Happy Birthday (Ode to 30-Year-Olds)

Happy Birthday (Ode to 30-Year-Olds)
©Ryan McGuire 2016

In China, women do not celebrate their 30th birthday. They stay 29 for an extra year to avoid bad luck. That’s funny because in the United States, turning 30 is a crucial year. It’s considered a year of reminders. Turning 30 is the year when people either take that number and hold onto it for the good or they try very hard to ignore it. I’m going to hit 25 this year and it already bothers me. You know, when I hit 22, I thought, “It’s all downhill from this point.” Imagine how I feel about hitting 30.

What bothers people, including me, is not their birthday because celebrating birthdays is fun. Who doesn’t want to celebrate a day about themselves? Everyone! That’s why we celebrate birthdays. We conquer goals on birthdays. We propose on birthdays, we give gifts on birthdays, and we even party on birthdays. It’s all so much fun until we bring up the number that lies in the background.

Age is a huge deal to Americans (I have international readers). It may not mean much to other countries but in the USA, whether you’re 30 or 40, is a huge deal. There’s even a certain point in life where asking about age becomes rude, especially toward women. Eventually, we want to hide our age. We even avoid our age. I’ve had people lie about their age, or even round down their age.

I’ll admit there are people that don’t mind their age and will share their age with everyone and anyone who asks. I appreciate those people. It makes me feel as if getting older isn’t so bad. Growing up, age was such a big deal to me that I remember when my mom hit 30, she started acting differently. She really began to enjoy her youth and around that time, my parents got divorced.

In America, there’s an episode of the popular TV show series, Friends, where each of the 6 characters 30th birthday party was celebrated and every actor took turning 30 differently. Ross bought a red convertible to make himself feel better. Rachel calculated she was too old to get married and find a husband so she broke up with her young boyfriend to begin her search. Monica got drunk in front of her parents at her birthday party that her boyfriend Chandler through for her. Pheobe conquered weird goals on her birthday and visited her twin sister. Only to find out that she wasn’t 30 and that she indeed was 31. She lost a year of her life! Joey cried at everyone’s party and at his own birthday pleaded with God that he won’t age anymore and that everyone else would age instead of him (he was the funniest).

I share the example of the classic Friends episode because it illustrates so well how everyone reacts toward turning 30 or getting older in general. Our age can consume us and take up our identity. The New York City Marathon is run by hundreds if not thousands of runners every year. I do not recall where I got this study from, it could have been Buzzfeed, but I read that the marathon is run be many 29, 39, 49, and 59-year-olds. All these people are trying to reach a goal before they hit the big 3-0 and above.

Our age reminds us of things we have not accomplished yet. In America, by 30 you should have your life together. By together I mean, you should be either married or engaged, have kids and have your own home and a decent amount of savings. At 30, you’re now considered an official adult. You’re not considered a baby anymore and life doesn’t have surprises or as many lessons as it did when you began your 20’s.

Our 40’s is considered middle-aged because in America people begin to die at 80 or older. 50 is over the hill. At 50, you’re either divorced or happily married for about 15 to 20 years and conquering goals with your spouse.

Every age, every number has a definition to it. Our age is a meter that we measure our life quality by.

For me, If by 30 years old I don’t, at least, visit Japan, I would consider myself a failure. That’s my own personal goal and problem.

I have to stop myself from thinking this way because I can’t let my age interfere with my goals. The reason I chose 30 to go to Japan by was because 30 is a big milestone age for me. Hitting 30 is a big deal to a lot of people but to me at 30, my mom went wild. I have a fear that I’ll do something stupid when I hit 30 and so my goal to go to Japan is there to keep me focused on something else than keeping my youth.

We all age. It’s the fact of life. As much as we work out, moisturize our faces, use makeup, drink shakes, botox or meditate, we will all hit 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 and older. It’s going to happen. We can’t escape from it.

I think the problem we have, or at least that I have, is not facing our age but instead realizing that we didn’t d all the things we wanted to d by the time we hit a certain number. When I hit 25 this year, I want to enjoy 25 by thinking of my age as another year that was given to me instead of another year taken away from me.

When I changed my mindset to believe instead that I was given a year to do something instead of having a year taken away from me I realized I immediately began to appreciate my new age. I rose up with more goals and reasons to enjoy my 25th birthday. I now think, “I have another year to do great things”. Yesterday I would have had the mindset to believe that I totally wasted my 24th year. That would’ve depressed me and had me waste my 25th year as well.

Like it’s said, age is nothing but a number. We can do anything at any age we want. We live long lives thanks to the grace of God. For all of you hitting or about to reach that milestone age, don’t think of it as a time of losing youth, losing goals, giving up dreams, or giving away things that are important to you.

Consider thinking of 30 as another year to conquer goals. Think of 40 as another year to make more money and travel more.

Your birthday should be a day of celebration of the simple fact that you now have another year to do bigger and better things. The big 30 isn’t the end. It’s not the time where you should be settling down and taking whatever life gives you. Take this year, another year given to you, to take life by the horns and sell more product. Write more articles, and start your business.

Happy birthday to all of my readers. Let’s make this year a year of wonderful memories and a year of conquering milestones. Don’t let your age define what you should have done but instead, let it remind you that you have another year to be you and to live this life to the fullest!

Happy birthday to my husband. Hitting 22 is a weird age but it’s another year given to you to reach more people with your talent and love.

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