Every decade we live has a texture to it. There is a particular flavor that coats the years like emotional plaque. Your childhood is about innocence and discovery, your teen years – exploration and experimentation, your 20’s – adventure and ambition, and your dirty 30’s – identity and responsibility.
By the time you are in your 30’s there is a cultural expectation to be “settled” in your career, have “settled” into a relationship, “settled down” and bought a house, “settled your sexuality” and popped out some children, and basically settled into every part of yourself like gelatin.
The major life decisions you make, or don’t make, then come to define you. No longer are you a person who is a conglomerate of personality traits, but you are also quantified by the choices you made. Did you breed? Do you have a fancy house? Do you make lots of money? What job do you have? These questions become the sum total of how people see you.
Yet there is this whole other part of your 30’s that I think gets overlooked. What kind of person are you? Are you self-reflective? Have you evolved emotionally? Do you still try new things? Are you courageous? Do you take risks? Do you laugh? Are you creative? Do you have a spiritual practice? Are you philosophically curious? The daunting nature of obligation and performing for people replaces these aspects of humanity we once valued when young.
I think it is easy to go a bit cray cray in your 30’s because there is so much pressure to be something that fits into a box. It is the decade where you brand yourself – the banker, the parent, the candlestick maker. Those that procrastinate these defining decisions tend to feel like outsiders missing out as societal outlaws.
I get how responsibility breeds more responsibility, but I also think “fuck… isn’t there something exciting about the future being unknown?” Part of he reason why so many people start to crave stability in their 30’s is that it provides a sense of security. Yet when you are your most comfortable, you are not exactly your most stimulated either. Mystery has a vibrating energy that can get you off… your ass and out trying things you never thought possible.