A couple of years ago, 30 came and went. It didn’t feel like some people say, like a milestone or anything like that. Yeah, I was getting into motorcycling at the time but that didn’t feel like an escape, just like a hobby. But something changed then and I didn’t notice until last night. Well, I’ve been noticing for a while, but it didn’t click until last night.
In that post I linked, I wrote
I thought that turning 30 would feel weird, like a loss of freedom or the extra weight of adult responsibility, but while I do sort of feel that I’ve lost an excuse, things feel alright.
And it’s completely obvious in retrospect, but when that happens, it doesn’t happen instantly, and I’m realizing that I’ve been a bit of a boiling frog for some time now, and that it’s no coincidence that things got difficult in the last couple of years.
I was a happy-go-lucky indiepop-loving playstation-playing geeky hipster that got paid for playing with computers in my late 20s, and now I’m preparing to maximize shareholder value and I haven’t been excited about an album release in a year (I’m not even running my bittorrent client these days!) and spending — or I would be spending were I not where I am — an entire year’s time and lost salary on business school. And while I acknowledge that there probably are people out there for whom that’s a perfectly natural progression it doesn’t seem like one for me.
When I was doing the NEO-IP personality test the other day two questions caught my eye. In case you haven’t done the test, it’s phrased as statements which you then choose a level of accuracy from “Very inaccurate” through “Neither accurate nor inaccurate” to “Very accurate”. Anyhow, the first one said “I fear that my life lacks direction.” And well, that’s certainly accurate. But if I were to rephrase it a bit to “I believe my life needs direction”… well, that’s a lot harder to answer. It’s only when I assume that direction is a given that I find myself worrying about my lack thereof.
The other one asked “I like a leisurely lifestyle.” And I do! I think of it as a Montreal pace. And there isn’t exactly much overlap between “leisurely lifestyle” and “MBA”, you know? I need to find that happy medium, where I have a job that challenges me but doesn’t occupy my existence, where I can control the pace of things and stop to do things I enjoy, and so on. I don’t have to be an outstanding success, I have to be happy. And Candice certainly saw this already: one thing about massage therapy is that it does let you live a leisurely lifestyle. There’s no promotions, no 60-hour weeks. And that’s been right in front of me this whole time.
You know, the timing of (and only the timing of!) our wedding might have been involved too; if 30 doesn’t turn you respectable, then 30-and-married sure does! And yes, a lot of people do sort of “leave their youth behind” after that, but there’s no reason that I (or we!) have to, especially without kids. But more than ever I realize that we’re not going to be your typical suburban nuclear family, and that I don’t need to put on a suit and show up at my downtown office everyday to feel like I’ve made it.
I need to just be geeky old me again.
Because we’re grownups now, and it’s our turn to decide what that means.