Induction into the hall of 30+
I turn 30 in a couple of months and for a while have felt like a headless chicken; dancing around with uncertainty, no sense of direction or purpose, extremely anxious about my future and feeling like i’m falling behind in life. Just winging it and i often find myself asking “What am i doing with my life?”
My dad was married and already had my sister at the age of 27 you know? I mean we really cant compare those times to now but just for the sake of perspective, deep it. Shit, even today we have people aged 25 even younger getting married so its not strictly an argument of the “The times” is it?
A little inner dialogue and i realize comparison was already my first mistake but it cant be helped. There surely is a benchmark or some sort of mental picture we had growing up about what we wanted our futures to look like. These images and sometimes people serve as reference points to our progress and lack of in various aspects of life ranging from friendships, settling down with a partner to having kids, giving our parent(s) grandkids, career path/growth, financial ambitions amongst other exploits that have been established as “Societal Standards” for a “well lived” life.
who came up with these standards really?
Logically there should be no rush, we all have our separate journeys, experiences, circumstance differ, blah blah blah.. That in fact is true but the truth doesn’t always have to be something we agree with.
You can’t see the successes and feats you yearn for being accomplished by others and not make comparisons with your situation. We see our mates getting married, having kids and hitting these “milestones”, some part of us must surely compare where we are in life currently with their “progress”. You haven’t wondered “does he/she have two heads?” 😅
Overall, seeing people achieve inspires but it should also prompt some intricate questions within.
I believe in energy, self awareness, positivity, being present in the moment and mindful of it all, so it might come off as counterproductive to harbor these emotions and thoughts, to feel the pressure from the “Status Quo” society has set but my anxiety shoots off the roof when i remember i turn 30 this year. If i’m being completely honest i have been feeling a little more than anxious for over a year now.
My earlier entries on rediscovering and reinventing myself were me coming to terms with my dissatisfaction in life and just gearing up to start things in a new direction. For the most part, it’s been great and when consistent i have seen a lot of positive feedback but this overwhelming feeling is one that has been marinating for a while and it feels like its about hit the smoking hot grill the closer i get to my 30th.
A large part of me is happy, grateful for life and that, but the emotions that stick out and have become amplified is fear and uncertainty. Not like i fucked up my whole life and relationships or have nothing to show for 30 beautiful years of existence but if you spoke to me as a freshman and asked me to paint a mental picture of what 30 should look like, i don’t think this canvas has been primed yet.
I like to point the finger at social media when i have these feelings and go on a detox/hiatus but not in a good/healthy or super intentional way, usually as a last ditch SOS because i’m staring into my reflection and again i don't recognize what phase or who this person is. Is this really a social media/societal expectation problem or just a ME problem?
My first entry on medium was birth out of what i considered to be an existential crisis. This transcends what i felt at the start of it all. The anxiety is crippling in the literal sense. Fear, cold sweats and an unsettled belly whenever im lost in thought about it all.
Another rabbit hole of quarter life crisis activities and im watching Ted Talks and other videos intended to make me feel better about myself unveiling the reoccurring themes of:
- Your 30s are the period to lay the groundwork
- There is no timeline for progress and growth
- Stop comparing yourself to others
- Perspective; Gratitude for the journey so far
- Pursue what's meaningful to you
- PAUSE (Practicing Mindfulness, Acknowledging your past, Understanding self, Stopping all judgement and Enjoying the process) etc
- Focusing on self above all
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I agree with a couple of the ideologies out there and how letting go of life’s conditioning can birth elevation and how we can be empowered enough to create our own rules to live by. Its valid but the way i feel is also valid.
Mentally, I replay so many “shoulda, woulda, coulda” situations. Regrets even. A little anger and frustration at potential(s) i haven’t even had a go at and i see this anger/ frustration seep into other areas of my life i should objectively be happy about. I feel irritated, stuck and scared to make a wrong move. Talk about a rock and a hard place then there’s me in-between.
Is there even a margin for error at this point? Did i get too jaded, too complacent? Have i let my environment steal my drive, joy and hope completely?
You could speak to a colleague of mine or someone who’s looking from the outside and the perception might be that i am someone who’s grounded,always on point, got it together and knows exactly what he wants. lol. lol again. I’m just winging it! AKA; I just dey freestyle this level since and what’s supposed to fuel the intentionality’s missing.
As you know, my entries are fluid. I start with a thought process/idea and build it up based on my understanding then i research and speak to people i consider friends about it just to get another perspective and also to affirm sometimes that i’m not losing the plot and it’s a shared experience 😂
Deola sent me two beautiful and intentional Bible passages that felt like was a direct response to me from God or whoever wrote those verses;
“Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].”- Philippians 4:6-7 AMP
“For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”- Jeremiah 29:11 AMP
Faith and religion was also a huge point in these talks, having a connection with God and the higher powers also were a source of great comfort and inspiration to a lot of people and that is an area in my life i have been relatively lacking and intend on working on.
I’m really not going to make this a religious or spiritual entry but those passages have been ringing in my mind since she sent them and have silenced the noise and given me a lot of comfort/ assurance that the road ahead is really calm and mine to take if i’m willing to do the work necessary internally and externally.
Wole’s perspective was also refreshing; sometimes achieved set goals and benchmarks are more than enough indicators towards our doing something right and i definitely had a pinch of imposter syndrome cos not to many are doing it like this! *brushes shoulders off*
My friends Dragana and Evore really are grateful for the journey, living in the moment and enjoying the process of it all (Highs and Lows) and i subscribe to this. We all have these moments of uncertainty and confusion (Lows) but it shouldn’t linger on for too long is my outtake from the conversations i’ve had with people who are 30 or just about to be.
Jay shetty said something in his book “Think like a monk”- “ cultural norms exist for a reason- there is nothing wrong with a society that offers models of what a fulfilling life might look like. But we need to take these goals with a lot of reflection and objectivity”
A lot of reflection and objective conversations have been had since the start of this entry a couple of weeks ago and i have come to the resolve that;
“We can’t be so focused on the goals we have in our life that we forget to live the moments in between”
I chose not to be overwhelmed by anxiety, I am grateful to be here, alive and blessed with the opportunities i chose to take and those i didn’t.
I have grown significantly mentally and i am in a space of clarity and objectivity!
I chose to move on and into my 30s with positivity and grace! The boy is a man on greaze mode and we’re really about to take it up levels 🚀
Sending love and light to you this beautiful month of May💕