When you’re young, birthdays are something you look forward to every year without fail, but that tends to change the older you get. Once you reach your 30s, birthdays are no longer a wild celebration; instead, they’re a more introspective occasion that forces you to reflect on your progress in life so far.
“It’s been another year already?”
Time starts to pass way too quickly in our 30s. We’re busy building our careers and future families, so it’s astonishing sometimes how quickly a year can pass. We wish time would slow down just a little, because we still have so much more to accomplish.
“I’m starting to sound like my parents.”
After 30, we start to realize we’re not as young as we used to be. When our conversations with our friends now include income taxes, mortgage rates, weddings and kids, it’s a wake-up call that we’re slowly but surely turning into our parents.
“Is that a gray hair?”
The first time we actually find a gray hair, it’s traumatic. So long, youth! We’ll miss you.
“What am I doing with my life?”
Even if we do have a solid career path and are well on the way to accomplishing our goals, birthdays make us re-evaluate our lives to make sure we’re on a solid path. There’s a good chance we’ve changed the plan quite a few times by now, but the important thing is that we actually have a plan and the motivation to follow through with it.
“Am I successful?”
We ask this question of everything in our lives, not just our careers. We all have our own definition of success. Sometimes it includes financial goals, family goals, and relationship goals. After 30, every birthday is a new yearly evaluation of how close we are to accomplishing our own definition of success.
“I have a limited number of years left to procreate safely.”
Especially for women, the clock starts ticking much more loudly after age 30. As unfair as it is, our ability to have kids is much more pressing than it is for guys. If we do have parenthood in mind as a life goal, every new birthday in our 30s makes that clock tick more loudly.
“Oh no. Did the wrinkle in my forehead get bigger?”
Physical signs of aging can be scary, or at the very least disconcerting. In our heads, they mean that we’ll be perceived differently. Not only will we be unable to get away with using that old college ID to get a discount, but we feel like we’ll be expected to fit some mold of what maturity looks like. Plus, we just like looking good.
“Can I just have the gifts/a party without getting older?”
We enjoy certain aspects of birthdays, obviously. We like presents, partying with our friends, and having an excuse to go out and do some hardcore drinking like we used to in our 20s. The aging part of the deal, however, is a buzzkill.
“Yes! The clerk just carded me to buy wine!”
Even if we know they have to card everyone, we gladly hand over that ID with a smile, relieved that anyone would doubt that we’re even old enough to buy alcohol. It’s a nice moment of validation.
“I would never want to go back to my 20s.”
Even though aging freaks us out a bit, we also see how much wiser we are now than we were in our 20s and the only reason we’d want to go back in time is to smack some sense into our younger selves. Despite its downfalls, we see the benefits of getting older and we know that the change is worthwhile.
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