When I was 24 years old, my doctor told me I am an old soul in a young body. I’ve held on to this diagnosis for more than five years. While he was referring to my mental health and personal wellbeing, I could relate to it in other aspects of my life. So when I finally turned 30 almost two months ago, I wondered if that diagnosis is still accurate.
I was a fast mover career-wise in the first half of my twenties. I did lots of stuff and had so much energy that my résumé didn’t match my age. In the second half of my twenties and after that talk with my doctor, I learned to slow down. I certainly didn’t have as much energy anymore, but I still get bored easily.
Like most people, I expected 30 to be a huge thing. But it wasn’t. In the weeks leading up to my birthday, I felt very content. Because I realized that finally after all these years, all my experiences match my age (at least on paper). Unconsciously, I gave myself the permission to spend almost a year figuring out what I want to do with the next phase of my life. A friend asked me a week after my birthday if there’s anything I wish I had accomplished before. I’m proud to say that no, there’s not really anything. Especially the last few months have been so surreal and I’m living a life that seemed so out of reach for me. Every now and then I ask myself when I signed up for this life, but in hindsight it wasn’t all that suprising. Just hard work. (Also, I wish I could tell my 10 year old self that I’d be writing a blog post about turning 30 on a flight from LAX to MUC).
Without going to much into detail, there’s also a parts of my life I haven’t quite figured out. In my twenties, I imagined at my 30th birthday I’d have a nice party with my husband and friends. I didn’t. Because while I was busy building my professional life ever since I started college, I failed to build strong friendships. I’m blessed to have a bunch of people in my life that I connect with even if we only talk once a year. And while I do have great people all around me, letting people into my life and staying in touch is something I’ve never quite figured out. I guess if there’s anything I want to learn in this new decade of my life, it’s friendships.
Besides all that, I’m definitely growing older in that I lose my youth. I’m noticing new wrinkles every day and slowly lose my vision. I still refuse to wear glasses in public. 30 for me also means not worrying about whether I’m cool or not. I’ve simply accepted the fact that I’ll never be cool.
Interestingly though, I still seem to have a young aura. At a conference where I was invited as a speaker last fall, people repeatedly assumed I was an intern. And on the flight back to San Francisco after my birthday, the guy next to me asked me if I was a student doing some exchange program. So I guess for now I’m still an old soul in a young body.
To put it in Bob Dylan’s words: “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”