Sunday, June 7, 2009

The big three (uh-)oh

So I've been dreading turning 30, which I just did this past week (June 1st), but a card someone sent me recently made some really good points that flipped me from dreading my 30s to having something to look forward to.

See, I was dreading 30 because I always thought of it as the time by which I should really know what I'm "doing" with my life--i.e. be on a career path that satisfied me. You'd think, given that I'm working on my dissertation, that fear would be baseless...but I guess I'm just difficult ;) Most people who get PhDs in Rhet Comp go on to be tenure-track professors, but I'm no longer very sure that's what I want to do--while also feeling like I'm too far into my program now to quit without that lovely P(iled) h(igher &) D(eeper) in my grubby little ink-stained hand. But once I finish, I'm not decided on what I'll do with it--and hence, dreading turning 30, with all my attendant imagined expectations of needing to be "mature" and "decisive" by then.

Einstein - Tongue

But then one of my uncle's gave me a funny card that said something like "aging is inevitable, but maturity is optional" as the tagline (hurray for optional maturity!). (I included the Einstein pic because it seemed to fit that sentiment perfectly). He also reminded me that, compared to my 20s (during which time both my parents died unexpectedly), my 30s had plenty of room for improvement.

So my new goal is to stop seeing my 30s as a cause for the dreaded side of growing up, and instead as an opportunity: to be as immature as I want (in that fun, dance on the table way, rather than the stupid teenage boy kind of way, that is). On that note, I went to Dave & Buster's to play lots of skee-ball and other ridiculous games on my 30th--and enjoyed myself more than I have in ages.

Has anyone else found stereotypical stiff-upper-lip maturity to be terribly over-rated?

12 bits of commenty goodness:

BeadedTail said... 6/7/09, 6:14 PM

Happy Belated Birthday! The 30s are a lot of fun so enjoy them!

Mishkat said... 6/7/09, 7:39 PM

Oh jeez! I am so much older than you that it's not funny, and I still don't feel "grown up" or "mature"! I remember feeling really bad when I turned 30 because I (1)wasn't married (2)did not have children (3)did not even have my M.S. yet (I got it several months afterwards) - now I look back on that and laugh. After I got my M.S., I have worked in my field most of the time, but it has NOT been a smooth path at all. It's been very interesting though - and good life experience.

Anyway, I'd say go ahead and get the Piled High and Deeper, since you're almost there, but I also understand your feelings about a tenure-track position, since I work at a university. It is not a rule that you have to "use your degree" in the way someone else thinks you should.

One final note - both my mother and my husband went back to school to start new careers when they were over 50. They have both been very successful - and I'm really proud of both of them. So I think the "too late" stuff is overrated.

And I hope you had a very happy birthday! It sounds like you chose just the right way to celebrate it (I never danced on a table until I was over 30 and had the self-confidence to do it.)

renovia said... 6/7/09, 8:18 PM

I would never openly admit that I'm older than you, because I've celebrated my third 28th birthday.

But the whole aging thing, I got a little upset on my second 28th birthday, but the third one was fine. I don't have kids, I don't know if I want any. I have my masters, but am not completely sure I want to do the job I'm doing for the rest of my life.

Turning 28 for the third time got me to realize that life is super short to worry too much about things that bring me down. I try really hard to be a positive person and that makes me feel young. It's not easy, but being a grumpy old woman is not my style

Mishkat said... 6/7/09, 9:36 PM

P.S. I'm sure you already know this, but Scott Fitzgerald was totally wrong when he said "“There are no second acts in American lives." (I guess he was talking about himself?) Nevertheless, it's still an extremely depressing quote. It always helps me to think of John Travolta :)

Auroras_Garden said... 6/7/09, 11:15 PM

Maturity...whats that?? LOL
I feel like the more you can make room in your life to play and be creative like a child, the more you are truly living. The main things I learned since I turned 30 four years ago is short, enjoy your good health as long as you possibly can, and play more. Dont take this ride called life too serious. Its meant to be played with. So have fun. Create special moments with those you love. Show love and receive love. Your "adult" life is just beginning, have fun with it and laugh often.

Panoptica said... 6/7/09, 11:49 PM


I think that is excellent card advice!!

storybeader said... 6/8/09, 6:35 PM

cute card - I agree! Happy birthday - your artwork is great, and could be an alternative career choice!

Higgins Design Studio said... 6/9/09, 7:27 AM

Happy Birthday!
I guess I am one who doesn't look at age as anything but a number... I passed 30 about 17 1/2 years ago! There are days I still feel 20-ish... and days I feel almost 100! But most of the time, I just feel like me. Another saying is 'Age is a matter of mind over matter, if you don't mind, it doesn't matter.'
And by the way, I only have a BA, and it is in Psychology, I work in retail at my family's store... I guess it is useful to see how our customers are crazy like us...
Again, belatedly, Happy Birthday!

Anya said... 6/12/09, 5:31 PM

Happy Birthday ^____^

Have a nice weekend :)

Kareltje =^.^=
Anya :)

Kellibeans said... 6/15/09, 4:43 PM

Happy Belated B-day!

Seriously, I think maturity is overrated. I tell my husband all the time that I'm gonna be one of the coolest blue-haired old ladies because I CHOSE to dye it that way...LOL!

Life truly starts at 30, I think, the drama of your traumatic 20s is over and you can start living because you can now see the big picture. I'm looking forward to my 30th birthday (I'm 28 now), I plan on having the biggest backyard fireworks show February has ever seen! LOL

facesarefunny said... 6/18/09, 1:48 AM

Becca, I promise you that it only gets better! I wouldn't go back to my 20's, or even my 30's for that matter, for all the tea in China! The older I get the more I realize that I don't have to be grown up like everyone else, I just have to be me.

Christy DeKoning said... 7/2/09, 7:22 AM

Becca, I agree with facesarefunny completely. Life gets better every day.
I realized somewhere around my early thirties that my parents weren't any more mature when I was a kid, than I am now. It's all a facade - I'm really still a teenager hopped up on life but my hips are wider :-)
Now that I'm approaching 40, I feel a sense of freedom that I didn't feel in my '20s - I can truly be ME without trying to be "Mature Me" (I've always looked younger than I really am, and used to resent it, wanting to be taken seriously - now I'd just don't care)
So embrace 30 and know that you have something to look forward to: your 40's, and even better sex!!!!