I saw this college student. There was nothing special about her. Just your regular kolehiyala. But for some reason, I suddenly told myself: Thank God I’ve graduated from that phase in my life. It was such an unexpected thought that I realized that I am much happier with where I am now, and that includes my age.
So it got me thinking: what’s so great about being 30-something anyway? I’ll tell you. A lot! These are just my personal experiences and thoughts. Of course, every 30-something adult has their own lives to live and circumstances to face and so the following points will not be applicable to everyone. And also, let’s face it, adulting can sometimes be hard and totally not fun. Even so, being 30-something for me is a great time to be alive because:
1. I am now earning my own money. And not just any money, but more-than-enough-money-that-I-can-be-a-blessing-to-others kind of money. Money that can buy not only what I need but also what I want. Having an ATM that doesn’t reach 0 pesos is awesome and a blessing (which should not be taken for granted).
2. I know myself better. I now know what I want in terms of the kind of job I like, the relationships I intend to keep, how I enjoy myself, activities that I really want to be a part of my life, where I want to spend my time, how I dress and all these things. I guess when I was younger I didn’t exactly know which direction I wanted to go or what I really wanted to do. I don’t know everything, I don’t have answers to every question, but I know myself enough to get me through the day.
3. I have chosen my closest friends wisely. When I was in college, I tried to fit in this group of friends simply because they were my batchmates. They were awesome, don’t get me wrong, but I just felt I didn’t fit in. I tried to keep them even after I graduated college. Once, on a road trip, they started doing marijuana. Nothing against (medical) marijuana but during that time, I was really uncomfortable with the idea and so then and there, I decided to cut them out of my life. I haven’t seen them since (though we still keep in touch somehow because hey, they are really nice naman). I guess as you grow old, you tend to keep those friends who are precious to you and have known for such a long time plus those others whom you just click with. The rest, I cut out from my life completely.
4. I don’t feel guilty anymore – doing things that I love, ignoring toxic people, spending my money the way I want, living my life the way I want to live it, staying at home and doing nothing, saying no to people. When I was younger, I’d always feel guilty if I didn’t fit in this mold that society or the media or my family or my well-meaning friends had for me. I missed one church service? No worries, it happens. No family yet? I don’t care and so should you. I don’t drive my own car? I hate driving. I just bought another bag? Hey, it’s my money. All these cookie cutter expectations don’t bother me anymore.
5. I have learned to ignore. 2010 for me was a year of learning and one of my favorite truths then which I have taken to heart until today is this: no matter what you do, someone will always have something negative to say about you. Heck, even Mother Theresa has bashers. So why would I expect not to have any? Thus, I have always reminded myself of this basic life truth and ignored those kinds of people or negative comments that come my way. I don’t like back stabbing or bad mouthing other people. But it happens to me. Since I cannot control what other people say about me – whether based on truths, half-truths or just plain gossip – what I can control is how I react. As long as I know that I didn’t do anything ‘bad’ on purpose, I choose to react by ignoring them and by just being me.
6. I have more exposure. Because I’ve been in the workforce longer and because I am able to travel both for work and pleasure, my eyes have now been opened to more experiences and problems of the world and seen more places and known more people from different backgrounds and cultures. It really does change you because you know that there’s more to this world than just the Philippines and the Filipinos. Full disclosure: because I’ve ‘dated’ a number of foreign men, Pinoys now suddenly bore me. Haha!
7. I understand that the world doesn’t revolve around me. In connection to the above, gone are my emo days when I would drown in self-pity because of this and that. This life that we have is much bigger than you and I and I have learned to embrace this truth.
8. I acknowledge the fact that I will die. Maybe in 30 years or in 5 years but also possibly next year or tomorrow. No one knows. As a youth, you think you’re invincible and don’t usually think about death. But now, this is something I constantly remind myself so that I don’t take things for granted. Or so that I’ll stop being sad or upset or depressed or angry because those emotions, though valid for a limited period only, are just wasting my time.
9. I now have a routine. Which I like because I’m a routine kind of gal. At the same time, this is also the perfect age to change that routine and completely do something else. Especially for singles, being in the ‘middle spectrum’ of life, it’s totally possible to do a 360 degree turn and pursue something else that you want.
10. I do what I want. Under the premise that I am not doing anything illegal or hurtful to other people and the like. I know that I am still bounded by the rights and wrongs of society but still, I realized that I only have one life to live (which might be cut short, see item #8) so why not live in a way that I want to live? It’s not always easy, it can get frustrating but really, I’ll eat that donut if I want to even if it has 500 calories. I’ll hold his hand because it feels good. I’ll go to that country because I want to see a part of the world that’s totally different than mine. I’ll ignore that annoying text even if the other person is waiting on me. Let me be.
Given the above, I am not saying that I have everything figured out. I’m just trying to live my life to the fullest – in a way that I think is best for me – and not waste what was given to me. I’m still included in that group of people who are still grappling the meaning of their life. But now with more class and poise.