In 364 days, I will turn thirty and I'll be more than a tad bit relieved to check out of the twenty-something hotel. While others might dread the big 3-0 because it's that age where "not having your shit together" is no longer cute, I'm using it as extra inspiration to, well, finally get my shit together.
Turning twenty-nine (as I just did yesterday) can only be explained as the moment where you catch a glimpse of the finish line around the bend and even though you know you're heading straight into another race, you are happy to peel off the sweaty pinny of your age set. Not because you don't feel any warmth or allegiance to your fellow twenty-somethings as they wake up broke, confused and smelling faintly of regret. You just get to a point where it actually takes more energy to screw up your life than to try to fix it.
So for all those almost-thirty-somethings out there itching for their next coming of age story, let me know if you feel me when I say:
Almost Thirty means that you can no longer tolerate living like a hipster. No more apartments with three to five people rooming together, sleeping on mattresses that may or may not be fitted with sheets. No more random roommates, period! No more surviving solely on pickled turnips and other foods found around the household with dubious expiry dates.
For me, checking out means having a savings account for a future house, finally buying a bed frame (hurray!) and home-cooked meals most nights of the week.
Almost Thirty means that you body is starting to bite back at years of self-inflicted abuse. This means that when you eat spicy, grease-laden foods, drink bourbon and gin until you're yelling at your beloved on the subway, the next day will be harrowing in a way that it could never be at twenty-one. Heartburn will make you feel like you're in a secret layer of hell, your headache will last the entire week, and you'll dread having a physical for fear that you might be diagnosed with high cholesterol or pre-diabetes.
For me, checking out means actually pacing myself so that I can exercise the morning after a night-on-the-town, which these days end at about midnight. It means trying to balance out my poutine cravings with salads, lean protein, green smoothies and other healthier fare.
Almost Thirty means getting grumpy about a lot of things, a lot of the time. Maybe one's tolerance for stupidity just lessens with age. The worst offenders of all are internet expressions that no one has bothered to explain to us more senior twenty-somethings. These include:
- #everything - I'm not saying I've never used a hashtag in my life, but I try to use them sparingly if at all. People who post pictures with a gazillion hashtags make me want to throw fireballs. I'd feel ridiculous if every picture I posted was tagged #angry #underemployed #eatstoomuch.
- TBT - Since when did the 'people of the internet' decide that Thursday was a throwback day? I'd like to institute a rule where only people who are old enough to have authentic black and white photos of themselves are able to throwback.
- YOLO - Did I miss the yolo train? Is it already passé? Who invented it? Why does it sound like an evil yogurt brand that is secretly engineered to wipe out humanity?
- Life Hack - Apparently this term was coined by computer programmers in the 80's (Wikipedia told me so) but why am I only hearing it now, and so excessively? People think they are so clever when they call something a 'life hack', but really, it's just a lame term for offering up a tip to boost productivity or simplify life. So why don't you just say that instead???
Almost Thirty (for some of us lady-folk) means that when a commercial of a cute baby appears on our tv/laptop/tablet our biological clock sounds more like a ticking time-bomb about to explode. It means that when your mom starts knitting baby sweaters for her imaginary first grandchild, you're secretly not so horrified by the insinuation. It means you're actually thinking long-term about life decisions that will make sense for a family.
For me, checking out also means that I'm intuitive enough to know I'm still not ready for a kid, financially, spiritually, or otherwise. It means knowing somewhere deep down that I need to live my life and find a certain measure of fulfillment in myself before I bring anyone else into the picture.
I've made a ton of generalizations based on how I feel about approaching a new decade, but the truth is that I know people who seem to have it all figured out by the time they hit twenty-three, and those that are still searching for the mecca of adulthood at thirty-five. When it comes down to it, Almost Thirty mean whatever you want it to mean.