On being 36-years-old / by Ryan Hill

 

No joke, that title felt weird to write. It brings up so many thoughts. Where the time went, what to do with the time ahead of me, and the fact that in the grand scheme of things I'm not old, but hot damn. I'M 36.

Pretty much

Pretty much

Getting older is always something you worry about when you're younger. Twenty-somethings fret over every birthday, because it brings them one digit closer to the end-all, be-all that is thirty. Why? Because it's a number all of us have seared in our brains as TIME TO GET YO SHIT TOGETHER AND BE A REAL, ACTUAL ADULT. Heck, my mom cried when Dad turned 30.

Guess what? Being in your thirties really isn't that bad. At all. I prefer it to being in my twenties.

I was a friggin mess in my twenties. I was still trying to figure life, the universe, and everything out with little success. I didn't have a foothold in, well, anything. My early-to-mid twenties were mired in a haze of longing for my college days while trying to figure out the whole adult thing. My late twenties were more about trying to squeeze as much fun in before the big three-oh hit. I even wrote a manuscript about a guy reflecting on his life before he turns thirty. I can't say I was a mess about it, but some people are.

My thirtieth birthday turned out to be kind of a baptism by fire into "adulthood." I'd discovered someone stole my mail, taking checks intended to pay bills and counterfeiting them to buy stuff to the tune of $800.

Welcome to adulthood, Ryan! Here's a swift kick in the ass to get you started!

It really was kind of a harbinger of things to come. My thirties have by far been the most difficult decade of my life, but it's also been the most rewarding. I've become a published author. I still get to review movies, i.e. see them for free before everyone else and write about them. More than that, other things happen in your thirties that are pretty awesome.

Mainly, you stop giving a flying f--k about everything. By everything, I don't mean ev-er-y-thing, but everything that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. With some life experience under their belt, people settle into themselves in their thirties, and with that comes a level of comfort with who you are - some might even call it self esteem - that elevates you above worrying about whether someone thinks you're full of it, and other assorted items like that. Ya just don't care. And it's a wonderful thing. It builds up confidence, and makes dealing with all the B.S. that life throws at you that much easier to handle.

Granted, being in your thirties does have the drawback of OMGZ MY BODY WON'T STOP FALLING APART.

This part is actually worse for me, since I blew my back out six-years-ago doing too much weight on a Lat Row Machine. I've got two ruptured discs that irritate the Sciatica in my left leg. It's been awful. But enough about me.

I liken the physical deterioration in your thirties to a toy. When it's new, everything is strong and sturdy, but over time, wear and tear sets in. Some things don't work as well as they used to. That's kind of what your body is like in your thirties. It's not terrible, but you do notice the changes, which range from achy joints to inability to stay up late, less tolerance to extreme cold or heat, etc. Basically, if you blew out your knee at some point, that knee is going to remind you of it on an almost daily basis in thirties. Your hair also turns grey on a more steady basis, but that's kind of whatever. It doesn't bother me at all.

So to anyone afraid of turning 30, don't be. Like everything else, it's a mix of good and bad. Sure, it's different and your mortality starts coming into focus, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Then again, as someone who's never been married, has no kids, a spotty (at best) relationship record, I could be talking out of my ass.*

I pretty much always reserve the right to admit I'm talking out of my ass. If I'm wrong on something, so be it.