Total cliche – after being a twenty-something for a full decade, the millennial panics at the prospect of turning thirty, entering adulthood unequivocally. This is me today. Happy Birthday.
Okay, I’m being a bit dramatic.
Maybe it’s different for other people, maybe it’s the same. I still sometimes see myself as a nineteen-year-old kid discovering myself, my identity, full of angst and rebellion – as a boy of ten, unsure and beset by the hormonal injections of puberty, learning firsthand the cruelty of my peers and the indifference of the world. Sometimes I am four, full of newness and blissful ignorance, activated by a too-familiar scent, a well-worn image, a sensation burned into my spine.
But now I am thirty, and it does not seem to fit. Four years ago I was living in my mother’s house still, in Chicago, in the city – fours years later finds me in Indiana, smack dab between my hometown and Indianapolis, for all intents and purposes – the country.
Not that I’m knocking it. Though the culture shock at first was jarring, I’ve since grown quite comfortable in my rustic surroundings. Sure, I still live in town, far from the flat-land-wilds of the corn-and-bean-laden countryside. All the same, a far-cry from the roar of the urban jungle, the constant rumble of electrified trains and hybrid public buses. But, I’m losing focus…where was I, oh yeah, thirty.
It’s just weird. I recall an article I read once claiming that domesticated house cats never truly grow up, that they will forever retain their kitten persona under the care of their human-parents. It makes sense, what purpose is there to growing up, to becoming savage, if one’s life necessities – food, water, shelter – are provided free of violence and struggle. I feel that it’s much the same with modern, privileged (first world) humans. We never truly grow up, we never truly become the savage, resourceful survivalists, much less killers, that human beings were meant to be, that we had to be in order to survive in the wild. Thus we remain children masquerading as what we believe adulthood to be – a patchwork collection of behavior learned from observation of our parents and straight copycatting of popular culture…all the more accessible in this digital, streaming, shareable age we live in.
So no, I don’t feel thirty, nor do I know what thirty should feel like. And, just as I felt as a nineteen-year-old throughout most, if not all, of my twenties, I believe that I will spend most of all of my thirties trapped, frozen in time, at this moment as a reluctant twenty-nine-year-old, unready to advance yet thrust into it, trying my best to conform to a stage of life that I know nothing about, a stage of life that I doubt has any meaning beyond what an individual makes of it.