There are lots of articles in circulation about entering your 30s. They will tell you stuff like ‘you won’t care as much about trivial things’ or ‘you’ll finally feel comfortable in your own skin’ or even ‘you won’t waste time on people who aren’t worth it’. Whilst these things are true on the whole, there are a lot of other things that change and some some that don’t, which never get mentioned.
So, if you’re approaching what my friend calls ‘the curly numbers’, this will arm you in preparation. If you’re already there, then hopefully it will raise a smile of recognition. Brace yourself, because I’m not going to make it all nice and fluffy for you…
You get weirdly into running
This happened to me bang on my 30th birthday. I didn’t realise it at the time, I just wanted to get in shape in the great outdoors.
It will happen to you too, and all of your friends. Instead of organising debauched nights of hedonistic clubbing, you’ll be organising the next big half marathon and comparing corrective insoles.
I can’t be sure, but I’d be willing to bet my house that the reason Forrest Gump ‘just felt like running’ was something to do with his indoctrination to the curly numbers.
I don’t know why this happens, it just does.
You discover you’re never too old or wise to have your heart broken
You’d have thought that by the time you reach your 30s, you’ll be over all that stuff. ‘Fraid not. You’re never too old to fall in and out of love, to have your heart wrenched from your body and trampled on, or too old to trample on someone else’s heart for that matter.
So when you’re weeping into your drink in the pub because the jukebox is playing Adele, and wailing things like “I thought I was beyond all this shit. Have I learned nothing???”, remember my words.
Just because you’ve reached maturity, doesn’t mean you can get off this roller coaster. But then again, would you really want to? Perhaps this lesson tells us that you’re never too old to really feel alive. Even if feeling alive sometimes hurts.
You age overnight
Firstly, if you’re 29 and three quarters, don’t panic. Step away from the paper bag. Put the tranquilizers down.They have done studies and a woman is at her most beautiful aged 30. I don’t know the equivalent for men, because I’m not one, so I don’t care. Sorry about that.
Super fast ageing doesn’t occur until you’re over the hump. You’ll go to bed on your 35th birthday looking not to shabby, congratulating yourself on your relatively line free face and trim figure. What will greet you in the mirror the following day is a ghastly amalgamation of Montgomery Burns and Zelda from Terrahawks.
I was lucky enough to be warned about this phenomenon by a good friend who’s a few years older than me. She told me that your whole life will catch up with your face on your 35th birthday, and she was right. Prepare yourself for it now, and hopefully you won’t completely freak out when you discover your face looks like an old chamois leather that’s been left in the rain.
I don’t want to alarm you, I really don’t. But if you think running out and spending the equivalent of a weeks rent on face cream will make any difference, I’d like to save you the heartache. And the money. If you still have a few years to go, I’d advise hiding from the sun like an oriental lady and quitting the smokes. This won’t stop you crumpling like soggy wrapping paper, but it will limit the damage a bit.
You get stuck in the decade of your 20s
There’s no point in resisting this when it happens to you. Doing as such is rather like trying to dig yourself out of a snow drift using cooked spaghetti. Not going to happen.
This phenomena occurs due to the conundrum facing all 30 somethings: trying to keep a grasp on your youth, whilst not appearing to the rest of the world like a sad, disillusioned twat.
New music will sound like someone gave a bunch mental patients some acid and a tambourine, you won’t know who anyone is in celebrity magazines, and fashion will turn you off because of the ‘terrible cut and cheap fabrics’. Plus, did you know that fashion moves in 20 year cycles? This sucks too because if you are old enough to have worn it the first time around, you’re probably too old to wear it the second.
Console yourself with the fact that you can never have too many Breton striped tops and chinos.
There’s never enough time
Another weird anomaly is a strange shift in time and space.
Despite having approximately 65% less hobbies, you’ll feel as if you have zero time. All the time. You’ll constantly utter stuff like ‘sorry, I’ve been really busy’, or ‘let’s schedule that dinner, I think I’m free in twenty seven years’ and ‘I’m so tired’ (you’ll say that one a lot).
Again, I don’t know why this happens. Probably to do with stuff like jobs and kids and whatnot, but you will spend the majority of your time wondering where the majority of your time went.
Perversely, I believe the way to tackle this is actually to do more things, which somehow makes time seem to last longer. That’s great and everything, except you won’t want to because you’ll be so bloody tired.
Weird things will excite you
You will get genuinely excited by the following:
Sleeping in past 7am
Going for a stroll
Nice bed linens
Your wood pile
Finding a reasonably priced organic chicken
You want to spend more time with your parents
When you reach maturity, your parent or parents can finally relax. Hopefully they’ll realise that you’re now a more self sufficient (if not a slightly more worn out) version of the child they raised, and they can ease off the parenting stuff.
This means they get to really be themselves, since they don’t need to set a good example any more, and you can get to know them on a whole new level.
And, whilst the moment you realise you’re having a giggle with your parents about how ‘these days even sleeping in a draft can injure you’ may freak you out a bit the first time, you reach a whole new level of understanding, respect and friendship with the ones who raised you. Which makes all the crinkly faced, heart broken, unfashionable, tired running malarkey worth it.