I turned 30 this year and though I felt the same for the most part, I noticed that 30 is the milestone that begins the end of freedom, or so it seems.
Before 30, the other milestones in life is about growing up and getting more freedom. Turning 15 or 16 or 18, depending on what culture you’re in, is about becoming a young woman out in society. Getting your driver’s license. Turning 18 and being able to vote and going to college. Turning 21 and drinking. Turning 25 and starting your career.
Then you turn 30. The expectations are massive. Settling down. Getting married. Starting a family. You turn 30 and you’re supposed to have it together. Even if people say 30 is the new 20, it’s clear that you’re an adult.
Not the kind of adult an 18-year-old is, or even a 20-something. Being 30 means you’re the kind of adult who’s got it. You’re thirty, flirty, and thriving. You’re not lost in purpose, career path, or relationship. The time of searching is over.
From here on out, the milestone birthday decorations become grimmer with “over the hill” slogans, tombstones, and giant whistles. You stop putting the right amount of candles on birthday cakes…if you even get a birthday cake. Maybe you get a birthday bran muffin because a cake has too much sugar for your body.
The days of staying up late is over. The days of loud music is over. You can do what you want, when you want, but you’re too tired or too busy to do it. From 30 on up, any sort of wild partying or extravagant purchases are construed as a mid-life crisis.
From 30 on up, our milestones bring us closer to death, not freedom.
Or so it seems.
The truth is, we don’t all have it together. We don’t all have life figured out. There are still a lot of things I’m figuring out and messing up. It doesn’t mean I’ve failed at life or at being 30. It doesn’t mean you have either, no matter what age you are.
When we get past other people’s expectations and opinions on where we should be in our lives, we can find freedom in the milestones of our lives. We can enjoy being 30, 40, 50, and so on. We can enjoy the still searching, figuring out, and learning from our mistakes.
It’s true that physically, there may be things our bodies can no longer do or do as well as it did when we were younger. It’s also true that we can persevere to do something we never thought we can do.
The truth is, from 30 on up, our milestones brings us closer to a new kind of freedom that comes with age, wisdom, and experience. The milestones remind and help us to redefine freedom. That’s a wonderful thing to look forward to.