I'm 30. I'm no longer in my twenties.
I didn't think it would bother me to turn 30. Each year as I've gotten a year older, it's been a happy and joyous thing for me. Birthdays are wonderful. And I've never understood those Hallmark cards that tease people about being ONE YEAR OLDER.
Except this year.
This year's birthday a few months back was fraught with unfulfilled, unrealistic expectations. And now, all I have to show for this birthday is my age. I'm 30.
So what does being 30 mean? I really have no idea. I've never paid any attention to age appropriateness. I have, however, decided that being an adult in my thirties means that I shouldn't dress like a teenager. But what does that mean? This is where I struggle in figuring out who I am as a 30 year old. I want to dress my age, but I don't want to look older than my age. I've been told that I look younger than I am, but is that because I've been dressing younger than I am? What if granny clothes appeal to me? What if the mystery department store I went to a few weeks back really is the place for me?
And then this line of thought leads to this other line of thought: have I accomplished everything that a 30 year old should have accomplished? What are those things? Do 30 year olds own their own homes? Are they successful in the business world? Do they have children? (I know the answer to that one. My parents had four children by the time they were 30. They also owned their own home.) How does a 30 year old act? Is it okay for me to use slang, or does it just sound like a lame attempt to be young? Is my slang dated? Is my hair dated? Do I look old? Do I act old?
What if I'm supposed to act old?
And then I full on panic for a few seconds.
And then I take a deep breath and tell myself that personal progress is all that matters. I was immature when I got married at 20 (this is the benchmark I typically use). Have I progressed since then? Am I at least a little more mature then I was then? Have I grown? Have I learned to overcome at least some of my weaknesses in at least some small measure since then? Have I learned and grown spiritually?
And then I can breathe easier.
Rational me realizes that this is the true and only way to measure myself. I don't have to fit into a category of 30 year olds; I just need to be a better version of myself. Irrational me worries about all those other things. Irrational me gets on my nerves. Irrational me is out to get me. Irrational me might be writing this right now.
Rational me says that I just need to be a better version of myself, always improving and growing and learning. But what does a better version of myself wear?