Feeling Old At 30


I was just reading this post today, and realized that feeling old at 30 is nothing new to me. In fact, most of her examples could have been drawn straight from my everyday life: I refuse to believe there are college graduates born in the 90s (RG3!?!), I don’t really acknowledge that my university has the shiny new (or, ahem, 6-year-old) basketball arena that was built well after my graduation, and just last night I was extolling the virtues of concerts where you get to sit down (while we’re at it, could they have them start earlier too?). My favorite part of the Glamour post is this:

You don’t start feeling older at 40, you start feeling old the second you’re made to be around people who’re younger than you masquerading as adults. I say masquerading because there can’t actually be adults younger than you, right? We all feel like the youngest adults.[emphasis mine]

It rings so true for me, because while I absolutely love being in my 30s and cherish all the experiences of the last decade, I also hands down still think of myself as young. That’s the thing that you never realize as a teenager: as the years pass, you may get old, but that doesn’t mean you feel old. You gradually add into your life the trappings of adulthood, but you don’t necessarily think of them as such in your eagerness to move forward. Then one day, you look at people 2-8 years younger than you and think, “Well, they may live on their own, but how? It’s not like they’re real adults!” And that’s it, my friends: you are old. And smug. And, by the way, if you think that literally raising an infant will steer you away from infantilizing younger adults… you’d be wrong.

So yes, there is something poignant, and depending on your outlook, even bittersweet about saying that final and probably overdue goodbye to your young adult years. Yet, when I think about the actual experiences I had of being 16, 20, 24 — I can’t believe all the things I didn’t know and how much smaller my world was. My friend recently remarked that you are supposed to know everything you’ll know in life by 30, which is a staggering thought. I’d prefer to think that in every decade, your experiences and knowledge explode exponentially, so you’re always looking back at younger you with a fond (and smug) smile. I like that, especially the thought that one day, I will look back and say about 30-year-old me, “oh, man. You knew nothing, Abby Phoenix.”

(Photo courtesy of Someecards)