2 Months Ago I turned 30– And I’m fighting off a case of the “Should’ves”

From about 14 years of age and on– I, like most people, began to acquire expectations about the life I would live as an adult. And for some arbitrary reason, I chose 30 years as the age I would have without question become a 100% certifiable adult. I mean when you’re 30, you’re just plain old (at least that’s what I thought when I was 16).

A  little over 2 months ago, I reached that fateful age signifying I had 3 decades of life experience behind me. I must confess, I was wrong– I know, mark that one down for the records— I admitted I was wrong. But really, what teenager is correct in the assumptions they make about how their futures will unfold? Certainly, there is bound to be a few— but I am not among them. Whatever preconceived notions, I had diluted myself into believing about turning 30 and suddenly having all of the wisdom of adulthood bestowed upon me in Earth shattering revelations, were grounded more in myth & legends then any reality I could have referenced as one so green.

Even though my age reads 30, and I have had enough life experience for someone twice my age, I do not feel old. In fact, I do not even feel like a grown-up. In fact, I’m still waiting for that feeling to descend upon me— the feeling where you know you are an adult– when you have become one of them. It’s sad really– but I still feel like I’m trying to grow-up– all awkward and clumsy, just a big kid playing dress up– seeing if I can get away with it.

Alright, so this post is for you fellow 30-somethings– who still have that wet behind the ears feeling— who despite their best attempts, feels no more wise at 30+ than when they were wide eyed and newly legal 21 year olds. The following is a list of what I took for granted would be a part of my “adult” lifestyle— all assumptions are acquired from my adolescent & young adult selves– remember what they say about assume….


  1. Be a grown-up, instead of still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
  2. Have accumulted at least 2+ years professional experience, and spent at least 1 of those years at the same company.
  3. Be secure enough financially to qualify for a mortgage –thus renting or owning would be a matter of personal preference.
  4. Have a washer and dryer in my home— I would never have to go to parents’ or in-laws to do laundry, while visiting…
  5. Own more furniture that you picked, bought and coordinated than acquired as hand-me downs.–No more coffee tables made from cable spindles or faux Tiffany touch-lamps.
  6. Have your bed on a frame– no mattress/ box spring directly on the floor and own at least one complete set of coordinating bedding.
  7. Have actual window treatments on windows— mini-blinds are the minimum and nailed up sheets/ blankets are NOT considered curtains.
  8. Pay parking tickets before they go the District Magistrate’s office. (Only exception is for parking tickets acquired in State College, PA—if you’re from there, you know there is no satisfying those greedy devils!)
  9. Actually have a credit card to use for emergencies, and only use it for emergencies…
  10. Have both a savings and checking account that would never have a negative balance since you faithfully keep track of each transaction–and if you did make a mistake you enrolled in Overdraft protection, because you are a responsible adult.
  11.  Be able to fill up your vehicle’s gas tank without using the very last $1 you have…
  12. Never look your age! No one would comment on your gray hairs or say you look tired because you always keep up with your hair color– use sunscreen, and use eye-cream—you fervently lived the saying: “One ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.”
  13. Skin free of acne and breakouts! You revel in your womanhood– and are ecstatic to be past those hormonal teenager years. In fact, you’re convinced Adult Acne is a scam created by beauty companies  to prey on the confidence of young vulnerable women…(Alright, you caught me. This point is more wishful thinking than actual expectation about life @ 30).
  14. Even though you are not an undergrad anymore–have an active social life with a close circle of friends, each one bearing a resemblance to a sitcom or movie character, especially after downing your third Cosmo.
  15. Participate in rituals of self-care: regular medical appointments, yoga/piliates,  journaling, etc– without apology!
  16. Be active in the community— be a part of something outside the home and outside of work! Don’t forget how having outside interests can actually help you feel more centered!
  17. At 30, you are so involved in trying to live your life ,that that you wouldn’t possibly have time to reflect about what you should have done or been doing— let alone actually blog about it!


Well, that’s most of it– it really just boils down to the fact that I really believed that at this point in my life I would be more settled. I’ve realized that as a woman, especially, you really feel the force of time nipping at your heels.  I mean, after a women reaches 35, she is past her prime childbearing age—where men are still considered to be in their prime for another 15 years at least. And these are merely perceptions , not truth– 30 is not old. In fact, from where I am standing 30 is getting younger everyday because we are living longer everyday.  Also, I can name at least 20 other classmates easy in the same boat as me— husband included! And truly, despite a person’s best efforts to create a timeline for completion of specific life successes– the life we are living in is creating and altering its own timeline simultaneously…

If only I knew when I was 21, that I would still feel the same sense of uncertainty about myself at 30— I would have enjoyed my 20’s more, and simply accepted the fact that experience is not the same as knowledge gained– rather the only thing experience has consistently showed me is how little I know.

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