This is my last Friday column as a 20-something-year-old.
By next weekend, I will be a freshly inducted member of the 30s. A couple of years ago, I dreaded this moment. I felt the most exciting times of my life would have passed me by and I would be left with predictable, albeit pleasant, years ahead. Perhaps the most exciting moment of my 30s would be a family vacation or a promotion. Surely nothing out of the ordinary. Those moments are relegated to youth.
Not so, according to a piece in The Atlantic entitled “Big Breakthroughs Come In Your Late 30s.” In fact, some of the most extraordinary things are more likely to happen to me in my 30s than any other time in my life! As a playwright, I can expect my best and most celebrated work yet to be written in these years. If I’m going to win the Nobel Prize, I should expect that award in about seven years or so. That’s something to look forward to, I guess.
It also helps to have a good friend that is a few years older. She has been professing that the other side of 30 is greener than the late 20s for a while now. Some recent studies suggest that age 33 is the point at which “real happiness” begins. I think I’ve been happy thus far … perhaps age 33 is when my husband will get over his cat allergies and I can finally rescue a kitten! When asked which decade was their best, people age 100 and older overwhelmingly say it was their 30s.
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What’s so great about it? Perhaps the fact that people have partners or families in their 30s, and are enjoying time with those loved ones. Perhaps the fact that likely most education is done, the infancy of one’s career has ended, and promotion is coming. Maybe it’s just that by your 30s, you are more sure of who you are. You have either avoided or are coming out of a quarter-life crisis, and you have a sense of confidence and comfort with yourself that you have not experienced before.
This is all very encouraging information. But I’m most excited by the idea that I am still here, period. That I am healthy, hopeful and surrounded with caring and inspiring people. I think when I was dreading turning 30, I was far less secure in myself than I am today, and I hope that trajectory only continues. I am looking to 30 — and 2017, specifically — as a year of making good on promises I’ve half-made to myself in the past. I hope to find more discipline and balance and learn to have patience with the speed of life’s journey. God willing, 30 is still just the beginning for me. There is so much yet to come.
Natalia Naman Temesgen is an independent contractor. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.