Last week, I celebrated a birthday. Without getting too deep into the details of a man who is struggling with the fact that age 30 is soon to come, let’s just say, it’s right over the horizon. Many of my close friends, mentors and family began to ask me more this year, “What are your goals for this year?” I’ve never gotten this question as much as I got it this year, but it made me think to myself. What goes through a man’s head when he’s facing 30?
I would imagine this question would be a lot easier to answer if I had hit some of those life landmarks that many others have, but I haven’t. I’m single, I live in an apartment, I still live in the city that I was raised in (despite leaving for college), and it’s becoming increasingly important that I focus on my career as I head into my highest earning years.
In your early twenties, you’re just starting out in your career. You haven’t made any firm decisions on grad school or if you’re actually in the career that you want to stay in for the rest of your life. However, in your late twenties it becomes evident that you’re either in the career that you’ll be in for a long time, or it’s time to get out now in order to avoid being stuck. In my early twenties, I spent most of my time focusing on hitting my goals at work, but also doing just a little less than my ultimate best. Happy hour much? I sure did. Now that I’m in my late twenties and looking at thirty, I’m thinking about exactly who I want to be professionally and what position I want to be in as I reach thirty. This requires that I spend more time focusing on being my best daily at work and sacrificing temporary fun in nightlife for high powered days in the office.
There comes a point in everyone’s life when they start to ask themselves if they’ll ever leave their hometown. It’s a safe network and if your family is around, you’re used to it. Of course, many of us go away for school, but many of us come right back afterwards and settle back into our old routines. I’m originally from Washington, DC, and I love this city dearly. I’ve spent extensive time in New York and Atlanta, but neither fit me the same way that DC has fit. I know that I don’t want to be in DC for the rest of my life because I know there are new experiences that I want to encounter. I also know that this requires that I really begin giving this some thought now. Inevitably, as my family ages, there may be a need for me to come back one day, so it’d be best I leave soon.
Personally, I think that young adults put too much emphasis on home ownership. I’ve always felt like I didn’t want to purchase a home that was less than the quality of living I desired, just to call myself a homeowner. However, the nature of renting is that the cost goes up every year. At a certain point, you look up and you’re as angered by your rent as the taxes that come out of your paycheck. What does this mean for me? It means that it’s time that I make a decision. Do I want to save a huge chunk of money for a home, or do I want to just YOLO the experience and see what type of condominium my current financial situation will allow me to purchase?
As a man reaches the age of 30, we realize that being married by the age of 30 is not all that important. We’ll be just fine if we’re single well into our thirties. However, if we’re smart we begin having a conversation with ourselves about what we really want out of a mate. Whether that is a girlfriend or a potential wife, we have to stop playing games with women we really don’t see any type of future with and focus on substance. That conversation we have with ourselves leads us to an introspective look into whether we want children, and if we think that marriage is a part of that desire. I think that where I am is realizing that I have no intentions of bringing children into a single parent household and that means that I’ll have to find a mate who agrees.
As men near thirty the conversations that we have with ourselves become heavy. They become meaningful and they become conversations that aren’t as youthful as the ones we had in our early twenties. We’re running out of years to make mistakes and have them categorized as excused absences. I think I reached this birthday and I told myself, this is it Jay. I’m not sure many men feel the same way; 30 is not the end of the world, but it is surely the end of your twenties.
Dr. J is a writer for the men’s blog Single Black Male. Dr. J’s inspiration and motivation for writing comes from a desire to provide real and honest advice to all. His approach is no nonsense and rarely sugarcoated. Follow him on twitter @DrJayJack.
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