Nobody Gives A Shit When You Turn 30

Millennials, can we start celebrating birthdays instead of whining?

Life would be so much more peaceful if our generation didn’t act surprised every time their birthday came around. It seems after 21, everyone is terrified of the ageing process. It is, in itself, ageist. When you turn 30 you don’t suddenly get grey hair, wrinkles and then die the next day. It’s amazing that after several decades of existence, none of us seem to be able to understand the basic concept of the passage of time.

In hindsight, it’s no great surprise that we’re filled with self-centred, spoilt dread every time it’s our birthday. Life is shit. We were promised good education and a wealth of opportunities. We could be anything we wanted if only we tried hard enough. But it turns out that was all bullshit. When we were in school, the economy went to hell thanks to baby boomers, then uni fees trebled and there were no jobs. It’s easy to understand why ageing increases panic for some people. We’ve not been able to achieve anything we were told we could achieve by our twenties, never mind our thirties. Our age is being treated as a mark of failure.

“Our age is being treated as a mark of failure”

However, the people who complain the most about their dreaded upcoming birthday which nobody else gives a shit about tend to be white middle class people. Those whose birthdays have decidedly gone downhill. And yes, only-children are the worst (I say this as one). When they were kids they were pampered, doted on and told everything would be amazing. To find out it’s not is a heck of a reality check. But for those complaining about birthdays and the terror of ageing every year – think of those who never had that privilege to think birthdays would ever be good.

Yes, our generation was lied to. We’ve been mocked as snowflakes by a generation that frankly led us on about how good life was and then trashed the economy almost as soon as we were to enter the workforce and had to start paying for ourselves. But for many millennials – those in poverty and disabled millennials in particular – growing older was never something that society said to celebrate anyway. It was always clearly going to be filled with struggles, just as many childhoods were thanks to systematic oppression and discrimination.

If you’re just entering a world of terror about what ageing might mean then welcome to the club. Many have been worrying about that for years.

It’s a curious thing though to judge success by age, as though we’ll suddenly be irrelevant when we hit 30. We should embrace ageing. Hopefully it’ll mean that one day, somewhere, one of us will actually become mature and selfless. There are new challenges we can embrace. A lot of things have tried to make life unbearable, like austerity, but we can defy expectations in a generation that just expects us to put up and shut up. We can still enjoy ourselves and revel in getting older.

No, we aren’t the generation looked on with adoration any more, we just get the confusion and condescension while gen z rock up as the cool kids. However, We don’t disappear though when we turn 30. For God’s sake, that’s when most people figure out what they actually want and begin to chase after it. Birthdays deserve to be celebrated just as much as ever. Every year we survive on this miserable and dying planet is a huge achievement, let’s be honest.

Stop believing random and weird shit about things we should have by the time we’re 30. They’re mostly an assortment of patriarchal myths designed to control populations. Not married yet? Good, the chances are you won’t be stuck with a selfish pig. Wait to find the right person. Not moving out yet? Not necessarily a bad thing – depends on the family and either way, it’s no indicator of failure. It means you’re not being bled dry by rents. Not settled in a career? Who the hell is, apart from dentists? The economy went up in flames and now we’ve got Brexit. That’s about the country screwing up and not about us as individuals.

Celebrate 30, it’s not old and even when we’re 100, we should be just as happy. We only fail when we measure ourselves against insignificant things – like our year count.

2 thoughts on “Nobody Gives A Shit When You Turn 30

  1. My 30th birthday was great. Had a bowling party with quite a lot of my friends, went to work and brought in plenty of nibbles for some other friends (and other work colleages) and spent time relaxing at home. Not assuming I’d be completely launched at 30 helps. I have my own place and a job, but there are some things I still need help with, some things I thought I’d have done by now and haven’t. But that is OK. It’s not necessary to 100% launch all in one go, nor is it necessary (let alone possible) for life to be 100% as expected. Interdependence is a perfectly reasonable goal. And doing things when they make sense is usually more reasonable than telling oneself it will be done by a certain date or else.

    I see a lot of colleagues, in particular, who get to milestone birthdays (30 is common, but so is 25 and 40… …and 21 is not unheard of) and think they should be in a particular place. Typically, there’ll be at least one thing on their assumed list they didn’t achieve, because something more interesting or exciting or urgent came up, or it wasn’t really within their control in the first place (e.g. promotion). Then they forget what good things they did achieve, and plan to or still could achieve, and become sad.

    Yes, we’ve all been promised one world and given another. This happens, to some extent, to every generation. Different generations (and, most especially, different people in each generation) respond differently. The generation who grew up in the 1930s became more conservative. Their children more liberal. The one after that diverged into devotees of capitalism and socialist resistance. Last generation tried to reconcile the two systems. There’s plenty of time for this generation (and each individual within each generation) to decide what this generation is going to do about the promissory note received.

    Happiness, sadness, a spur to action – milestone birthdays are what you make of them.


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