I created the title for this post as I was a month out from turning 30 last summer. I had full intention to write some kind of piece reflecting back on life so far and the normal “I’m thirty so this is how life is now different from my 20’s” kind of thing.
However, I never wrote it. The fleeting idea of the perfect opportunity to make new content based on me turning another year older was really the factor. The truth is, to me at least, is that 30 is nothing. Age is just a number, and what’s more important is how I feel about and conduct myself.
I write this as I am now about 30.5. Figuring it would be better to write about how the whole notion of being old is foreign to me. Ok, so maybe not as foreign as non touch screen to kids these days (I once came across a .gif of people my age giving their kids a GameBoy and watching them poke the screen like a phone?! Wait, people my age have kids now too?!) Well guess it’s over. I’m old now. Time to go yell at some clouds and tell those pesky youngsters to get off my lawn and that they gotta use the buttons on that GameBoy! Also, that they need more than a Ratatta and Caterpie if they want to be real Pokémon trainers.
No instead of doing that I think I will keep doing what I am doing. Trying to make the best out of now. (Yes that link is to another site my wife and I manage, can’t help but put in a shameless plug for it). Anyhow, let’s talk about why I don’t care about my age and why I think no one else should either.
So many folks fear the big 30 as they are no longer young, and their 20’s were their prime. This is false for me, for a number of reasons. Not only am I older wiser and a generally more rounded, thoughtful and nicer person that I was last year let along 10 years ago, I also am getting in better shape than I was throughout my 20’s. See when I exited college in 2011, I weighed around 210lbs. I gained weight at my desk job (surprise) as I was no longer running up and down campus every hour or so (a campus on a hill even). I ballooned to 220, lost it back to 210 and weighed this much when I got married to my beautiful wife.
As I was working a desk job, I ended up slowing climbing all the way to 230lbs! Yikes! However, over the past few years I have got on a routine to lose weight as part of my health insurances health incentive to save money I am now around 208, less than what I was when I got married 6.5 years ago! Not only that I hope to break 200 for the first time since freshman or sophomore year in college. Health wise, I haven’t been better. A wonderful gift I know I am grateful to have, considering others don’t have it so well. (Trust me, my wife suffered a head injury in 2014 and life hasn’t been the same for both of us. Don’t worry, though she is doing well and we came out with what we feel is a better outlook on life because of it. A way to better appreciate life.)
So from a health standpoint, I haven’t really been better since late High School, early college, which is a feat for sure. Although my eyes have continued to degrade(desk job? Astigmatism? Whatever, I have bad eyes. Not terrible, but they won’t get better without surgery.
Anyhow, with all of the growing, learning, and changing of jobs in my 20’s I also feel like I finally have some life experience under my belt that I can draw from to make better informed life choices. Do I have all the answers? No, but I feel more prepared than ever to tackle life’s problems. Also, we finally dug ourselves out from under our student loan debts and for the first time since starting college are finally debt free. A whole new world of possibilities has opened before us as we can now focus on other financial goals instead of living under the constant stress of owing a lot of money to others.
I understand that these two key things (health and wealth) are likely a good deal of my idea that others don’t have. So maybe there is reason for your thirties to be dreaded. However I am one who believes we are the masters of our own fates. So if you don’t like where you are in life, you are the only one who can change it. And change it you should. Life is far too short to be doing things you don’t like or living unhappily.
To me age is just a number, maybe it’s more like a level from an RPG. The higher it gets the more skills/knowledge we have at our disposal to tackle what comes our way. However, we must choose to pick up the new skills and leveling up isn’t actually a measure of said skills. See we are constantly training different skills and letting others atrophy, so our character sheets reflect what we work on. So if Tony Hawk can ride a skateboard better than most in his 50’s, I certainly wouldn’t think I am old because I get winded going up stairs or doing short bursts of exercise at 30. It means I let those skills fade too much. It’s time to train them back up.
Thanks to the internet we have a whole host of information at our finger tips. Most of it being negative news and terrible things happening everywhere. However you can find good things on it. These good things include empowering stories of others. People recovering their lives from catastrophic events and living their best life. Older folks in their 50’s and 60’s becoming healthy and losing a ton of weight or going to the gym and getting fitter than most people in their 20’s. People changing careers at an “old age” or going back to school and generally getting to work on their dreams, no matter what their age. Examples can be found everywhere of why life doesn’t stop at a number. It doesn’t start at a certain number either. Life is life and age is just a number in our head.
This is why I don’t care about age. Another year older is another year wiser. My goal is to live my life with intent so as the years pass by, I won’t have regrets, just a solid understanding of where I was and what I was doing for myself during that time. That piece of mind is really what we are all after I think, which is why a number wont dictate what I can and can’t do, what I can and can’t achieve. I don’t look forward to gaining years under my belt. However, that process is inevitable, so I will take it in stride.