What Nobody Tells You About Turning 30
Is a mid-life crisis really a crisis?
Is a mid-life crisis really a crisis?
The number 30 itself isn’t significant, it’s the moment of deep introspection that’s brought on by the number that counts.
I just turned 30 years old. I was due to get married this month, go on a honeymoon and sell my house for what would become a much bigger, family home.
The pandemic has put all of that on hold, so I had more time than necessary to just think. Taking stock of where I was in my career, financially, emotionally and physically.
Chances are, if you’re 30 or are about to turn 30, you’ll be re-focussing your attention and opinions on a lot.
Here are the things I’ve been pondering.
Your cost vs value opinion will change
I always prided myself on my ability to not show off with materialistic things.
I wear ‘h&m basic’ plain black t-shirts and never spend more than £40 ($50) on jeans.
However, turning 30 has made my cost vs value opinion swing into the other direction.
In your 20’s you live a disposable life. You probably rent houses that come and go, your cars get trashed quickly and new iPhones replace the old in quick succession.
I’m done with that now. I don’t want to live a disposable life anymore. I want things that last — and if that means paying extra for them, then so be it.
I’ve found myself getting into automatic watches, crystal glassware and expensive bourbon. It’s not about the price-tag, it’s about significance and longevity.
I want things that can be savoured, appreciated and timeless enough in aesthetic to be passed down when I die.
Your willingness to start an argument will fade
I used to think you’re either right, or you’re silent.
It seemed like the loser stays quiet because their argument isn’t strong enough to compete. I fought the good fight against internet trolls weekly to prove my point.
I also used to ride on a high horse and engage in battles others were scared to take on. Did I just see someone’s dog shit on the street — and they’ve left it.
“Let me walk 200m over there to engage.” I thought.
However morally just, there are far too many a***holes out there for you to take on as one person. Even if you’re right, they might never see that they’re wrong. Despite your best efforts. They simply don’t have the capacity for it.
Some people are selfish, angry, bitter, incorrect, poorly-educated, misunderstood or evil. You can’t right all of their wrongs.
Each time you engage in a battle, you’ll suffer the wounds of war. Even if you leave unscathed, it’s sapped your energy. Energy that could be used on other productive ventures.
Not only that, but it also makes others afraid to disagree with you, or even to be around you. I have a reputation from my 20’s for being black and white, unafraid of conflict and ruthless… and I’m not sure I like it.
People assume I lack empathy in nuanced situations. Who knows if that person who let their dog shit in the street is tired, their wife is battling cancer and he’s working full-time whilst raising their child and keeping the household running. He’s exhausted and zoned-out, missed his dog’s defecation in the only 10 minutes of peace he had that day… Then I ruin it by shouting at him from across the street.
To want him to pick up his dog’s s**t is justified. But in that scenario, engaging in an argument is wrong. The intentions aren’t wrong, it’s the delivery that’s misplaced.
Turning 30 makes you pick those battles. You can see beneath the surface of someone’s rude comments to their cracked-beyond-repair character. The fight stops being worth it.
You can hold yourself back from confrontation and try to see the situation from another’s perspective and you can empathise with simple mistakes. We’re only human.
Whatever the situation, It’s often not worth the energy it takes to argue.
Lineage should concern you
It’s not about kids, it’s about lineage. You may have kids, want kids or answer “no” to both… and I wouldn’t blame you.
What’s important is what you’re about to leave behind.
The message you teach, the people you affect, the growth you can achieve and your willingness to share it with others. If you haven’t got a grip, manned-up or matured by now — you’re a failure.
I know that sounds harsh, but sometimes people need the ice-bath-like shock of a harsh word to wake themselves up.
Where are your current priorities?
Are you overspending, over-eating, drinking too much and not exercising?
What example are you setting for anyone who looks up to you?
Your goal should be to mentor people in whatever vocation or skill you have. Let others learn from your mistakes and the wisdom you’ve accrued thus far.
However, the best way to lead is by example, so you can’t just say your message anymore – you have to live it.
Your political views may change
“If you’re not a liberal at 20, you have no heart. If you’re still one at 30, you have no head.”
That quote has been misattributed to Winston Churchill, but has seen paraphrased variations throughout history… and it’s so true.
In recent years my political views have changed. I used to wonder, at 20, why we didn’t just live in a socialist society, where everyone can be happy and taken care of.
Unfortunately, equality of outcome would have to be a by-product of equality of effort.
I’m fortunate enough to have a good job, but I worked hard to get where I am today. I’ve saved, sacrificed, gone without, knuckled-down and in the long-term, it’s come good.
However, my tax rate as a business owner is 40%. I work 4 hours out of every 10, for FREE.
Seeing those who live for the weekend, squander their earnings and blame the system — whilst collecting various benefits, has annoyed me.
Not everyone has the same output or the same desire for that output.
I work hard for the money I pay into the system, to be abused by some. So I’ve come to the realisation that the idea of a socialist or even liberal utopia, where everyone is happy, kind, provided for and treated fairly, is a naive political view.
Have your views changed?
Friendships aren’t dictated by proximity anymore
Who were your friends in school? Why?
It’s because you went to the same school. Your proximity dictated your bond.
Don’t believe me, what about your work friends from your first job? How many of those close friends do you still talk to?
After turning 30 and moving away from my hometown, I now realise the small number of friendships I have aren’t dictated by proximity anymore.
Some of the closest people to me emotionally are the furthest away.
In your 30’s, like me, you’ll probably start to hone-down or focus on friendships that mean the most to you, regardless of distance.
It’s not about quantity anymore, it’s about quality in all areas.