So at one point, thirty seemed to be a ridiculously old, mature age. The twenties were for cool, young people. Everyone who was an “adult” was “at least thirty.” Thirty-year-olds were parents. Thirty seemed a LONG way off for me. There were some things I just took for granted as not having to deal with once I turned into a “grownup.”
- Acne. Seriously? I heard all of these awesome, exciting things about how acne was just a teenage thing. I looked forward to the day when I wouldn’t have to worry about new, ugly zits cropping up on my chin and other annoying areas. I dreamed of the perfect skin I would have in my twenties. Well, world, at least for me, acne did not end once I stepped into my twenties. In fact, it didn’t stop once I reached thirty, either. I guess I can always hang in there for forty being the magic age, but I’m almost positive I’m going to be eighty years old, full of wrinkles and age spots, and STILL get pimples. Le sigh.
- Middle school-style drama. Yes, puberty was a tortuous time for me, like it is for so many others. Not only are you having to deal with all of these awkward body changes, but people start to get really catty, and rude, and gossipy. That ends after high school, right? College? Once you get into the workforce? Once you turn thirty, and your peers are wise and mature enough to realize that bullying people, making snide remarks, stabbing backs, gossiping, scapegoating, forming cliques, etc., etc. won’t get you anywhere? No. It never ends. The only time we were free of this drama was prior to puberty. Unfortunately, kids are getting into this earlier and earlier in life...Turn back, kids! Slippery slope!
- Not being able to control my emotions. Okay, don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t naive enough to think that I wouldn’t have those certain moments in which emotions would take over. However, I really thought that once I was “really an adult,” I’d be able to get frustrated, angry, embarrassed, or extremely stressed without the incident resulting in tears. I’ve certainly failed at that aspiration. It would certainly be lovely if I could learn to control my emotions better, but I really don’t see much changing at this point, since all that’s changed since childhood is that I don’t sound like a siren wailing anymore. (Well, except in VERY special cases, and no one but my husband gets to witness those episodes... ;) )
- Anxiety when meeting new people. I thought that “adults” had some acquired ability allowing them to socialize with new people as easily as they could with acquaintances. For some reason, I figured that one day, I would have absolutely no problem walking into a room of strangers. That tight feeling in my chest before stepping into a completely new experience? That wouldn’t happen in adulthood! I beg to differ. If anything, the anxiety has increased. When we allow ourselves to be afraid of things, those fears just escalate over time.
- People who start smoking. This is obviously a society-wide issue, not a personal issue, other than the fact that I can’t breathe when people are smoking anywhere near me. I never in a million years dreamed that restaurants and bars would be smoke-free, so I’ve been pleasantly surprised with that development. However, I cannot believe, with all of the things we know about the dangers of cigarette smoking, with the high prices of such a highly-addictive drug, that people would still start smoking. I see teenagers and people in their twenties with cigarettes, and I just can’t wrap my mind around it. I understand why people keep smoking -- it’s addictive, obviously. However, to begin smoking...it just makes absolutely no sense to me. Hopefully one day, the number of new smokers will begin to dwindle, and young people will eventually avoid cigarettes altogether, but I unfortunately have much less hope for that now.
- Feeling like I’m not an adult. Is there a time when people really start feeling like they are grownups? Instead of making me feel like an adult, turning thirty made me realize how young thirty really always has been. Like I said, I really did think that once you were in your thirties you were completely grown up (AKA, old). The characters in Friends were grownups, right? And they were supposed to be in their upper twenties! Will I ever feel like I’m really an adult? When I have kids, will I then feel like an adult? Will I still feel younger than I am when I turn forty? Fifty? Seventy? I can only imagine now that people in their eighties may still feel (not physically, obviously, but mentally) like they’re still in their thirties or forties. Readers, do you feel younger than your biological age? Does Betty White still feel like she’s thirty? I have a feeling she does.