ON TURNING 30

Tomorrow, on Friday the 13th, I turn thirty years old.

I will leave behind my twenties. That decade where media, culture, and society make you believe you are invulnerable, capable of conquering the world, building things never seen before, and marking your mark on the world.

A lot less is said about your thirties, except that it’s probably not as fun as being in your twenties. I hope for my sake this isn’t true.

I turned twenty while I was enrolled in UBC, living in residence, so I guess there’s some irony that I’ll turn thirty, enrolled in UBC, living in residence. Mind you, I know a thing or two more now, and the place I live in now is way nicer.

I remember clearly the night I turned twenty. I was at Place Vanier just across the street from where I live now. It was a Saturday night. Not a lot of people knew it was my birthday and I kept it really low-key. I also remember being up in one of the double rooms on the fourth floor. My close friend Joanna was there along with some other of my housemates. We were just hanging out. Then I kinda freaked out a bit. I realized that I was out of my teenage years. No longer could I be carefree or aloof (not that I was like that anyways). I remember thinking that I was now in my twenties and it would be the decade where I could make the most impact on my life. It was the time where I would make the foundation for the rest of my life.

The whole prospect of not wasting the next ten years of my life was a bit overwhelming. So yeah, I kinda freaked out. It didn’t take me long to calm down. People assured me that I’d do fine and that ten years was a long time.

They were right, ten years is a long time. So, a decade later, where do I find myself? I’ll admit I wish I was a bit farther ahead in life right now. Which is not to say I’m unhappy with my life now. I am moving towards my life goals, but I just wish I was further ahead in my journey. More than anything, I wish this not for myself, but for my parents. They have been unwavering in their support all my life. I wish I could return the favour many times over now, rather than later.

If you had asked me ten years ago, where I thought I’d be in life at thirty, I’d probably have answered, “Well, I’d like to think I’d be married by then… happily of course. I’d really like a kid by then too. I like kids, so having a little tyke around would be fun. For sure, I would like a well-paying job that I enjoyed. It’s no use working if you don’t like what you’re doing. Oh, and I’d like to help my parents into retirement.”

None of those things have come true yet. I’ve come close with the job. Either the job paid well, but I hated it, or the job was enjoyable, but didn’t pay well enough. It’s true I’d eventually like all those things to happen, with caveats though. I certainly wouldn’t get married for the sake of getting married. Same thing with the kids. The reason why I’m back at school is because I refuse to get any old job.

Time marches on though, so I do recognize that I can’t hold off forever on these things. I have thought about how long I could dick around waiting for my dream job. I’ve come to the conclusion my time is really short. Once I get my degree, I’d like to land a software engineering position within a year of that, no more. If I don’t, I’ll have to face the reality that life isn’t perfect sometimes. The prospect of being in my early thirties and not being able to buy a cup of coffee is scary.

The one thing I haven’t done much of is to compare my life to others around me, especially my old high school classmates. It makes no sense to compare. My life is different than any one else’s. There are different circumstances and different goals. I know that a lot of my old classmates have stable jobs and families. Good for them. I’d love to join them, but I’ll do it on my own terms.

So, this post may seem like a bit of downer where I’ve enumerated all the goals I haven’t met yet, some of you maybe wondering if I’m at all happy with my life. The short answer is yes. I have direction in my life. I am working toward my goals. School is expensive and it’s gonna take an ass-load of work to finish, but at least I’m not floating aimlessly in a dead-end job (I’ve lived that life). What I’m most happy about is the sheer number of people I’ve met in my life. Mainly from school and residence, I’ve met some extraordinary individuals. A few of them have become close friends. In general, I know I have a good group of friends that will be there for me if I need them.

Well, this post is getting long, so I’ll end it here. Tomorrow, I will recognize the special day for what it is, but I’ll keep in mind, at the end, it will be another 24 hours in life. I’ll still have my assigments to do and all those other responsibilities.

Here’s to accomplishing some major goals soon and to the next ten great years.

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