AT RANDOM: 30-life crisis

Reporter/photographer Jennifer Smith dwells on the number 30

In my circle of friends, this is a big year. It’s the year we individually take turns mourning the death of our 20s.

Some of us will go peacefully, contemplating all our accomplishments and lack thereof, while others are yanked from our youth kicking and screaming (I’m probably the latter).

Realistically, 30 is still young. But there’s something about this milestone that inspires a semi-midlife crisis.

For those of us sitting in the shadow of that number, it seems so old.

I recall being a teenager and when one of my brother’s older friends told me he was 30 I thought: “Oh man that’s almost ancient.”

Now I’m married to a 30-year-old (my husband turned 30 yesterday), and I almost feel a little dirty (despite the fact that I’m only two months away from being the same age).

For him, it doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal. “Just another year older,” he tells me as I unsuccessfully attempt to sway him into hitting the town for a big bash or doing something drastic, like getting a tattoo.

I, on the other hand, am dreading the big day. It’s like doomsday, something I can’t run away or hide from, but know is inevitably going to come.

They call it the quarter-life crisis (which strikes sometime between teen years and in your 30s).

It really makes you look back on your life, wondering: “Did I do it right? Have I accomplished everything I had once dreamed of? Is there still time, or more importantly, energy, to do more?”

Of course there is!

It’s not as if we’re wheeling into retirement homes, we are just turning 30. That’s a pretty spry age in all reality.

There’s plenty of time to get things done.

In fact, more people are doing things later in life.

Unlike our grandparents, and in some cases our parents – who were married off by the age of 15 and with a baby in their arms by 17 – a lot of people are waiting to pro-create.

They’re taking advantage of their youth to travel, indulge, enjoy, find that perfect match, get a career established, etc.

These days there a lot of older parents around. According to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada half (50 per cent) of all mothers who gave birth in 2009 were 30 years of age or older.

To each their own, but in my mind: who has the energy to raise a child in their 40s?

I only have one child, and at almost-30, I’m pooped trying to keep up with this three-year-old ball of energy.

But at the same time, kids give you a lot to look forward to (whether you’re 30, 40 or in your grandparent years).

Most of my friends have kids too, but perhaps the most special trio is that between my two girlfriends and I who each have daughters who are only months apart in age.

We recently signed them up for soccer and watching the three little ones run and play together was so special. It makes me really look forward to the years of watching them play and grow together – although dreading their teenage years, if they are going to be anything like their moms.

So while 30 signals the end of three decades of youth for us, we still have a lot to look forward to.


——— 30 ———