In your teens or twenties, did you ever think about what life would be like when you turned 30? Did it seem old? Did you ever make a list of things you wanted to accomplish before you got there?
You wouldn’t be alone.
It seems that every day I meet someone who can tell me about their, ‘Before 30 Bucket List,’ or they can describe exactly what they used to think their thirties would look like – old and boring more often than not (*sigh).
But why 30? How did 30 become the deadline and cutoff?
I like to say that it’s for two reasons, really. First, society really looks at twenty-somethings as youthful. I usually hate the ‘blame society’ argument but this time we know it’s true since we see them as the standard for beauty everywhere. These days it’s even exacerbated by Millennials, who are projected to establish what’s cutting edge for the next several decades.
Thirty-somethings are used as the standard for settling down. If you’ve ever seen a chick flick, we’re the stage when anyone who is still single, must be clumsy, frazzled and working her butt off to remedy that.
What’s more is that outside of J-Lo’s filmography, like in TV commercials for example, we’re portrayed as being busy-bodies who are establishing families and solidifying careers – nothing too glamorous either.
All over TV and film, women are commonly said to lose sexual appeal after 30. And the rub is that if you don’t find Mr.Right before 30, it’s less likely that you’ll ever find love and be able to live out your destiny.
Athletes over 30 are often singled out and remarks are commonly made in reference to their worth since they’re no longer in their prime.
Mini-skirts are apparently a no-no.
Kids are mandatory and the questions about if you are having them soon or not become fair game.
As angry as we could be at the media for this portrayal, doctors and scientists are also against us, supporting these sociological findings by adding that more not so glamorous stuff that is happening to us physiologically after 30: We’re told to expect a decrease in muscle mass, lower fertility, and a slower metabolism – sure signs that after 30 it’s literally downhill.
But just as our bodies begin to betray us, we begin to feel more comfortable in our aging skin and get a lot closer to who we are and who we want to be. So we may be losing the outer battle but the inner growth is incredible and can be extremely rewarding.
So much for having it all, you say?
Not so fast.
Just because the media, society, our bodies, our doctors, and science are against us, doesn’t mean we’re going to give up…
That’s the underlying message we may often miss in those cheesy chick flicks – the girl has everything against her but she doesn’t give up and she ends up getting it all.
Adversity makes us tougher by giving us something to fight against. And while we may lose the battle on aging, there’s still room to wage war on perceptions that over 30 means over the hill.
I don’t know about you, but I’m okay with Mother Nature’s brand of aging. I only get a little prickly when the media or anyone else tries to do it for her.
Wanna do your part to dispel the myth?
Don’t make 30 a cutoff for when your life stopped being cool and fun!
Take care and respect your one and only body – mom/dad bod and all.
Do your best not to sigh when you tell someone your age…
You may be sick of hearing the phrase, Own it but it’s really the best we’ve got. Plus, it’s likely to stick since in our thirties, our confidence can really soar if we let it.