Turning 30 is scary as hell. It doesn’t help that it literally marks the end of a period folks often refer to as the “best time of your life.” The “Dirty 30” not only creates a new sense of moral responsibility, but puts you that much closer to the day you are walking with a cane, or in a nursing home that only airs Wheel Of Fortune re-runs in the community room—okay, maybe those are just my fears.
What’s causes all of this millennial angst? Social media.
But most of all, turning 30 is just weird. This year my body started aching after the occasional trip to the gym or basketball court, or an overindulgent night at an open bar. I even find myself dating differently: goodbye to the cutie with a fat ass, hello to the well-rounded woman with more than just physical assets, right? I spoke with some of my boys about my feelings— yes, grown men really do this— and what I found was surprising. Everyone seemed very happy, satisfied, and settled, but in reality they were all in crisis mode like me. What causes all of this millennial angst? Social media.
Nowadays, it’s common for millennials to have peer-idols. We compare ourselves to someone else’s curated Instagram feed, then set unrealistic expectations to keep up. These same folks also make you want to take a slow walk across traffic when you’re worried about your own life’s direction. Watching everyone around you succeed while you’re feeling stuck can make you sink to levels you never knew existed.
Trust me: I’ve been there before.
I used to contribute to “TheSTASHED,” a digital publication launched by my very good friend and peer-idol Kazeem Famuyide. He asked me to write about my experience during my quarter-life crisis, so I gave it a crack and published a story on May 19, 2014. Fast forward to 2017— On the night before I turned 30 years old— I gave it a read to see where I’d been, and hopefully gain a bit of inspiration for where I’m going:
Revelations come at you at the most unexpected times. You may not understand them, they may seem very blurry and muddled, but give them time. It’s often those visions that come when you least expect them that hit the hardest. I was the recipient of a mental message such as this in February 2013. After posting my first article on a website of a major publication, I distinctly remembered what seemed like a voice telling me that “everything is going to be all right.” I was at a point where I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. I was 26 years old living in Philadelphia. I had a retail job with a company that I had quickly grown tired of and felt stifled at, I had separated from a clothing line that I had put over six years of my time, energy, money, and contacts in, and my aspiring career as a content reporter was semi-fulfilling, but not fulfilling enough. I didn’t know it then, but I was going through the “quarter-life crisis…
After a while, I got my shot to write an article for [another] major publication, which turned into two articles, and then four, and then I started writing for another publication, and so on and so on. I found myself praying more and more and, as the saying goes, more blessings came down, and culminated in a conversation at Made In America while on assignment that led me to land my current job and moving to New York, which had been a dream and goal of mine for the last two years. And while I still stress myself from time to time, it’s a normal shot to my creativity to move, to do more, and to build myself up more. It’s healthy to stoke that fire under you, but we must take care not to let it consume us whole.
When I re-read my words, I remember that period of transition. Along with retrospection and confiding in friends, two game changers (sitting there all along) helped me navigate this new decade: my parents.
When I asked my father what hitting the 30 milestone was like for him, he shared something I don’t think I’ll ever forget. “Turning 30 is literally the best thing that’s going to happen in your life so far,” he said. “It’s the end of a 10-year lesson on life that is your twenties. You’ve spent the last ten years winning and losing, and learning along the way. Your thirties are when you can take those lessons and apply them to everyday life. Don’t worry about when your time is coming, just keep working so when the time comes and you’ll be ready for it. Your thirties are when you win and keep on winning, and I can’t wait to see what comes from those wins.”
Seems like it’s time to map out some new victories.