I turn thirty in exactly one month.
I'll only look like this if I'm made to wear a pink party hat though.
I read a brilliant post on Just Me last week - Becks is in the same position but *is* freaking out about it. Fair dos. I sympathise with her in a lot of ways and yes, a lot of the same argh moments have hit me recently. But ultimately, I'm not freaking out.
Here's the thing. The big milestones and must-do things in life are only imposed by society. When you do them, and if you do them at all, is entirely up to you. I am by no means a rebellious type of person but I won't conform with norms just because the world wants me to. 30 is only classed as a significant birthday because it ends in a zero. The important ones - the ones that mean you're old enough to drink, vote, drive - they all come much earlier in life. Anything after that isn't a big deal. It's just a number.
The Big Four things that you're meant to have done by the time you're 30 are pretty well established as get married, have kids, buy a house and have a good career.
Other than the career part, I don't have any of those things. In fact, if you're judging me by strict job-snobby criteria then I probably don't have what some people would class as a career. Not the suits and management sort of career anyway. I have a job that I really love and am very good at. It's within a large charity but I'm the only person in my department in my office, so there isn't really career progression as such, plus I don't have that sort of ambition that would force me into uprooting my entire life and upping sticks halfway around the country just to earn a few grand more per year. I'm happy where I am and that's more important to me.
I'm entirely unbothered about two of the remaining three things. If you don't know of my stance on the whole children issue by now, let me sum it up for you briefly: NO. I can't think of anything worse. Getting married is not something that appeals to me either. Yes, it would be nice to have a man but it's hard enough to find one, let alone one that I want to spend the rest of my life with. It'd be a miracle if I managed that in the next month! Frankly, if you've found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with when you're nice and young, lucky you. Most of us don't have that luxury. As for my thoughts on weddings, don't get me started...
The house thing is kinda beyond my control. A single person earning the amount I earn cannot afford their own house. It's as simple as that. It depends what the future holds as to whether I ever own property or not but I can't say it's something that bothers me greatly.
Whether the traditional Big Four are even still valid or not is up for debate too. The world is changing. People have got other things to do with their lives and not enough money to afford things like houses and children. Of my immediate circle of friends and family, I know one person who was married and had a kid before they were 30. We're all lucky enough to have jobs. Do we all have houses? No. Most of us rent, even the couples. The ones that want kids aren't really thinking about it till they're in their 30s. I think it's becoming more and more prevalent that your 20s are for uni, having fun, figuring out your place in the world and then, if you want to, settling down. Having your whole life wrapped up by the age of 25 doesn't seem to be happening so much anymore.
I spent most of my 20s being fat, shy and unhappy and it's only the past few years that I've really started to become happy with who I am. I'm a late starter. So what? I'm quite happy with my life as it is right now. Ultimately, me aged 30 will be no different from me aged 29 and that's why I'm not freaking out about it.