I keep hearing the phrase “Thirties are the new Twenties”. But what does that really mean? Here is my list describing the lives of Twenty-year olds – partly derived from my own life and partly inspired by The Big Bang Theory and How I met your Mother. (Warning: This list is full of sweeping generalisations! It is supposed to provoke.)
- Take up a loan to fund some kind of studies that supposedly makes it possible to find a job that would pay enough to pay off the loan and in a decade’s time after you have paid off that student loan, that pay can be used to pay off the mortgage on the house that you should buy when you are in your Thirties. Or so they will tell you. But I am getting ahead of myself here.
- Graduate from some kind of educational institution.
- Find out first hand, how it feels like to be unemployed.
- Find a job. If you are lucky it would help pay off the student loan, pay the rent for your own apartment and the daily dose you cannot do without from a well-know coffee shop chain. (I am not referring to the kind in Holland.)
- Start dating, continue dating, swear off dating, go on a date with someone your mom set you up with, swear off the other sex, sign up at a dating site, go out with your best friend’s partner’s best friend on a double date, wonder if you are the problem.
- Work 10 times harder than your boss (okay may be I am exaggerating just a little here) to climb up the career ladder everyone tells you that you have to climb. The view at the top is allegedly heart stopping.
- You no longer have the time to go to the disco, pub or cinema.
- You get stuck in the middle of the ladder. It is time for some Post Graduate studies. The resulting pay rise will naturally be used to pay off the loan taken to finance that MBA degree.
- You get tired of climbing the ladder. You question the sense of it all. You make your first appointment with the psychiatrist recommended by your Facebook friends. Looks like the psychiatrist is so good that your friends cannot imagine ending their therapies.
- You dream about taking a Sabbath year and travel around the world but you realise that you have no savings whatsoever and there is already someone waiting to overtake you on that ladder. Also you shudder at the thought of working as a waiter to fund the trip along the way. It reminds you of the time you were studying and hoping the tips would be enough compensation for the time not used studying.
If the Thirties are the new Twenties, it could mean the following.
- You have not yet graduated because you have spent your Twenties looking for the branch of study that covers all your interests.
- You have spent a couple of months or years between switching studies travelling the world. You think back to this time of your life longingly, although most of it is a drunken blur. As a result, you feel down that you have to find a job now but the credit card bills are piling up and your credit score is screwed.
- The interest is piling up on that student loan you took up long time ago and used to finance your travels instead.
- You moved back into your parents’ house because you can no longer afford to pay your rent.
- You insist on splitting the bill on dates but would not argue if the other insists on paying.
- At your first interview after you finally graduate, you realise that the other candidates are about a decade younger than you. Recruiters keep asking about the gaps in your CV. Good luck to you!
- It feels as if all the potential partners are no longer eligible or available. You tell yourself age doesn’t matter and look to the Twenties age group for potential partners but can’t shake off the nagging thought that they think of you as a big “L”.
- Your diet has not changed since your twenties but your figure has. All that fast-food has added rings to your waist and there is no chance of losing it without exercise and the thought of movement makes you shudder.
- Your doctor recommends some early detection medical examinations for your age group.
- You no longer proudly disclose your age because you are tired of answering, “I do not have a job, I am not married, I do not have children, I do not own a house.”
Doesn’t it sound ridiculous? Of course it does! Who in their right mind would want to be in their twenties when they have already survived it and reached the safe harbours of the thirties? Well according to this list at least.
But the ultimate ridiculousness lies in allowing others to define what the thirties or twenties should mean. I got married with 21 and no, I did not have to because I was pregnant. I quit my job after 10 years to go on a round-the-world trip after I had entered my thirties. I still do not own a house nor do I have kids and I am fine with it. It is ridiculous to let your age define what you are and what you should do. (There are some biological contraints but there is a solution to every kind of problem.) Make most of the opportunities available to you at any stage of your life. Do not listen to those, who say you should act your age. They are just jealous off all the fun you are having that they have missed out on because they were worried about what others would say. 🙂