June 18, 2012 § Leave a comment
I find myself feeling lost of late, and I’m convinced it’s largely due to reaching that ripe old age of thirty – the age where too many late nights, too much over-indulgence, and too much of a carefree attitude start being frowned upon. I’ve been experiencing a more and more urgent, almost primal need to seek out my place in this ever-expanding world, and an ever-increasing sense of despondence as I realise by thirty, most people have this figured out. Or do they?
By “my place in the world” I refer not only to finding my life’s purpose but also to my actual physical place in the world. The result of too many options is leading towards a growing epidemic of what I have heard referred to as “the quarter life crisis.” There are infinite career possibilities; the choice to study or go straight into gaining practical experience; access to local and worldwide travel; opportunities to emigrate; the pitter-patter of tiny feet or not; wedded bliss or not; career or stay-at-home; employed or contractor. With literally everything in the world to choose from, how do you? Is it any wonder that more and more younger adults are finding themselves wandering aimless and unfocused?
Short of a magic eight ball just how do you decide? Especially if you are a naturally indecisive person who has many interests and ideas – like myself. And then comes thirty. Many a dear friend have I observed, men and women alike, spiral into an all-engulfing self-indulgent introspective cocoon as the big three o approached. With my outsider eyes I could see them examining: their expected versus their actual achievement so far; their lack of direction and lack of security in their so-called future; what their friends/classmates/siblings/co-workers have achieved by thirty; their happiness and fulfillment levels measured at this turning point. Many of them took the next few years to slowly wind down and then “settle” into jobs/relationships/countries. Others continue to run from that settled state still chasing the freedom of their youths.
My thirtieth birthday came a year ago. I celebrated – with only my boyfriend, but we made a good job of it! And then as the days and weeks wore on I felt like I was feeling happier, more centred, looking after myself better… and like I had escaped thirty unscathed. But slowly, sneakily, my thirty life crisis has started to rear it’s head. I have been observing my panic taking a passive-aggressive back-door approach into my life. Stealthily it has crept up on me, day by day, so that now, I don’t have a clue about where I am headed, and I feel dizzy from all the thinking.
I think thirty is a landmark age which does force us to consider. We look back and evaluate what we’ve accomplished since school. We look forward to where we’d like to be in ten, twenty, thirty years and assess whether we’re even remotely on the right track to getting there. We take stock of how we feel about all of this, and set new goals. There begins the question of “the rest of one’s life” and what do we want that to entail. What are the foundations like for that next big stretch so far?
There seems to be a bizarre transition on turning thirty into being, well, a proper adult with futures to think of and responsibilities to take by the horns. And if you’re anything like me you still feel very little inside.