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I Just Turned 30

When I was a kid, I had it in my head that 30 was some kind of magic age where people figured shit out and knew what to do with their lives.  My understanding was that if you hadn't accomplished your life goals by 30, then you must have been doing something wrong.

It was sometime in college that I started to suspect that 30 might have just been an arbitrary age to pin that kind of guilt on.  But I still had a good 10 years or so ahead of me, so I figured I'd keep 30 as my benchmark.

Even as recently as nine months ago - when I started this blog - I had it in my head that I really had to have a book published by the time I turned 30.  It was one of my 2013 goals.  The idea was that if I didn't convince somebody to publish my stuff by age 30, then I needed to self-publish - I guess because anything else would have been a crushing defeat.

I turned 30 yesterday.  I have not self-published, and I have yet to get an encouraging word from the world of literary agencies.  But I don't really feel that upset by it.

I think if I hadn't started this blog when I did - if I hadn't started to take things seriously and really look at my productivity closely - then I might be panicking right now.  I might look around and say to myself, "How did I screw up this badly?"  But since I am still writing, it just feels like maybe 31 is the new 30.  Or maybe 32.  Or 35.  I don't know - it's not as important anymore.

I also feel a bit silly and humiliated about myself from when I started the blog.  I look at my earlier writing and I cringe.  (And not just because of all the typos.)  I get red-faced and I shake my head, tsking myself and saying, "What a naive little boy I was."

This is a matter of nine months, people.  Realistically, I could not possibly have gained enough wisdom in nine months to judge my 29 year old self so harshly.  But that's the way it goes - every day that passes, I look back at yesterday and see a moron.  Maybe that's why people think my generation is so dumb; all they see is yesterday, and yesterday is crystal clear when you're dreaming about tomorrow.

I was a little bit worried that I'd feel more depressed about my birthday because I haven't become a successful writer, but I don't feel like I've failed at anything so far.  In fact, the thing I'm most lamenting about 30 is that in another six months, I'm going to look at today and be a cocky asshole and say, "Wow, I was so naive back in March!  God, those 30 year-olds sure are dumb, aren't they, fellow 30.5 year-olds?"

Looking forward, though, I see a lot of brightness.  I don't know what's coming up next, but I'm sure it'll be good.


There is one thing that still bothers me.  I just turned 30, but I feel like I haven't officially been christened an "adult" yet.  Whether it's the way older people interact with me in public, or it's the way my boss talks to me at work, or the way people still refer to Millennials as "young" people, I can't help but feel like the world thinks of me as just a six foot tall baby.

So, can somebody in their forties or fifties tell me if that ever goes away?  Is this the part of life where I learn the dirty little secret that nobody ever really gets taken seriously unless they're talking to their juniors?  And if that's the case, then can we just knock it off?