Thoughts From a Late-Twenty-Something: Thirty Is Not The End

finishlineI don’t know if it’s because I’m nearing that age myself or because I’ve just been paying more attention, but I’ve noticed that people are really obsessed with 30 and all that “should” be accomplished by then. Why?

Unless you plan to fall off the face of the earth 365 days after your 29th birthday, thirty is not a finish line. 

It seems that society pressures us to put way too much emphasis on our, so-called “Defining Decade”:

10 Trips You NEED To Take In Your Twenties
10 Things Every Girl In Her Twenties Should Know
29 Amazing Things You Must Do Before You Turn 30
30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30
20 Things to Know Before You’re 30
27 Things Every Girl In Her Twenties Should Really Have By Now
(I could do this all day….)

I’m all about setting goals and learning lessons, but if I plan to run the world by age thirty then what is left for forty, fifty, eighty, or one hundred? While I am definitely inspired by the stories of Mark Zuckerberg, Lebron James and Alexis VonTobel, I would much rather be Barbara Walters than Ananda Lewis.

I want to accomplish things every day of my life, but more than that, I want to last. I don’t want to peak at thirty. Thirty is YOUNG! I want to peak at 95. I don’t want to be 44 years old saying I’ve done everything in my life I want to do. I want to be sixty years old still making every day count. I am so happy to working my dream job at only 27, but I will be even happier if I wake up at 77, still working in television. I never want to go away. I don’t want to flame up and flame out in my career.

In addition, getting married at 25 was amazing, but when I’m 50, I want to still be married. To the same guy. THAT will be my accomplishment. Finding love before 30 is great, but staying in love when I’m in my 80s is my goal.

I believe that our obsession with having “made it” by a certain age contributes to depression amongst twenty-somethings and memoirs by Miley Cyrus.

The truth is, barring sudden death or illness, there is still plenty of time to love, live and learn after thirty. We don’t have to have it all together by then. And why do we want to? Life is so full of twists and turns, surprises, setbacks, wins and losses, we never know what a day may bring.

Success knows no age limit. It’s never too late to be what be what you might have been. Potential doesn’t expire at 29. Julia Child didn’t learn to cook until she was 40.  Stan Lee – the guy who created Spiderman – was 43 when he began drawing his legendary superheroes and his partner Jack Kirby created The Fantastic Four when he was 44. Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote and published her “Little House” books when she was in her sixties! Colonel Sanders started franchising his chicken business (KFC) at the age of 65.

For every wildly successful 20-something like Taylor Swift, Lena Dunham, and Kevin Systrom, there are Sam Waltons, Martha Stewarts, Shonda Rhimes, Jon Haams and countless others who didn’t achieve success until well after their 30th birthday.

So if you don’t have everything you want by the time you hit 30, that’s okay.

Thirty is not a finish line. I wish you (and myself) many years of happiness, love and success after that.

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