Last weekend I was at a soft play with my friend and our children when she asked me a question:
“What even is there for women to do in their thirties once you’ve got a kid and can’t or don’t want to go out like we used to?”
This really got me thinking. The diabolically named 18-30’s holidays were all the rage when I was younger. I’d just never really considered what happened when the party was over and the wilderness of the world after 30 would hit hard. And suddenly, here I am.
Welcome to the Thirtyhood.
I’m on the opposite side of thirty now, and to be honest, I really don’t hate it. Of course, there are some aspects of it that freak the living shit out of me (vanity based, mostly) but for the most part it’s not terrible.
I’ve got some parts of my shit together and I’ve swam through enough of life’s proverbial deep end to know how to handle myself. Having said that, I think that my friend and I have accidentally hit upon a thought nugget that I’m interested to try and pull apart, metaphorically speaking.
Are you there yet?
Ok, a disclaimer: having children and lifestyle responsibilities and all the other crap that comes along with being an adult is tough at any age, but I think that maybe those who’ve done it in their twenties may have had the right idea. Having done the graft earlier, they now have the option of exploring the joys of Thirtyhood to the fullest. Which means options.
God, how I miss having options.
On the other side of that coin are those of us who are currently wading through the child-rearing, home-owning years of bullshit right in the middle of the Thirtyhood. How are we dealing with it? I’m mostly handling it badly, it by getting stressed at every minicsule thing that dares to breathe in my general direction, but that’s by the by.
More importantly, what else does the Thirtyhood have to offer? It can’t all be about our kids, soft play hell and expensive as hell coffees in cafes we don’t really want to go to but have to because of the bastard kid-friendly activities we subject ourselves to?
What else does the Thirtyhood hold? I don’t want to turn around when I hit 40 and realise I don’t know what happened to me for the previous ten years. It’s looking increasingly likely that that’s going to happen though; I have to find a happy medium, fast.
Is there a middle ground in the new-look Thirtyhood night out that we can have fun in – without either being bored shitless by 9PM or by getting dragged, mortal, out of the back of a Biffa bin round the side of a nightclub?
Do we have to just resign ourselves to a life of yoga classes, solitary night running and now almost necessary counselling sessions? Crafting, cooking and fucking school-run politics? Friendships are also really difficult to maintain during these years as we’re all so busy with the daily dross of our domestic situations, which sucks.
Where do we find the way back to a life?
What even is there for us to do here in the Thirtyhood?
Share your wisdom
I want to hear your ideas. Tweet me over on Twitter or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in guest posting about your experiences of Thirtyhood. I’m really interested to see how other men and women manage to sculpt their lives and careers in the wilds of the third decade.
Writer, tweeter and illustrator. Starving artist and thrifting expert. Pen for hire and first-time author at work.