The thirties are the first point in life where I have noticed that people have any sort of consciousness of the particular decade that they are in.
There are apparently all of these different factors that carry weight in your thirties. People almost seem to look at their thirtieth birthdays as a deadline of some sort.
If, for me, it had been a deadline, well then I had achieved everything that I had set out to by that date. I don’t think I gave it all that much consideration beforehand; but upon turning thirty, I was already married to a wonderful man, living in a city that I loved and had a steady job in my chosen industry — the sort of holy trinity of thirty.
For me, turning twenty was liberating — the end of my troubled teenage years. Turning thirty, on the other hand, was stabilizing.
Is that what everyone is talking about?
It seems that whenever someone close in age learns how old I am, the entire conversation turns to the topic of thirty.
Were you anxious about turning thirty? What did it mean to you? Do you feel older now? Do you feel the conscious need to behave differently, more grown-up? Has it shifted your goals or your perspective?
So tonight, I am sharing just three of the things that have floated through my mind during recent runs — thoughts that come with the wisdom of age that is 30+ that I think are worth noting and sharing.
My life to this point may have been better if I had lived, to a greater extent, outside of the influence of others.
In writing that, I just noticed that the way that I express that thought now versus how I expressed it in my twenties is different. Then, I would have said “no one other than you knows what is best for you.” Notice the difference?
So yeah. Change in perspective.
In terms of career (and I will spare you the laundry list of possible careers that I toyed with between ages two and twenty), so many of my own ideas about what I might enjoy were dismissed by my family, teachers and peers as too limiting, far-fetched or financially unstable.
The latter was the big one. Financial stability so dominated my thinking in my twenties that by the time I was out of law school and living in the city on my own, my fear of spending money was crippling. I never traveled. I only went to museums when admission was free. I always ordered the “side salad” when I went out to a restaurant and only consumed a cocktail if someone else had offered to pay.
My desire for financial stability was what led me to law school. And the real irony here is that the source of much of my financial instability in the past decade is due
in large part almost exclusively to the very fact that I attended law school.
And I can still remember that day when at the ripe age of twenty, I sat in my mother’s car and wailed but I don’t want to go to law school. But then I couldn’t find a job after finishing college and everyone, it seemed, wanted to tell me that I “could do anything with a law degree” — which, by the way, is not true– when the reality is that the only thing that you can do with a law degree is, in fact, to be a lawyer and half of the time you can scarcely even do that!
My point: I likely would have made that decision quite differently had I simply made it on my own.
Another thing, and this one weighs on me more and more lately, is that certain members of my family frequently tried to limit the amount of pressure that I put on myself (because I have always been the sort of person that puts a TON of pressure on themselves) and for that reason forbade me from doing certain things that would have been extraordinarily good for me — such as participating in varsity sports or high school athletic teams of any kind.
When I first got back in to running a couple of years ago, all I could think was: I wish that I had always done this for myself. I am a better, happier, more clear-headed person when I run. It is truly unfortunate that the gift of sports was denied to me at a time in my life when I could only have benefitted from it.
Sometimes my mother did know what was best for me.
I love my mother very much. She knows this. There are some choices that she made for me that I will always disagree with. She knows that too.
But one of the things that she did quite wisely was limit my exposure to the three of my cousins that are closest to my age. All siblings from an abusive household, their lives have been rife with tumult, despair and addiction. By hindering my ability to build a relationship with these people, she limited the influence that they could have on me. And though at times this lack of a relationship with these people leads to my exclusion from some larger family gatherings (thus comprising my relationships with family members that I am close with or want to be closer with), I still know that it is the right thing.
That said, they are often in my thoughts and I always wish them well. I hope that they seek the help they need when they need it, and that they live lives that are fulfilling and bring them joy and satisfaction.
Your body will renovate itself to suit it better to the tasks it regularly performs.
Unless you find yourself among the genetically blessed (or cursed), your body will (to some degree) change shape based on the activities it performs.
If you are a Cross Fitter, you are likely more broadly shaped and muscle bound than those who partake in other sports. This is because Cross Fit (to my understanding, anyway) involves the regular practice of lifting heavy weights with many repetitions at a high frequency. The workout both builds that body type and benefits from it. Once you have achieved the Cross Fit physique, it will be easier to continue the practice. You will become more efficient.
The same is true with running, or dancing, or just about any other demanding physical practice that you choose to engage in regularly. By running regularly, you will build strong muscles in your lower body. Then, by having built that strength, you will be able to propel yourself forward faster and become a better, more efficient runner.
You can want a runner’s body, but there’s only one way to get it.
You can do a dozen different things at the gym and not get the results that you want. If there is a particular shape that you admire, pursue the activity that will yield comparable results.
Yes, what you eat plays a very important role, but there is no point in trying to starve your way in to the body you crave.
The reality is this: if you want a dancer’s body, dance; if you want a runner’s body, run.
Another interesting perspective on thirty:
Out There: Turning 30 (Competitor)
This may become part of a series; a sort of musings on things I have learned about life in my thirties. Who knows. I haven’t decided yet.