I never thought this time would come. When I was younger, 30 years old used to sound impossible. I thought for sure that I would be much more mature than I am now, but here I am. 30 years old and not much has changed, except almost everything.
I remember when I was a kid and my dad was 30. He was so big and strong, a working adult and every decision seemed so ‘matter of fact’. He was always right, I mean, a 30-year old always knew the right answer. I couldn’t imagine ever being his age. Time moved slow when I was younger. Those three months off school used to feel like an eternity! And the school year itself felt like a lifetime! I was always stuck in the moment, living life one day and one experience at a time. I’ve noticed that the older I get; the faster time seems to move. I wish the opposite were true.
Now that I’m 30, it’s not that old at all! I’m not even half way through my life. It doesn’t mean that you know everything (luckily, I don’t have any kids or that fact would be very evident) but I’ve learned how to act like I do when the situation calls for it. I still believe that I am coming into my prime, not fading out of it. I don’t have the same unlimited energy that I used to but I’m wiser with the energy that I do have. I pick my spots, like a veteran in any sport, you realize that 100% energy 100% of the time just simply isn’t necessary, mentally or physically. I’m far from being wise, but I have a level of experience that I can draw on that I never had before. I traded in some of my fearless mentality for experience and reflection, and it has led to better decision making. I know the things that I enjoy in life now and I don’t waste my time with the things that I know I don’t (bowling). This includes the people that I surround myself with. My younger version loved to experiment with different crowds and personalities, but now I’m exclusive with who I hang out with. I don’t have time to waste with people that I don’t jive with. I’m selective with my time because I have a new appreciation for it. If you aren’t 30 yet, here are some things that you can expect.
Physically: bad news, your metabolism doesn’t get any faster the older you get, it only slows down. I remember eating four double cheeseburgers in between football practices in high school... now I can’t imagine eating that many in a week. I was reckless with my eating habits and I never had to work out. Now I am meticulous with my eating habits (Chick Fil A and Panera Bread) and I’m signing up for a gym membership this week. Your body slows down, not exactly something to look forward too, but there is a plus side. I’m naturally stronger than I was as a youth. Ever heard of ‘man strength’? My current version could easily beat up my younger self, granted neither of them worked out. Age does no favors for your physical self. You will need to plan on investing more time to keep this version where it needs to be.
Mentally; Patience: good news, it’s not all bad with age. In fact, mentally you become a much better person and it starts with patience. As a youth, patience was a nonexistent attribute, now it is. I have patience for people, situations and even outcomes when they don’t go my way. I used to throw tantrums whenever I would lose at a sporting event or game, now I only throw those tantrums within my own head, so that other people can’t see it. I have a better understand for people and their own decisions, everyone is going through something and it’s not my place to jump to conclusions based on my own life experience. Finally, I have developed patience for myself. I thought that I would be a millionaire at this age when I was 16 but the older I got, the harder life smacked me in the face. Life is a process, and I’m not going to be perfect every day, or any day. Learn to love the process and you will learn to love life.
Mentally; Expectations: which leads me into my next major change since turning 30. The expectations that I have for other people and mainly myself. Like I for mentioned, I was sure that I would be wealthy rich by now. That obviously hasn’t happened, but I have learned to manage my own expectations. I used to always expect perfection from myself, now I realize that’s impossible. And as I have realized that, so have I realized that it also is impossible from other people. Patience and expectations go hand in hand with each other.
Mentality; Decision Making: improved patience and adjusted expectations ultimately lead to better decision making. That and the fact that I have more life experiences to bounce my own thoughts off. Experience is the one thing that you gain with age and there is no cheating it. Not only have the experiences that I utilize to make decisions increased, but also the way that I make those decisions has changed. The younger that you are, the more short-term perspective that you have. The older you get, you become more aware of age and adapt your decision making to benefit the long term instead of the short term. I never would have thought about how a decision would affect me when I was 30 when I was 16. Now I make decisions with my 50-year-old self in mind. And the older I get the more I expand my long-term decision making, and the more I think about the remaining years that I have left. It would make sense if the opposite were true, but that’s not how it works.
Everyone says that getting old isn’t fun, but I’m enjoying it. I miss the carefree spirit of my teenage years, and the spontaneous decision making of my 20’s but I’m appreciating the perspective and experience of being 30. Time is speeding up every year and physically I’m slowing down. But mentally I’ve never been sharper and I’m spending my time more wisely. With all the changes that I have incurred, one thing I know for sure, that my 30-year-old self is the best version of me that there’s ever been. Now 40… THAT sounds old!