A couple of days ago, I had a birthday. Okay, a rather large birthday. I turned 3o.
For someone who has always been told that I am older than my age, and having had three separate careers in the last 15 years (Pilot, IT/Developer, Medical Herbalist…) being 30 should be in keeping with where I am in life – if not even older. But I feel like this birthday has taken a chunk out of me. I’ve been either preparing for this, or maybe, noticing this since my last birthday when I turned 29. I knew what was coming even then – in terms of my own internal emotional process. But I have noticed a change.
Firstly, it seems I’m finally a proper adult. People no longer refer to me as a ‘young man’ or a ‘lad’ – I’m just a man. That’s it, I’ve arrived! Now what…?
On the other hand, there is the inevitable urge to compare. Most people entering their 30s have an established career (yep, got that), are climbing the company ladder, probably own a home, are likely married, and possibly have one – or more children. In other words, my peers suddenly seem like my parents.
Then there are the biological/metabolic changes. My hair is on the move; migrating from my head to various plug holes in the country. My waistline is growing a darn sight faster than my bank balance. I’m starting to develop a paunch. My idea of relaxing is sitting watching the telly after a day at work, not going for a run or building something with my hands.
What is this fourth decade on this planet really about? How do I retain and not lose the essence of ‘me’ – the error of the mean in a sea of average?
While I’m sure I will never be either normal or typical, I am standing between two identities. One, I own, and consider ‘me’. One that I do not own, but that is attempting to own me, that I don’t understand and that to some extent scares me.
Where do I go from here? I guess there’s only one way to find out. But I know I won’t go quietly…