Friday, February 12, 2010

The Wilderness Years

I wrote this yesterday, people, but didn't get a chance to post it. I was having a crappy day. Today is remarkably better. I slept early last night & got up late this morning. That worked wonders, with a little bit of help from a cup of dark hot chocolate & freshly baked chocolate chip cookies :)


Today is one of those days. Household appliances that are indispensable in the mornings conked out on me. Halfway to work I realized I’d left a very important document at home, so I had to go back to get it. Got terribly late to work in the process. As soon as I reached work, my cell phone died, leaving me feeling listless all day. Tried doing an online transaction but I kept entering the wrong password REPEATEDLY (thanks to the retarded bank guy who INSTRUCTED ME TO ENTER THE WRONG PASSWORD), so my card got blocked for online transactions. Had to make multiple calls to the bank since morning to un-block my card but it hasn’t been done yet. DESPITE PROMISES OF IT BEING DONE WITHIN AN HOUR. It’s been ten hours since :(

SO...I’ve been feeling terribly ‘meh’ since morning. Tried drowning myself in work (not that I had to make much of an effort) but that didn’t work either. So I’ve given up all attempts to work and am writing this post instead. At least I will get something accomplished - which is to get these thoughts (that I’m going to ramble about now) out of my system.

I’ve wanted to write this post for quite sometime and today seems to be the ideal day for it. So warning folks, depressing, long & rambling post ahead :0

I hit the big 3-OH next month. Yes, I turn thirty. Which means I start using Olay Total Effects in a little over a month from now. Pooh! To think I reacted with a mixture of incredulousness & rage when my poor mum tried to subtly pass on a bottle of some other anti-ageing concoction to me a couple of months ago. In my defense, I think I reacted like that because it said ‘For 30+ people’ on the bottle. Those guys need a lesson in marketing. And in understanding their target group. I mean, hello, women are terrified of turning 30! You’re definitely not going to win any fans if your bottles are screaming “You’re 30 plus! You need this stuff!”

But I digress.

The last couple of years haven’t been the best of my life. They’ve been fraught with confusion, indecision, dissatisfaction & boredom with certain aspects of my life, and the general lack of inertia to change things. My personal life - at this moment at least - is not completely in my own hands. Professionally, I know where I want to be 5 years down the line but that requires a great amount of sacrifice on the personal front which I somehow am not able to get myself to make.

The result of all this is that for the past year or so I’ve been having more bad days than good. I’ve been irritable, snappy, withdrawn, unsocial and cribbing incessantly. I’ve been having mood swings by the hour. In short, LIFE. HASN’T. BEEN. GOOD.

It’s funny how when a couple of things aren’t going your way in life, everything else seems wrong & messed up too!

The other day I met a very dear college friend for lunch. She turned 30 last year and we got around to discussing the entire “turning 30 paranoia”. She admitted having gone through those feelings too, in the run-up to 30. She called the late 20s “The Wilderness Years”. And I thought that was hitting the nail on the head (pardon the cliché)!

That’s what the late 20s are, aren’t they? The Wilderness Years. Things that you wouldn’t have given much importance to in your early-mid 20s suddenly become very important. You worry & crib about them incessantly. You’re confused, you’re lost, you’re questioning what you’re doing with your life personally & professionally, and you’re antsy about turning 30.

Life is simple when you're in your early 20s. You like your job. You don't think about job satisfaction much or whether that's really what you want to be doing with your life as long as the job gives you money to pay your bills, go out & shop. You go to work, you hang out with friends after work, you hang out at coffee shops, bars, you go out for dinner, you shop, you travel.

But as soon as you hit 27-28, the realization that you'll be 30 in a few years hits you BANG! Because once you’re 30, you know you’re getting old. And you’re reminded of it every single day in very cruel ways. Your metabolism slows down. The pounds pile on to your waist as if it were a happy, sunshiney place to camp at permanently. The wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots & every other sign of skin aging that anti-aging cream manufacturers try to scare you with start appearing. There are people telling you that you don’t have much more time to pop babies!!

30s also means that your years of struggle at work are over, so you should be doing something substantial, should have respectable savings & investments, and you should’ve achieved some professional milestones.

But more than anything, there’s that niggling worry that you may not be doing what you actually want to in life, and you might be squandering away the best years of your life and your potential doing something that hardly matters in the larger scheme of things.

30 is the year for introspection, for asking yourself questions. But according to my wise friend (and wise she is!), once you hit 30 life is back to being good. You become more confident, you are sure of what you want instead of going chasing everything in sight, you learn to prioritize, and you learn to say no when you want to because you no longer have the need to appease people. You’re comfortable being yourself, comfortable in your skin, comfortable letting your partner be himself and have his/her space. You stop worrying about what will happen a couple of yeard down the line & take things as they come.

But does that really happen? Does all that pre-30s nervousness, anxiety, confusion & disillusionment dissipate once you hit 30? I guess I’ll have to wait another month to find out!!


Moonshine said...

I turned 30 last year.. and i didnt feel a thing.. its all in the mind.. i still did/do the things i was doing earlier.. in my late 20's.. its fun being 30!!!! The work bit.. the questions.. remian.. i had these questions about what i am doing / want to do in life earlier too... and nothing has changed there!!!! So dont worry... 30 is just another number.. my outlook to life probably has matured.. i may have mellowed down a little.. but that credit i give to marriage.. and the experience one goes thru living with another person!!!!

Just enjoy your 30th year!!!! Its a time when you are free, confident, independent..

ps: Olay doesnt / didnt work for me :( still looking for that nice cream

Scarlett said...

@Moonshine - I'm mellower too now as compared to when I was in my early-mid 20s. I think that happens with age, n'est pas?

Try L'Oreal or Garnier anti-aging.

The knife said...

well from someone who is no lonfger in the up to 35 age group I can say that you are a bit right about post 30s being a time to settle down after the frenetic twenties. And then impatience begins as you approach 35. A bit like a limited overs game... thugh that has only 50 overs

Supernova said...

Hi..I really liked this post..can identify a lot with the issues you mentioned...

Scarlett said...

@Kalyan - If it's so bad at 30, I can only imagine it gets worse as the yrs roll by :(

@Supernova - Thanks....And thanks for reading. The issues are real :)

The knife said...

hey Scarlett, what i meant was 30 - 35 seemed to be a better bracket than 25 - 30 which brings me to the point that 'now' is the best time. At times I think about college days when I get f b requests from the hoary past. Then I wonder if i'd like to go back to those days. Not sure if I would

Moonshine said...

I agree with Knife.. would i want to go back to that life when i was in the 20's? Hardly!!! I like the now!!!

But Knife, isnt 35- 40 the golden periods, with 40's being the new 20? ;)

The knife said... are too cool :)