Over the Hill at 30?

The difference between being 29 and 364 days and being 30 and zero days

They used to say that being forty was “Over the Hill.”  Then they started saying the “50 was the new 40” and “40 was the new 30.”   I am here to tell you that 30 years old is the new “over the hill.”  There are systematic changes that we go through at that point more so than at any other point in our lives.  (Bear in mind that I’m 31 going on 32, so I know what I am talking about)

Having been in my 30s for two years already, I feel I stand in a position to offer some insight to those of you are still on the “easy” side of three decades.  First of all, you should know it’s actually different.  It’s like no other birthday I’ve experienced.  Sure when you turn 16 you can drive, 18 you can vote or 21 you can finally get hammered, but those are all external municipal laws that are put in place, there’s no actual growth that occurs within.  Thirty there’s growth and some of it’s not good.  Your priorities change, things you never thought you’d care about, you now think about non-stop.  Here are a few of the things that change:

  1. Amount of Pain you feel every single moment – inexplicably your body begins to ache every single day when you turn 30.  You wake up, you hurt.  You go to bed, you hurt.  It’s like every night while you’re sleeping, those adorable gnomes that we joked were stealing your socks at night and in the dryer when you were in your 20s are now little creatures from the Leprechaun horror movie franchise who tie you up and punch you as hard as their little bodies will let them. They just pummel you until you wake up at 6 AM, writhing in pain, which brings me to…
  2. Waking up late – To be fair, I was always a pretty early riser without an alarm, I’d be up and at em by 7:30 or so, ready to attack the day. Well rested.  Now I wake up at 6 AM!  There’s no plausible explanation.  I don’t need to get up at 6.  I don’t want to get up at 6.  But I have to pee and now I am wide-awake. Sure I’m exhausted, and sure I’ll keep my eyes closed for another hour, but I’m not sleeping… just lurking.  Laying in wait, til my girlfriend blinks her eyes open so we can talk about that episode of Game of Thrones we stayed up late to watch last night, oh yeah…
  3. Staying up late – Bedtime for me when I was in my 20s varied nightly from 11 to 3 AM depending on circumstance and intoxication levels.  Now? It’s 10 PM sharp.  I have no kids!  I have nothing that’s dragging me to bed, except one thing: being 30.  It’s the worst!  My eyes refuse to stay open.  Sure there’s the occasionally dinner outing where we get really reckless and decide to go to a local speakeasy afterwards, and smoke cigarettes and drink alcoholic beverages, but 99% of the time I’m brushed and in my Jammies by 10.  UGH!  Also…
  4. Exercise – I used to exercise sparingly and smoke cigarettes and drink beer and not worry about shit.  I probably weighed fifteen pounds more than I should, but who gave a shit… not me.  Not anymore.  I run 5 to 6 times a week, 500 pushups… it’s a disaster.  I feel bad when I drink beer.  WHAT IS HAPPENING!
  5. Going out – It used to be fun to go out.  I’d be psyched to see old friends.  Take a couple of beers down.  Now?  All I want to do is stay home.  To be honest, I love all of my friends, but I’m lazy and I don’t want to do shit once the sun goes down.  I’m like the exact opposite of a vampire.
  6. Loving Golf – I don’t know what it is.  But golf is suddenly the most appealing sport in the world. It’s perfect: I can play it at 6 AM.  I have to get to bed early to be up early so… check.  It’s exercise (not really).  I get to drink and smoke at an hour that I am not passing out at so I feel like I still got it (I don’t got it.)
  7. Forgetting your Birthday I used to “feel” my birthday coming up.  I just knew.  The weather would start to get warm then I’d remind the broad, “I want to [blank] for my birthday this year,” just in case she’d forgotten (she hadn’t).  The blank used to be have a birthday party with tons of people and get hammered til sun up.  Now she has to remind me when my birthday is, “I want to [blank] for your birthday this year.” And the blank now is like a couples retreat to Palm Springs.  We’re going to go play golf and really get after it… like old people.

Don’t get me wrong.  Being 30 is way better than being 29, if for no other reason than you know what the fuck is going on (or think you do).  The biggest difference though, is when you’re 29, you can still lie to yourself and say that you’re still young.  Not when you’re 30.  It’s tougher.  You put more pressure on yourself.  But ultimately it’s good because you are actually living your life the way you want to.  When you’re in your 20s you just sort of do stuff because it seems interesting; when you’re in your 30s you just sort of do stuff because there’s no other choice.  You’re making choices that you know will affect the rest of your life.  But know this…

When the early morning achesies start waking you up, you know….it’s all down hill from here, but that’s good.

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