About six years ago, when my older sister turned 30, she warned me about this milestone of an age.
“I don’t understand it,” she said to me. “I have friends getting divorced, getting married and re-married. I have friends who never wanted kids getting pregnant. And I know people who have quit their jobs, packed up their belongings and moved halfway across the country. I don’t know what it is about 30, but it makes people do weird things.”
I laughed at the time. I was a lowly 24 year old entering into her third year of law school with a job in hand and the world at my fingertips. Of course I laughed. The idea of people doing anything because of their age made no sense to me. Even when I turned 30 almost one year ago, the number didn’t want to make me do anything crazy. But I noticed that what my sister had said was coming true. I had friends getting divorced or having babies, I had other friends quit their jobs and move from the place they had lived their entire lives to places where they had never been and knew no one. I thought they were crazy.
And then it hit me…I don’t want to say like a ton of bricks, because that is so very cliche, but it did. I didn’t see my quarter life crisis coming, but it smacked me in the face right before my 31st birthday. This urge to leave the law altogether and do something different, like starting up a grilled cheese and tomato soup food truck, or becoming a full-time fiction writer, creeps into my mind on a daily basis. I feel as if I need to keep myself bolted to my desk so I don’t march into my boss’s office, tell her to shove it and storm out in some dramatic fashion best fit for a movie. The desire to pack up my clown shoe of a car, with my husband in tow, and drive around the country, working as a waitress or a dog walker, just so I can say that I did it – that I lived my life before I couldn’t anymore. Before responsibility, mortgages, and babies made it impossible for me to do anything but work, eat and sleep. I find myself fighting that desire regularly, usually by having a few drinks and then looking at my bank account.
I know I’m not alone in this thought process, but it feels like it sometimes. Like I’m living in my head on this fantasy of a journey all by myself. Nothing angers me more than when someone older than me says something like, “well, you’re still young, you can pick up and go if you want.” But while 30 years old isn’t anywhere near retirement age, it’s still NOT young. Plus, no one tells you what happens when you come back from this fantastic once-in-a-lifetime journey all us thirty-somethings are supposed to be taking. What happens to your career, your friends, your belongings, your money when you come back to the real world? It’s not like everything you leave behind gets placed on pause and is there waiting for you upon your return. We can’t all “Eat, Pray, Love” our way through a year of our lives.
So what are we, the lost generation, to do? Me? I decided to start this blog, thinking that somehow posting self-indulgent ramblings will, in some way, impact the world. And, while I may not be able to safely drive a food truck around a huge metropolitan Southern city serving hot soup in 100 degree temperatures, I can do the other thing I love to do, which is write. But, most importantly, I want to try to figure out what is it about this age, this number that makes us feel so old when we are, in fact, so young…