “settling down,” to them means, “As soon as you turn thirty you are expected to get serious about getting married and having kids.” The worst part was that when they were talking about this, they looked completely beaten and conquered by the inevitability. It got pretty real when one girl said she was so afraid of being, “thirty and boring.”
I just smiled.
When I was in my twenties I was actually looking forward to my thirties because I thought everything would be worked out by then. I’d have my dream career and more money that I could have ever imagined. I’m pretty close to this but it certainly didn’t happen over night. It took two years and it will probably take a little longer too before I get exactly where I want to go. I was pretty naïve to think that the magical thirty fairy would turn me into a successful adult on my thirtieth birthday. If I remember correctly, it was pretty much the opposite. I had a two-day hangover and then, that same week, I got a rejection letter from the Masters program I had been dreaming about since I was twenty.
Maybe that’s not such a great advertisement to the twenty-something readers out there after all, but the point is that there’s no time limit. Turning thirty doesn’t mean that the fun stops. The type of fun you have might change, but there’s still a lot of grown-up fun to be had.
But if you think that you’re a party animal now and you’ll snap out of it at thirty, you’re dead wrong. Maybe you need to do some soul-searching now before you hit thirty and think you’re a failure because you didn’t hit the magical finish line and get a wife and kids as your trophy. But do you really want that? Maybe you are just a lifelong party girl or guy and kids just aren’t you’re style. That doesn’t mean you can’t “settle down” with a great partner and party around the world.
And if you want marriage, kids and the suburbs, that’s cool too. But be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. “I think it’s time,” or “My girlfriend is ready for kids,” aren’t great reasons. “Because I think being a husband and a father is an amazing job and I want to give it a go,” is.
Thirty isn’t the finish line, my dear twenty-somethings, it’s a milestone. You should be aiming towards something no matter how old you are so try not to feel any more pressure at thirty than you do in your twenties. You can put a time limit on achieving your goals, but don’t get downtrodden or start hating on your thirtieth birthday if you slightly miss your mark.
It’s just a day.
There’s a whole decade on the other side that’s waiting for the more mature, self-assured, better and more successful you.
As always, I’d love to hear from you:
Any twenty-somethings want to weigh-in on how they feel? I’d love to hear that my particular friends are just jaded.
Or how about my fellow thirty-somethings – any advice for the “about-to-be” or “newby” out there?