Dear 30-Year-Olds: Stop Saying You’re Old

November 13, 2019  |  
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turning 30 crisis

Source: MilosStankovic / Getty

There may be some groups who make you feel like life ends when your twenties end. Modeling agencies might state that if you haven’t made a career in modeling by, honestly, 22, it will never happen. Beauty companies have you believing that you’re fighting a bitter and rapid war with wrinkles the moment 29 ends. Your parents may begin to panic if you aren’t married by age 30, believing that your time to find a good catch is over now. All of these opinions and pressures can create this idea that life ends at 30. And so, we start to comment on how we are getting old at that age. If anything goes wrong with our bodies, if we don’t get to skip the line at the club, if the guy cat calls our friend and not us, we say, “It’s because I’m thirty.” But it’s actually silly and even a bit insulting to many others to say that. Here is why you aren’t old at age 30.

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Ten years ago you couldn’t legally drink

Just a decade ago—ten years ago, which, by the way, only makes up one-third of your life so far—you could not legally order a drink. Well, unless you traveled to another country. But you were still in college, frustrated that you couldn’t get into bars. Your parents still monitored you, to make sure you weren’t drinking. That was just ten years ago.

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Or rent a car

Depending on where you live, you probably weren’t even allowed to rent a car until about five years ago. That’s right: companies in possession of vehicles thought, just five years ago, that you were just an irresponsible kid who wouldn’t take good care of their property.

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You still have pregnancy scares

You’re still fertile as all hell, get your period, worry about packing tampons, and have pregnancy scares. You’re young enough that A) You may not be ready to have kids, so pregnancy is a “scare” and B) You’re fertile enough to wonder what’s up if your period is late. Post-menopausal women probably miss the days when there was mystery around a missing period.

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You share a demographic with 20-somethings

As far as marketing agencies are concerned, you’re still basically 20. The same commercials and companies and brands that are targeting people fresh out of college are targeting you. And their methods are driven by money, which people take pretty seriously, so they must be onto something by thinking you and a 24-year-old have a lot in common. They did their research.

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You don’t worry about check-ups

You don’t go into check-ups worrying that you’ll get terrible news (well, unless you’re a hypochondriac). But you basically still feel that check-ups are a nuisance and a waste of time—something you have to check off your list so you can get it over with and move on with your life. Remember that truly old individuals go into their checkups because they are actually in prevention and detection mode.

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A fall (probably) can’t ruin your life

If you take a little fall while climbing on a stepladder to paint your walls, you’ll likely recover in a day or two. You aren’t of that age when a small fall can mean further messing up an old back injury, and barely being able to walk for a month. Your bones aren’t yet fragile. Your muscles recover quickly.

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You have over 30 years until retirement

Think about that. If you’re on a traditional retirement plan, the bulk of your career is still head of you. And I mean really the bulk. Perhaps you’ve been working for eight years. You’re still going to work roughly over four times that length of time before you retire.

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You’re barely still a newbie in your field

As I’ve covered before, though you may be currently losing patience in your career and thinking something big should have hit by now, that simply isn’t true. As far as the CEOs and old dogs in your industry are concerned, you’re just a little baby still. It may bother you on some days that they see you that way, but at least it means they see you as young.

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You’d still be a young(ish) mom

If you had a baby now, people would still look at you and think, “Aw, a pretty young mother!” They wouldn’t look twice. They wouldn’t think twice about it. They certainly wouldn’t think you looked like an older mother.

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You can run around a lot

I bet you run around like a chicken with its head cut off, don’t you? Between that early morning gym class before work and squeezing in that after-hours conference call with a client in a different time zone and taking your pet to the vet Saturday morning before hiking and grocery shopping…you’re very busy. Now try to tell a woman in her fifties who gets tired after just one of those activities that you are old.

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Twenty-year-olds hit on you

It still happens. You blush when it happens, and you think, “Can’t he tell I’m older than him?!” Nope. He can’t. He still lumps you in with the women his age. In fact, you could date him, and people probably wouldn’t stare.

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People know your dad is your dad

When you go out with your dad, people know that’s your dad (unless you live in a city where these outrageous cradle-robbing situations go on, and people think he’s your sugar daddy—which happens to me). For the most part, you go to a restaurant with your dad, and people ask, “And what would your father like to drink?” and not “What would your husband like?”

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Your friends are still doing dumb sh*t

You still have friends young enough to be doing dumb things like getting in bar fights, getting silly tattoos, eloping in Vegas with someone they barely know, and things like that. Be grateful for your reckless friends—they remind you that you’re still young.

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You’d be a young homeowner

If you purchased a home today, and got a standard 30-year mortgage, you’d just barely be reaching retirement by the time you paid it off. When you told your neighbors you bought your place, they’d comment, “Wow, you’re so young—good for you!”

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It’s insulting to truly old people

Honestly, those who are actually beyond middle age find it insulting when you say that you’re old in your thirties. You can still do so many things they no longer can and you still have so much to look forward to that they’ve already experienced. So be polite, and enjoy your youth.

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