Why I'm freaking out about turning 30

Sarah Carty
Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

“Is this too short and tight for our age?” my best friend asked me just before her 30th birthday a few months ago.

She was talking about an online shopping link she’d sent me over WhatsApp, which featured a super-sexy, cobalt blue, off-the-shoulder bodycon dress. She thought was it ‘too young’ to wear to her party, and I totally disagreed.

It was the first time I’d stopped and thought about my best friend since school and I getting older, and honestly, I didn’t like it one bit.

The question was just the start of my ‘freaking out about turning 30’ phase and for the past few months, I’ve felt a wobble in my stomach if anyone dares ask me what I have planned for the big day.

I was 12 years old when Rachel from Friends turned 30 and I can still remember thinking, ‘Man, they’re old’. Photo: Friends

The thing is, I have a great job, the most amazing partner in the world and epic family and friends, but for some reason, this milestone birthday causes me to break out in a light sweat.

I’m pretty sure it’s all down to the fact that we’ve all been led to believe that as soon as the clock strikes midnight on our 30th birthdays, the spell breaks and we turn into serious adults who are meant to have their s*** together.

Just four months out from the day I hit the big mark, I’ve come to the conclusion that’s not going to be me, which is no doubt the source of my deep-seated anxiety about being ‘over the hill’.

Sure, I’ve got enough savings to get myself out of a sticky situation and I pay my bills on time every month, but I’m not married, I’m not a top executive in a high-rolling business, and as my savings comment will probably tell you, I’m far from owning a house.

And while I’m perfectly content with taking my time with all these things, it’s everybody else who seems concerned that I’m not following the norm when it comes to being an ‘adult’ – and quite frankly, they’re not helping my aforementioned ‘freaking out about turning 30’ phase.

Happy Birthday GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

“When are you getting married, Sarah?” or “It’s about time you settled down and bought a house Sarah, you’re not getting any younger” are phrases I hear pretty much every week.

Talk to your aunties and they’ll gladly tell you how they were married with four kids by the time they turned 30 or just take a look at your colleagues’ faces when you tell them your age and their blatant sympathy is far too evident.

“I understand, I’m freaking out about turning 25”, one of my sprightly co-workers quipped, as I tried to explain the fears I’m having about turning 30.

Another told me I looked ‘thriving’, which is a word that should never be uttered ever again in relation to somebody’s appearance.

Even re-watching old episodes of Friends isn’t safe, especially when the episode titled ‘The One Where They All Turn Thirty’ comes on.

I was 12 when that aired and distinctly remember thinking, ‘Man, they’re old’.

Feeling Old GIF by A&E - Find & Share on GIPHY

The thing is, unlike some of my 30-year-old mates, I don’t want to buy a dog, save for a house, or stay in every weekend watching my bank account increase at snail’s pace.

I’m still unapologetically young at heart, I still laugh at rude words, I still spend my weekends dropping money on overpriced food I can’t afford and picking cocktails based on how ridiculous the name is.

I want to travel and see the world, I want to stay out until 2am talking gibberish with my mates and nursing a hangover the next day while watching reality shows and Disney films.

And at the end of the day, as long we’re happily living our best lives, who cares what age we are?

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