I get that 30 is the milestone birthday, but that was a cake walk. 31 feels different. You know, like now I have to admit I’m in my 30s.
I even went to take a quiz a couple weeks ago about which Game of Thrones house I belong to (Tyrell, baby!) and stared at the page that asked for my age group. 20 or under. 21 – 30. 31-40. I finally clicked 21 – 30 for what will probably be the last time I will have the opportunity to honestly do so. Last night when I was putting my age and weight into the elliptical at the gym, I opted to press 31. Might as well lean into it, right?
To be clear, the number itself doesn’t bother me at all. 31 isn’t old. And if the adage is true that 30 is the new 20, I’m in my prime. What bothers me about 31 is that I am not at all satisfied with my life. Still single in an apartment, living paycheck to paycheck, daydreaming of vacations I’ll never be able to afford.
30 taught me a few valuable lessons: life is short, cherish the people you love, make time for things that are important.
31 has already taken on an entirely new perspective: change is necessary, be happy, do something worthwhile.
Sounds like good stuff, but where’s the practical application?
I’ve spent the last few months watching my friends thrive in jobs that take them out of offices and away from desks for 40 hours a week. I want that. Desks suck.
I’m not entirely sure how to make it happen, but darned if I’m not going to look for a way. I can do things. And if I can’t do the right things, I can learn. I understand that no one likes having their soul sucked out of them inside an office, and yet most of us find ourselves there anyway, so clearly I’m not attempting an easy feat. But there are those few that find their way out. Why can’t I be one of them?
With the phrase “soul sucking,” it’s clear that my current day job isn’t exactly fulfilling me, so the “be happy” point will be partially corrected with a vocation change. But I have other things in mind as well. Take my plans for my actual birthday – it falls on a Monday, which is a totally bogus day to party. I threw around the idea of taking the day off, then wondered what I would do. I decided that it would be best to go into work so at least I would see other human beings instead of laying in bed watching Parks & Rec re-runs for the umpteenth time. (Actually, that plan is starting to sound pretty good now that I’m re-reading it.) Instead I changed my perspective and have planned to use my birthday to do something I’ve wanted to do for years – visit Mt. Scott. It may seem like a little goal, but the beauty of nature is something that makes me genuinely happy. The fact that I’ve lived in Oklahoma my entire life and have never visited what is considered to be the most beautiful place in the state is an absolute shame.
I also planned a camping trip which is blowing everyone’s minds because I haven’t camped in a decade. It’s not because I don’t want to, it’s because you jagweeds only want to fish. Bro, I just want to hike, look at pretty waterfalls, and make s’mores. And that’s what I shall do.
Doing something worthwhile is an outward focus. What can I give of myself to help others? What sacrifices can I make to show love in a tangible way? How far will I allow myself to stretch to make a difference? This is something I feel like we all need to ask ourselves. If it’s not worthwhile, why do we exert so much energy doing it?
Anyway, blah blah blah birthday stuff. Just watch this Ron Swanson clip.