On Being Thirty-Something: “Most Productive Years”

I just was on Facebook and I saw a high school friend of mine was turning the big 3-0.  In the comment section there were a plenitude of older women with enthusiastic comments such as “Enjoy every moment of it, your thirties are your most productive years.”  I loved reading this.  Yes it seems like this might just be true, finally tuned in to what you know is important and finally feeling enough pressure to act with abandon, like your life depended on it (because it does!)  Part of being thirty-something I am coming to realize is about having to claim space and allow yourself the tools you need to get going on what your work is.  Whatever work this might be.  If it is children, if it is art, or music or medicine, or a combination of all of these things it is a time to make room for your energy to flow into what you care most deeply about.  There is no room for second guessing.  As I was hanging on to every word of my favorite doctor: Dr. Rhonda Patrick,https://www.foundmyfitness.com/ , who I have already mentioned in this blog, I realized how much trust and abandon she has with her research and her commitment to what she is doing.  She is making a huge impact in the field of aging, health and fitness.

There is simply no room for hemming and hawing.  This seems impossible.  No doubt she must hem and haw from time to time.  But really it comes down to a simple approach that involves holding your space.  Not letting anyone or any self loathing or fear of getting older encroach on this very important time, your thirties.  I should repeat what the kind lady said in the Facebook comment about my friend “The most productive years of your life.”

A few of the things that I have stumbled upon while making the transition into my thirties have been:  feelings of reduced self esteem, of guilt and depression, of negative thoughts about my body and appearance, health concerns, financial insecurity.  This list seems quiet overwhelming and pretty negative, which leads to more feelings of “why isn’t life working out yet, or why does it seem to be getting harder?”  Many of these things when going through a major life transition like turning thirty-something require a lot of courage and compassion.  I believe all of these things are real and important and legitimate worries but I know that each one of them can be improved and can down the line lead to many great outcomes like “my body and my appearance are not perfect but I will let myself be loved completely”, or “I am struggling financially, to I have learned how  to manage my spending and my money so I feel a sense of relief and security”.  All of the negatives that may be looming out there post twenties life are the seeds of something that may not be the exact same sources of happiness in your younger years but can be new sources and can bring great joy and satisfaction. The trick may be that in your thirties you have to decide that your weaknesses that you cannot necessarily control can be your greatest challenges and sources of potential joy and strength.

One great exercise to try and tease out tease out and start to deal with these challenges would be to first write down all of your weaknesses and points of stress in your life.  Now, make a bubble around each word or sentence ( leave plenty of room to write around the bubble.)Image result for writing bubble chart  Now write words that these words remind you of, anything, just stream of consciousness.  Next make a list of the happiest things in your life and proudest things and do the same thing write stream of conscious words and thoughts around these things.  Now compare the two.  Finally, next to each negative bubble, write one passive thing and one active thing that you can do to change your idea or behavior towards the negative bubbles.  For example on bubble might be  “My skin isn’t as healthy as it used to be”  next to it an active thing I can do that I know improves my skin is running three times a week.  A passive thing I can do is to reset my expectations and my standards of what my skin should look like, and I could do this by looking up pictures of older ladies with really wrinkly skin (which looks really beautiful actually) and starting to shift my mindset.

One part of ageing in this culture is feeling bad about it.  We need to start to embrace it truly and early to really flourish, to feel comfortable with who we are and not impede who we can become and who we need to become!

Thank you for reading.


On Being Thirty-Something: How to Decompress fully

I just visited the National University for Natural Medicine nunm.edu .  I am exploring becoming a Naturopathic Doctor.  It seemed natural enough.  It was awesome, though really, I believe I would be certainly lucky to through the program.  An expensive ticket to a legitimate career.  A huge decision and over 100,000 debt potentially.  Whoa.  This all brings me to On Being Thirty-Something: how to decompress fully.  Firstly it is a skill and a choice one has to make.  Here in Portland, Oregon you could just visit the nearest marijuana dispensary, there are approximately a million: https://weedmaps.com .  I don’t like relying only on substances alone to chill me out however.  So the question remains really.  Sorry I have no perfect solution, only more questions about how to decompress fully, I mean really fully so you can begin again with a fresh outlook when such huge decisions abound.

Back to the expensive school tour… my smart test taking self was perking up the whole time ,getting excited to do something challenging.  On the other hand my gypsy vagabond self was feeling pure intimidation.  I wondered how my creative self would survive?  I am an artist and by giving in to a traditional career am I giving up?  Does boredom come hand and hand with responsibility?  I believe these are all questions thirty-somethings face when big life choices come looming and pressing in your field of vision.

Over and over I wonder why becoming older makes you so stressed out.  I have to believe it has to do with money.  We start to fully understand how money impacts our health and freedom and creativity.  Mr. Money Mustache is one dude that I think has  cultivated an amazing perspective on personal wealth and engineering an efficient and low stress life:  http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/ .

Some great discoveries today pertaining to health:  I have an android phone so the Cronometer App. is the best macro and micro nutrient tracker I have come across: https://cronometer.com/

Thank you for reading, in further posts I will attempt to more fully explore the ideas of decompressing fully and taking on big life decisions.

Read my first Blog post here

On Being Thirty-Something: Transitions

A younger friend of mine who is 26 made an interesting point to me while we were discussing getting older and self-help and transitions. He said that he related to what I was going through becoming a thirty-something year old in that it was a transition. He described that musical theater people often go through a similar transition from their younger twenties to mid-later twenties. For them he said it is common to lose interest in musical theater and to face a sort of identity crisis at that point. Becoming thirty-something is essentially a major life transition. We try to sneak into it. I hoped and prayed nobody would notice or care. Meanwhile our inner landscape is being completely bushwacked and replanted, trying to prepare the soil for new seeds to grow based on what we have learned over the past thirty years, intentionally or not. The pressure to stay the same seems intense to preserve our looks, to be happy and have fun and be beautiful and have a beautiful life. It starts to become obvious that these expectations are complicated, especially as you reach your thirties. The fact is getting older is not seamless. There needs to be ample time for transition. Just like moving to a new city, or ending a relationship, or losing a loved one.

I believe that bravely and clearly defining and demanding time for yourself to appropriately transition to a new life stage is a good idea. Instead of hoping nobody notices and ignoring it. The weirdly quick process of funerals and grieving for loved ones is a good example of how we culturally like to quickly move on and gloss over and get happy again. When my grandmother died I still remember how strange it felt to only spend two days with my family and half of the time rushing around finding funeral outfits for everyone to wear.

It feels scary to face a transition because it means nothing will ever be the same again. When you are thirty-something your past self is who you were when you were twenty-something. You have to take responsibility for who you are right now and decide how you want to grow.

There is a really cool project made by photographer Stephanie Domingues on what thirty years old looks like around the world:
Continue reading “On Being Thirty-Something: Transitions”