Thoughts on Turning 30

I will be turning 30 years old in less than three months. While I haven’t given it much thought lately, as I’ve been busy with life, I woke up the other day and felt I wanted to write something about it. A handful of bullet points turned quickly into paragraphs, and the result is this blog post.

Anticipation and adulting

When I turned 29, it hit me, surprisingly, that this would be the last year in my 20’s. Do you know the feeling when you’re late to something but you’re in the flow and feel the guilt rise as you look for the next even hour or minute to finish whatever you’re doing? I had a similar feeling of urgency when I was turning 29. Things I had wanted to do but never did, and hobbies I had wanted to start but never got to it – all of these things surfaced in my mind, and I compiled them on a bucket list.

The feeling of urgency and anticipation passed relatively fast, and I had a second look at my bucket list. I realised that the things I had written down were things that I wanted to accomplish, but not necessarily things that I actually wanted to do for the sake of doing them. I scrapped the list and decided to keep focusing on what I was already doing. My ordinary, day-to-day to-do list consisted of normal and boring items, which nevertheless were taking my life to a direction I wanted.

I suppose you could call it adulting. One source offers the following definition: “to behave in an adult manner; engage in activities associated with adulthood.” I worked full-time, completed online courses, learned about finances, started investing, took insurances, updated my cards and bank accounts, and so on. On the other hand, I also took pleasure in exercising, meditating, journaling, writing on my blog, reading books, traveling, and overall enjoying life.

Looking back at my twenties

2021 has been the year when I achieved the degree of security in life, which I had longed for since childhood. Getting there hasn’t been easy, though. It’s been noted as a trend that people from recent generations achieve milestones such as moving from home, starting a career, getting married, and so on, later in life compared to previous generations. While I’ve understood that this trend affects the Generation Z more than millennials, I wholly identify with these problems.

Most if not all of the actions that contributed to me progressing in life happened after I turned 25. The first step was to move out on my own, and the second one was to go back to studying. An integral part of the growth experience was overcoming my video game addiction, which had a central role in changing the trajectory of my life. After I finally got the ball rolling in my late 20’s, many good things followed in such a casual way that every now and then I had to pinch myself.

The highlights of my twenties were traveling in Finland and Europe with my little brother, moving out on my own to the other side of the country, exchanging and interning abroad, getting married with a beautiful woman, graduating with a BBA, starting a professional career, starting a life in Finland with my wife, and the feeling of overall satisfaction with the course of my life. While there are plenty of other things I would have wanted to do or not do in my 20’s, it’s no good living with regrets.

Being comfortable with the past

We all have different starting points for our lives. On the one hand, some were born to wealth, had important roles models in their youth, received good life lessons at an early age, enjoyed a social safety net of friends and relatives, and so on. On the other hand, some came from more modest backgrounds and had to figure out many things on their own. It’s not always black and white, of course, and the inability to satisfy the hunger of an ambitious child cannot always be blamed on the parents.

I think that the experiences in our childhood and youth determine, to some extent, what goals we pursue as adults. In myself, I have recognised the need to achieve safety and security, and acceptance from other people. I suppose these could be described as basic human needs, but in my opinion, the first years in our lives determine to what degree we pursue them as adults. Also, I wouldn’t call them goals per se, but rather overarching themes that transcend the goals.

These needs arise from deep within me, from something raw that I cannot shake off – but something that I have learned to live with. Something else that I have struggled to live with is the nagging thought that I wasted the first half of my twenties. This is the thought of being five years behind, an easy but often involuntary game of mental arithmetic. For this I don’t yet have an antidote except covering the thought in my mind with layers of successes and good experiences.

Planning ahead

I dislike the idea of reducing one’s life to numbers and using it to compare people against other people. Then again, people are social animals, and most of us live in more or less capitalistic societies and are either voluntarily or involuntarily engaged in a rat race to achieve success in traditional terms. At this point in life, I wouldn’t call myself an exception. Against this backdrop, age does offer a useful tool for setting goals and weighing one’s progress in reaching them.

I have recognised in myself various qualities of a high achiever, and I do take pleasure in reaching the goals I have set. A question in my mind right now is this: If it took me four years to reorient my life and get to where I find myself today, what can I achieve during the next 10 years with my starting point being what it is now? Compound interest is when money makes money, and similarly, more success will result from good actions that build on previous success.

While my short term goals revolve around achieving milestones on the scale of traditional success, I do not want to retire in my 60’s as a salaryman. As a teen I did fantasise about becoming a billionaire with castles and airships and so on. On the verge of turning 30, my dreams and goals are now closer to reality. The ultimate goal right now would be to achieve financial freedom – having enough wealth and capital income to secure a comfortable and active lifestyle.

Ensuring good health

So, how does it feel to be (almost) 30? Well, pretty normal, to be honest. My body feels the same, although I do take care of my physical health by exercising regularly and having a healthy diet. Something that I have awakened to is the importance of a good night’s sleep. If I slept the night bad, I feel it the next day. Coffee does help a little, but nothing can replace quality sleep. Naps are also beneficial, and I try to take them as often as I can, especially during weekends.

Stress is known to speed up ageing, and managing stress is something that I’ve started to pay more attention to. While I wouldn’t consider myself a person who experiences a lot of stress, stress levels can spike up sometimes. Good sleep is usually the best cure. Meditation or simple breathing exercises also help. As an introspective person I find writing helpful, not only for stress relief, but also as an activity that contributes to my overall well-being.

Overall, I have realised that my attitude to health has somewhat shifted. It used to be more about here and now, meaning that I wanted to change something in myself, but it has now shifted towards long-term thinking. Instead of only focusing on achieving this or that, I want to ensure that I make good choices that contribute to me enjoying good health in the future. Of course, I do have various goals such as running a marathon and so on, but nothing that comes at the expense of my health tomorrow.

Final thoughts

Turning thirty is a watershed moment in one’s life. That’s when you leave behind your explorative twenties and come face to face with the life that your previous choices have granted you. However, it’s never too late to change it for the better, especially at such a young age!