Musings in Neurosis: Turning 30

I’ve been pondering for the past few days on the fact that I’ll be turning 30 in a few months. For most of my adult years I’ve looked upon this date with much trepidation, panic attacks, and hives. I don’t know if it’s the loss of my youth I’m worried about, the toll that aging will take on my body/face, or the fact that I’m going to be dead one day that freaks me out. Probably a combination of all of those things.

I’ve also been saying for years that I’ll go skydiving for my 30th birthday, and seeing as I’m utterly terrified of heights, I’ve been racking my brain for excuses to get out of it. I can just see it now: ridiculous woman falls face first into a vat of pig excrement – oh wait, that’s been done before, by my British alter ego, one Ms. Jones.

I am her in so many ways. Charming on the surface, but utterly disastrous on the inside. Fighting the good fight against weight gain, attempting to quit smoking (again and again and again), trying not to drink too much, and generally making a fool of one’s self while trying to keep the outward appearance of being put together and fabulous. I’ve never ironed my hair or shagged Hugh Grant, but sometimes I do think my life is one giant turkey curry buffet – I’m standing embarrassed in the corner trying not to draw attention to my ridiculousness.

Despite all this, the interesting thing about being me right now is that the closer I get to 30, the less and less I fear it. I’m actually looking forward to turning 30! I never thought I would say such utter nonsense. After all, our lives as women are inundated with dropped hints that the older we get, the closer to that sell-by date we venture, the less we’re worth physically, emotionally, financially and so on.

Eff that, I say. Bring on the expiration date. I might be the only jug left in the fridge but that just means I’ve got more room to dance.

I’m probably the most neurotic woman I know. I’m certifiably insane. I’m a rambling, klutzy, moronic and often kooky kind of dolt. For the entirety of my 20s I’ve struggled with presenting this image of being incredibly put together, without flaw or fault, without emotions, even. When in reality I’m a hybrid of the aforementioned Bridget Jones and Susan Meyer from Desperate Housewives.

Now that I’m getting older I realize that nothing could be more charming than a goofy, creative, somewhat stumbling lady. And that’s exactly what I am. I will say the wrong thing. I will ask the dumb questions. I will tuck my skirt into my tights and walk around with my ass showing. I’ll be the one with lipstick on my teeth, a cliffhanger in my nose, and a longing to be fabulous. I’m Edina Monsoon twenty years early. And I am SO OKAY with that. In fact, I have never been happier to be this clueless.

I think that with turning 30 comes a certain self-awareness that some of us are lacking in our younger years. A certain kind of calm confidence, a settling into ones own skin. Despite the fact that my skin is no longer perfect, I have wrinkles around my eyes, and I look tired more often than not, I feel more attractive than I ever have. I finally had the nerve to go platinum blonde this year, after 20 years of wistfully wishing I had the guts. I finally learned to accept that yes, my weight will fluctuate, yes, having a c-section has forever altered my body, and that no, I will never, ever be ‘perfect’, and that striving to attain that ideal is a waste of my time. Despite knowing all those things, I still manage to look in the mirror and see something attractive. It has taken me many years to be able to do that.

Obviously in the entertainment world and elsewhere it’s still incredibly hard for women of a certain age, specifically over 40, to make their mark without facing extreme adversity, condescension and naysaying. It is incredibly unfair, and I applaud those successful women who don’t listen to the mustn’ts and go about their business with confidence and poise. Despite all the negative, it’s a great time to be a woman, no matter what your age. Our opportunities will never dry up if we don’t let them. It’s just a matter of grabbing every opportunity you can, making your own luck, and working hard at what you care about. Anything is possible with minds like ours!

As for me, I’m just so happy that I have the life I have. It’s not near perfect, but I’ve come to realize that perfection would be pretty damn boring with a mind as restless as mine. I strive on adversity and challenges. I need to have ‘cock-ups’ from time to time to keep life interesting. After all, what would I write about otherwise?

