Even though you’re by no means old in your 30s, something about that age can play weird tricks on your brain. It can feel like the very first time when the words, “I’m an adult” are authentic. When you turn 18, you get to legally say it, but you know you’re getting away with one. You start throwing the fact that you’re 18 in your parents’ faces (an the faces of any authority figures), so eager to remind them that there are certain decisions you get to make on your own now, but secretly knowing you are not ready to make those decisions.
When you leave for college, there is a new sense of being an adult, because you don’t live at home. Nobody knows what time you get home. Your parents don’t know your whereabouts throughout the day, at any given time. But even then, you kind of know you are only playing grownup. Your parents are still paying your bills. There are still people keeping an eye on you around campus. You may get your first internship, put on a pantsuit and blazer, and go into the office, but you’re just playing the role of professional—you have no clue what’s going on in that office. Not really. Maybe you have your first “adult” relationship around that age, but it still feels like playing house—going to each other’s apartments and cooking dinner feels funny.
I think when you enter your thirties, you’ve earned the feeling of being an adult. You’ve probably had a couple of failed adult relationships. You’ve learned just how very long it actually takes to get your career off the ground, and have shaken off any delusions about being on any Forbes list, any time soon. Life has beaten you down a bit, and you’re a grown*ss woman. But with that, you can have some weird thoughts. The distraction of youth—tumultuous and exciting as it is—is over. Here are existential thoughts you may have at 30.
Remember when I thought of this at 10
You might think of you as a little girl—you’ll remember what you, at that age, thought that this age would look like. You watched romantic comedies (that maybe you weren’t supposed to watch due to the adult content) and thought that you’d have all that—the engagement and the high profile job and the fancy cocktails—at this age. Now…you’re that age. How does it hold up? To the vision that little girl had? It’s weird to think about.