Avoiding Crisis

so what’s the big deal

with one comment

I never thought that I would be the least bit bothered about turning 30.  It’s just another birthday; just another number. Right?  Right.  Yet, it does bother me. 

For most I think that it’s safe to say that turning 30 is a traumatic experience because they feel like they have to finally grow up and be an adult.  30 means getting married, having children, buying a house and having a mortgage – 30 means responsibility.  But what happens when you’ve already done all this well before you reach 30.  What happens when you’re me?  Then what’s the big deal about turning 30 when you’ve already have all the responsibilities that most fear?   

For me, turning 30 doesn’t mean more responsibility, it doesn’t even mean getting older, what is does mean is that I will officially be a failure.  The moment I turn 30 I will have reached a self-imposed deadline for having to have accomplished something extraordinary.  It is safe to say that I will not have reached any of my (and i will be the first to admit somewhat unrealistic) goals.  I will not have gotten a PhD, I will not have written and/or had published my first book, I will not have spoken around the country to young women about depression, anxiety and self-injury, and I will not have even had anything remotely resembling a career.  It’s not like I ever expected to do all the these things, just one would have been nice.  But I’ve done none.  And therefore, the day I turn 30 is they day that I will fall short of perfection.  And for those who know me, I don’t take failure lightly.  

Okay, so you’re now thinking, especially those who know me well, come on you are anything but a failure, you have accomplished so much in your life in such a short time, you have overcome some daunting obstacles and persevered, and there are so many things that you should be proud of.  You are absolutely, 100% correct.  I have done so many wonderful things – I’ve gotten married, have had two children, bought and sold a home, lived in two countries outside the United States and even finished a masters degree.  But none of that matters to me right now at this point in time.  I wasn’t even supposed to do most of those things until after I turned 30, until after I had the word “wunderkind” associated with my name, until after I saw it written somewhere that I had done X,Y and Z and did it all before my 30th birthday.  Until after I had done something important, something that mattered. 

now you understand? 

so it kinda is a big deal…at least to me.


Written by nicolemarie

January 12, 2007 at 10:12 pm

One Response

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  1. I think I’ve told you my personal theory about aging. People usually have issues turning either 25 or 30 but not usually both. My issues were with turning 25 but they sound very much like the issues you describe here so I can understand. (30 was a breeze, even though it was soooooo long ago.)

    You are getting at the heart of the matter in this piece. It’s about personal expectation. You expected to do all of those things you describe wanting to have accomplished for most of your life. That being said, almost all of the counterbalancing things you have accomplished weren’t planned for and the choices you made took you away from path you thought you’d be on. Monumental birthdays are often about understanding that the choices we make take us in unexpected direction and we have to square that with the direction we expected to go. I look forward to seeing you through the journey.

    (Not sure if you remember but I ended up taking a year off grad school when I turned 25 to see what choices I had given up.)


    January 12, 2007 at 10:29 pm

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