So yeah, I’m the American Bridget Jones. Neurotic, anxious, sometimes annoying (and yes, a member of the Mr. Darcy fan club – ding dong!) and always endearing. Whatever being in my 30s has to offer – wobbly bits, and then some – I’m prepared. Bring it on, 30! This dame is ready for you.

Picture Credit: Bridget Jones Diary, film

Published by

Teri Drake-Floyd

An almost 30-something synestheste, foodie, genealogist and all around proud geek.

23 thoughts on “Musings in Neurosis: Turning 30”

  1. I am 33. I never dreaded turning 30; in fact, I couldn’t wait because in a twisted sense I felt it gave me more professional credibility. I know I’m good at my job, I’ve been there for 11 years, and I currently supervise 19 people. However, my age has always been a problem there. Only 3 of my employees are younger than me, and I am constantly criticized (both to my face and behind my back) for being “too young” to run my department. Nearly all of my employees have asked me how old I am, which I always find to be incredibly rude. They will tell new trainees “oh she’s about 22 or 23.” They make jokes that I’d be invited out after work but I’m probably not old enough to drink. My staff knows damn well I’ve been with the organization over a decade. Do they honestly think I was hired fresh out of the 6th grade? Would a male supervisor my age face the same issues? In my 20s I went through cancer, had a hysterectomy, and got divorced. So, yeah, turning 30 was great for me. It was a new start. I went to Las Vegas with my sister that weekend and actually felt much younger upon returning. But now it’s three years later and I realize, as silly as it may seeem, that the confidence the number 30 gave me changed my entire attitude and made me even more badass as a boss. I no longer care what they say. Bring on 40!

  2. Guess what? Everything they say about your 30s is true! They really are the best years of your life: you know enough to feel smart and not naive, but you still feel a curiosity about life.
    My only problem about being 30 is a) I don’t have a full time job/am not financially independent yet. I expected this way before 30. b) I won’t stereotype, but many of the men I’ve met my age are not… Well kept. I mean, if you’re single and wanna meet ladies you’d think you’d put effort into your appearance. Therefore I’ve been attracted to many of the younger men.

  3. I turn 30 in a few months, and I can’t wait. My 20s were objectively pretty awful for a variety of reasons, so I have no qualms about leaving this decade behind. Maybe that’s a pretty negative way of looking at things, but it’s made me really excited for what’s ahead. I feel so much more confident, self-aware, self-assured, stable, and capable. Get on with your bad, 30-year-old selves!

  4. I love these comments…I think self-acceptance and (what’s the other health class term?) self-actualization are so much more important than “being sexy”, even in the happiest, most pro-women, feminist way. If you really feel happier being kooky or nerdy than a sexpot, that’s you and you should own it. If rubbing cremes into your face every day takes away from your AM time with your animals, go rub your face on them instead. The only thing I’ve become certain of at 27 is that the only way to really love others begins with loving yourself.

  5. Loving these comments, guys! I’m so happy to see so many of you excited at having already turned 30 or at the prospect of being 30 soon. It makes me feel that much more confident that 30 is going to be a great year for me, and for all of us!

    Woo adulthood!

    Though I still think we should all act as childish as possible from time to time. :)

  6. I turn 30 in four months. And yeah, I’m actually really okay with it. I think it’s partly acknowledging that you won’t ever be anyone but who you already are. There won’t ever be some magical transformation where you wake up and discover that you’ve become a Disney Princess, or a unicorn.
    And now that I’m finally OK and even happy to wake up as myself… it’s kinda fun to see what will happen next.

  7. I turned 27 last year, and despite being frustrated about career expectations and wanting to be more established, I also have more self-esteem and much more confidence, and more friends, and a better understanding and acceptance of myself. In most of my twenties, I was shy, closed-off, uncomfortable with being open with others, socially inept, and not very confident. Now I feel like a completely different woman, and am proud that I’ve grown so much. I’m hoping it will get better when I get into my 30s.

