Guest Opinion: 30 is the new 30

By Vimbai Gwata (@VimfromZim)

I went from being rather blasé about turning 30 to working myself into a frenzy reading everything I could about achieving this milestone birthday – and boy was there NO shortage of stuff to read! It was as if a universal law had been passed that decreed every publication – be it online or in hard-print – write something about turning 30. A quick Google Search revealed that this trend hasn’t let up for a minute.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I believed that turning 30 would be like a scene out of my favourite movie, ‘The Wizard of Oz’. I imagined that my life would go from being an ambiguous black, grey and white landscape, that would represent my 20s, to this bright, High Definition, mega-pixel version of my life that I would be majestically launched into as the clock struck 00:00 on the eve of my 30th birthday. Cue Nicki Minaj’s ‘Moment For Life’

Do you know what I learnt instead? That you’re going to wake up on the morning of your 30th birthday feeling the same as you did the night before. Let’s say it all together now, “30 is a number. Only a number and that’s all it is”.

I can’t tell you exactly when the pressure starts for everyone but for me it was around 29, I was minding my own business one day and suddenly it dawned on me “My mum was my age, right now, when she had me, her second child.” Then panic set in, “Shoot, I’m running waaaaaaaaay behind schedule”. The hilarity was that if you had asked me what schedule I was talking about I would have sheepishly told you that it was a schedule I’d come up with when I was 16.

I went from being rather blasé about turning 30 to working myself into a frenzy reading everything I could about achieving this milestone birthday – and boy was there NO shortage of stuff to read! It was as if a universal law had been passed that decreed that every publication – be it online or in hard-print – write something about turning 30. A quick Google Search* revealed that this trend hasn’t let up for a minute.

Instead of offering a lecture or Agony Aunt advice for this, I would like to share some personal reflections I’ve made since turning 30 that would work for anyone of any age, now that I’m just 5 months shy of turning 33 this year.

  1. Stay in your own lane:
    My last decade of existence saw me trying to be everything to everyone and keep up with it all. Truly exhausting stuff.  The truth is the urge to keep up may never completely leave but you will eventually have the good sense to ignore the external noise and follow your own path in life. Do you, boo-boo.
  2. Throw out THAT plan!
    Don’t hold yourself hostage to a life plan you came up with when you were 16 or that you read in [insert female publication of choice here]. My original life list had me solving    Third World Debt, winning an Oscar and home-schooling my 2.5 kids in the burbs by 25.Get rid of the ridiculous expectations you placed on yourself and spend some time figuring out what you actually want and go after that.

  3. Ask yourself, what’s too old?
    We live in a youth obsessed world, and there’s some inevitable 30s shaming that will occur. I found that the best comeback to “You’re getting old, hey” is to look the individual in the eye and respond in a serious tone and say, “It’s an absolute privilege to see this age. After all, so many people we know didn’t make it this far – Tupac, B.I.G, Amy Winehouse…” That usually shuts up most people.
  4. No new friends
    There’s something about turning 30 that greatly lowers your tolerance for foolery, BS and superficial relationships. Unlike Facebook’s definition, friends aren’t people you just know nje. Life is about appreciating and connecting with the trusty few who have been with you through the best and worst.

Now that I’ve bombarded you with my wisdom  I would really love to hear your thoughts on the big ‘3-0’.

*FURTHER READING:

A list I’ve made that shows you just what the Internt has to offer when it comes to “Turning 30” inspired articles:

Typical Bucket List: “30 Things To Do Before You’re 30”

Optimistic: “Life Doesn’t End At 29: The best things about turning 30.”

Pessimistic:30 Depressing Things about Turning 30

Humble brag:30 Things Mark Zuckerberg Accomplished Before Turning 30

Practical:How to Accept the 30 Year Old Milestone – 5 Steps (with pictures)

Therapeutic:10 Habits To Trash Before You Turn 30

Fashion-orientated: What’s A Girl to Wear When Turning 30” 

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