In the classic 90s comedy series, Friends, an episode titled The One Where They All Turned Thirty opened up a group of close-knitted friends who surprised one of their own on her thirtieth birthday. Sadly, the celebrant’s reaction was one of depression mixed with disappointment. Why? She felt like a failure because that age reminded her of the many feats she expected to have accomplished but hadn’t.
As younglings, birthdays were met with shrills of joyful laughter as we excitedly felt ‘more mature’ with each passing birthday. Then we hit the 20s and life become more apparent of what it really entailed. Edging towards the mid-20s, anxiety and depression waited at the forefront, it then gets more realistic than ever as the late 20s beckoned. You realize that you are still struggling to gain admission to a higher institution which may not necessarily be a University. You are taking jobs you detest just to attain financial independence from family members. You need to move out of your folk’s apartment to earn a certain amount of respect from them and your younger siblings. You should already be in a serious relationship, if not married. Once you open LinkedIn, you find yourself calculating the age difference with a young bud who just hit big in his career journey.
Many youths are spending their 20s racing against the benchmark of 30 rather than truly living life itself. For firstborns and/or the male gender, it gets even worse, they seem to have tied their self-worth and manhood to having it all by age 30. By ‘all’ we mean; an apartment, a car, a wife/girlfriend and financial stability.
In a survey recently carried out by Aura Magazine; all of the respondents established the fact that they felt the necessity to attain a certain level of success in their life by the time they hit the big 3 – 0. The most interesting part is that many disclosed Career/Business as the area they want to be successful in.
Segun, Male, 29, wants his Career / Business life “settled” before he clocks 30. According to him, “Money guarantees peace of mind”
Chi, Female, 26, wants to attain success in her career by the age of 30. She feels her self-worth is tied to it because achieving that success “will make me standout”
Enuk, Male, 26 is an Entrepreneur who wants his financial life sorted before the age of 30. He said, “because I have responsibilities”
Eruterio, Female, 26, “I feel adults shouldn't be pressured by family or even by themselves to attain a certain success level. People get pressured by what they see. Inasmuch as we say it's avoidable, it isn't. Deep down, we all want to get to the top at 30 but if it doesn't work, we have to keep trying until we get to the point where we want to be”.
Laurel, Female, 33, felt that her marital life was to be defined by the age of 30. She too, felt as though her self-worth was tied to it
Bisola, Female, 26, revealed, “I just want to be financially independent before age 30”
Mary Jane, Female, 24, wants all areas of her life to be defined by 30. She claims that – “We all want to feel and be important, so we have to build ourselves to get there and increase our self-worth”
How the age 30 became a benchmark for one’s life is what we are yet to know but it has frequently been reported as a source of depression for those edging towards that age. We understand that adulating can be really trying but if you fall under this category, we hope these steps may help:
- Try and locate where exactly you feel this pressure coming from.
- Ask yourself if it is a genuine source of your existence
- You must have an anchor – God, you, a trusted friend, something that oozes love and light
- Live life in the moment. Make every memory, moment count
- Most importantly, remember it is just a phase and everyone is on a different timeline
- Put in your best effort and if you feel weary – REST.
- If after putting in your best it does not work out – remember Timaya’s I can’t kill myself. The best part is that you did your best.
…just as Katy Perry sang in her 2020 song, It’s not the end of the world.
*Do not hesitate to reach out to 0800 800 2000 to speak with a trained and licensed counsellor for free if your mental health is at stake.