I’m turning 30 soon. And for a while I’ve been thinking about what I could say about it. That I feel more settled in life, more certain of what I want? That I’m more comfortable in my own skin, and less neurotic about, well, everything? But if I’m honest, that’s all only partially true. Definitely partially true, but not entirely.
The wise man on the rock says that your twenties is actually the most stressful time of your life. Presumably because you reach for the stars, and are curious about everything, satisfied with nothing. They say that, in your twenties, it seems like every step you take will have an irreversible impact on your life, and that every move you make is a statement to the world. In your thirties, by contrast, you’ve wisened up and are more comfortable with, or more resigned about, your past and your future.
But for me, my 20-year-old self and I are pretty similar. The only difference I can spot is, I’ve now experienced some things that, when I remember them, really make me cringe. The all-consuming obsession with someone special, the blind passion in doing something challenging, the unadulterated joy of being in the moment; the soul-destroying paranoia in hyper self-analysis, the excruciating embarrassment of a spontaneous action, the disturbing realisation that I’m no closer to Doing Something. I’ve also lost people who were dear to me, and thought about death and not really understood it.
I’ll probably experience all these things again in the next decade, and I’ll probably deal with it just as badly. But I probably won’t be so taken aback by it, and will be able to shrug it off with a smaller scar. And that’s a comfort, but it’s also, somehow, a little sad.
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