I reckon its because every morning I went to gym and punched in 29 when the treadmill asked me my age. When I turned 29, I actually avoided gym for a few days based solely on the fact that the treadmill would know if I lied. This year, in the build up to turning 30, I was forced to face it every day (yes, because thats how often I go to gym. Not yet an old bat you see!) that I was entering my 30’s.
People don’t get why it scared me. And even still, using the word ‘scared’ just seems a bit over the top. Its just an age right? Just another year. Just a number. Well, it did scare me. The anxiety of turning this age, this number… was eating me up. Consuming me. I’ve tried to explain why, I’ve developed theories around the unmarried woman vs the married woman (I maintain there’s logic in my theory) and I tried to rationalise the fear. What I know now, is that the anticipation of it is worse than the blow.
So many people took it upon themselves to tell me how life at 30 is awesome. How everything comes miraculously together and there’s so much clarity. How suddenly you’re confident, know who you are and where you’re going. These are the same folk who said its just age. So if its just an age, how is there so much dawning light around the age. Say what they liked, nothing was putting me at ease. Hey, there were some that were understanding and I have to be very grateful for them (her. One person. One girl turning 30 two days later got it). I wasn’t feeling any of it. What everyone assumed (and falsely) was that this was a be married, have two kids and a house checklist type fear. It really wasn’t. I’ve never been one for five or ten year plans. Those things kind of take care of themselves when the timing is right. This was just an overwhelming anticipation of a thing that couldn’t be avoided.
I was sent The Saturn Return email that must’ve done the rounds to your inbox if you’re turning 30 this year. And yes, the first paragraph or two do make sense (I’m not one for long forwarded emails just FYI, I never get past the first paragraph). The Saturn Return is basically the first time the planet Saturn completes its cycle and returns to the spot it was in when you were born. Right, so for the non new-agey people like me, what does this actually mean? Its all about things lining up again and entering a new phase of existance. Adulthood. Apparently time, responsibility, age, and reality, are all associated with Saturn. So it kind of makes sense that these are the things that would bother us around this age. I guess the thing that I couldn’t avoid, was a huge planet completing its path. No amount of bribing (or tweeting) would’ve made that planet change direction. Ultimately, it still didn’t describe how I was feeling. Delving a bit deeper we could probably with a bit of a thumbsuck (and enough wine) establish why Saturn was effecting me the way it was. At the end of the day, I knew I wasn’t alone with the fear. Astrologers had written their facts down on the matter. That was good enough for me.
Anyway, as the as the big day approached, things did start to change. First up, I got a new job and started just 3 weeks before the big day. Sjoe! that was a close one, career sorted (ok, maybe just one checklist type thing). I had umm’d and aaah’d about the location of the celebration and that had brilliantly fallen into place too. The day had been gorgeous and I didn’t get drunk and cry, or remain sober and cry. I took a good long hard look in the mirror, which doesn’t always go down very well, and I figured I’m probably healthier than I was at 20 and do more exercise. There are probably more wrinkles, but thats expected I guess (I booked myself in for a facial just in case).
And so, to be fair… after all the anticipation and fear, my last week as a twenty-something went ok. A facial, a lunch at Steenberg and a trip to the aquarium and I had eased myself into this position at the top of the hill. No, I didn’t say over the hill. I said at the top. Thats the way I’m going to see my thirties. Everyone else has this peace from within crap… I don’t get that. I’m not really known for being a zen-like person. I’m still going to be having my fun, drama, confusion, excitement and the rest… I’ll just be doing it up here for the next decade, before I make my way down the otherside.