So You’re Turning 30

A lot of folks I know are turning thirty, and they are bringing their angst regarding the age to social media. As someone who passed thirty some time ago and am rapidly approaching mid thirties, these posts do tend to make me smile. I hope one day aging will not be the frightening and demoralizing reality it is so frequently presented to be. Even though I remind myself that aging is natural, it’s okay, it’s sometimes even awesome–I still sometimes forget.

But today is not that day.

Our brains are usually done developing by the time we’re thirty. According to the internet, the age most reach full development is usually around twenty-five. Remember that when you lament how you haven’t accomplished anything or you haven’t accomplished enough. When this pitfall trips you up, just subtract twenty-five from your current age. It really does provides perspective.

Just because your brain has settled down, that doesn’t mean you still can’t change change as a person. At thirty, I was different from twenty-five. I’m different now from when I was thirty.

You never lose the ability to change. You never lose the ability to choose. It’s true that the longer you choose to think a certain way, the harder it will be to choose differently–but that’s not unique to thirty; that’s true with all ages. If you keep an open mind, with age comes experience which comes with more options.

You will probably know more people in your thirties, who can share different perspectives, different contexts, that can be mutually beneficial.

You will never run out of Firsts, but by the time you’re thirty, you will have had so many Firsts, even if they ranged in experience from great to disaster. You’ll have had time to think about those Firsts (especially the disaster ones) so you are better prepared for an exact or similar situation. You will have consumed more information, learned new things or more about old things, resulting in more tools in your toolbox at thirty than you ever did at twenty-five or twenty.

Remember that critical thinking is not a won and done skill. You never achieve critical thinking–you must practice it or lose it. Entering my thirties allowed me to see this more clearly than any other age.

Thirties are exciting because you’re still young, even if your back, knees, hips, and ankles say otherwise.

Yes, circumstance can affect what options and opportunities you have due to system structures. For example, I’m someone who is white, agender (normally assumed to be a woman), and a lesbian and my thirties will reflect that experience.

But I would still urge you not to dread your thirties. That age (every age, really!) has something to offer you–especially if you choose to seek it out.

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