  8. I turned 30 last year. It really was an issue for me until other people made it an issue. As the day got closer people kept asking me how did I feel, did I feel old, was I going to be sad that I wasn’t in my 20s anymore. I was honestly so over being in my 20s that I couldn’t wait for my birthday. When I got questions I would shrug and say I was thankful that I lived another year, there were some people that weren’t as lucky. That shut them up.

  9. I turned 30 about 6 months ago and I love it. My twenties were spent somewhere between depression and education, so I was happy (and quite frankly, surprised) that I made it to the big 3-0. The birthday celebration itself was the best I’d had in decades and since then I’ve just felt more comfortable with myself. It seems silly that a birthday could do that, but I think somewhere in my nether regions of my mind turning 30 enabled me to let some stuff go. I seem to be leaving behind the embarrassment/shame/guilt that followed me everywhere I went and I’m trying things I never thought I would.

    So to all of you ladies and gents turning 30, enjoy it and don’t let it freak you out!

  10. I loved turning thirty. I didn’t enjoy my twenties much, so I was kind of glad to move on and feel like a full-fledged “adult”. (Truth: I still don’t know what that’s supposed to mean.) 35 was harder. Getting over that mid-decade hump was a bigger deal than actually turning 30 itself.

  11. I’m 32, and I’m so much more “me” than I was in my twenties. Plus, I’ve found that I command a little more (unearned) respect, just by virtue of being a little older. I also feel like I don’t need to justify my choices nearly as much as I used to.

    1. I’ve absolutely found that too. I’m 36 now and I’m really enjoying my 30s, I just feel like folk take me that bit more seriously. Plus, I have never looked better or felt more attractive than I have done this last few years. It’s a pretty good time of life, I think.

  12. Eh, turning thirty is better than the alternative.

    Seriously, though, pending any major catastrophes, we’ll all turn thirty eventually (my big day is in about 6 months). You can either dread it, or embrace it – since it’s gonna happen anyway, I say embrace it!

  13. I just turned 33 a couple weeks ago, and I’ll tell you – I love being in my 30’s! When I turned 30, I was unemployed and looking at having to move back in with my mom. Not the greatest way to kick of being an adult. But something strange happened. Suddenly people started treating me like an adult. No longer did I get a side-eye from my dad if I ordered wine with dinner, and I finally felt included as one of the WOMEN in my family. So don’t fear 30, embrace it! Enjoy that you’ll be treated like an adult, but you’re still young enough to party if you want to.

  14. Hush. I’m 28 in four days. This is not exactly a milestone birthday but I already dread it. Thinking about the big 3 Oh is not on my list of things to do.

    But, I fully support lying about one’s age. For all of my 26th year I kept forgetting how old I was. So, I’m just subtracting it. Which I guess means I’m turning 27. …huh, that feels better. :)

    (I do kinda daydream about throwing lavish, lush parties in my 40’s though, that sounds fun.)

    1. What is it about 26/27? I swear to god, my high school friends and I are one or the other of those ages and we constantly forget what age we are. Not to mention I have sisters who are 22 and 23 and another who’s 21. How the heck am I supposed to keep track of which twenty everyone is? Keeps changing at irregular intervals all year long!

  15. I turned 30 in 2001, on Thanksgiving, and I hosted all the family for dinner. I ended up getting tanked on wine while I cooked and it turned out to be a really fun, sort of grown up but not totally day.

    I recommend parasailing before you jump out of a perfectly good airplane. All the fun, none of the standing on a wing.

  16. Funny thing about 30, the day after you turn thirty feels pretty much the same as the day before you turned thirty. Chances are you won’t even be really hung over because you’ve had time to learn how to pace yourself. And if you don’t want to go skydiving, you don’t have to! You’ve survived your twenties – you don’t have to prove nothing to nobody.

  17. Ever since I was in my early teens I feared turning 30, I would often think it was the end of my life. Two weeks ago I turned the big 3-0 and you know what, I’m still kickin’ and it was the most lovely birthday I’ve ever had. My friends and family made it memorable but more than that I realized how far I’ve come and how comfortable with myself I am. If I was smart I would have be terrified of being sixteen but that’s a story for another time.

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