The Emancipation of 30

Last year, on October 2nd, I turned 30. At 12:05 am, on October 3rd, I was laying in my bed and burst out in tears. By 30, I had accomplished it all – married the man of my dreams, living in a beautiful home, two cars, a promising career – so why was I crying?

Turning 30 was very hard for me. I found that in my twenties, as long as I was following the typical path in life, I’d be fine. But it wasn’t until I turned 30, reality sunk in. You see, my parents weren’t well off growing up, so for as long as I can remember, it was always a race to the finish line. First I was putting myself through university, then paying off my student loan, then buying my first car, then paying for my wedding, then saving up for my first home. But now what? I’m 30, I have a lot to show for it, but I still feel a sense of emptiness. And it was then I realized, this entire time, I’ve been chasing the paper, and not the dream.

So what is the dream? It’s the answer to these seemingly simple questions,

“If I have a soul, what is my soul? What does my soul want?”

If only life were that simple.

Now that I have completed my first year in my 30s, I can tell you how beautiful and liberating it is. Searching what your soul wants is a constantly evolving process.  The tears I shed that night signified the stripping of the youth that I was hiding behind in my twenties, leaving me utterly naked to my inner core. And so I call this, the Emancipation of 30.

This past year has been a journey of self love. Physical traits I used to hate and obsess over, have now become things I absolutely love. I always focused on how my lips were partially crooked and not big enough, but now I love the definition of my cupid’s bow and how they’re plump but not overly plump, giving me a delicate pout. I always found my nose to be too big, but now find the rounded tip gives me a more youthful appearance. This confidence has become infectious to those around me and I find people gravitating to this beauty that can’t be seen, but only be felt.

This decade marked my desire for more meaningful relationships and connections. I strive to be surrounded by people who inspire me – be it mentally or spiritually – or fill my heart with joy. It’s impossible to keep such large circle of friends as you age and even harder to maintain friendships from your early years if you haven’t grown together. I’ve learned to accept that the length you’ve known someone shouldn’t be the only factor in preserving the friendship. It’s respecting where each of you are and where each of you want to go, and that destination may not include each other in it.

With my thirties, I am now in a financially secure place, something I haven’t previously had the luxury of. For the first time in my life, I’m no longer struggling to save up and pay for the next thing. I’m no longer terrified what will happen if I lose my job. Life is no longer about my next paycheque. I am finally in a place where I can ask myself questions, where the answers lie deep within my soul.

For a person who talks a lot, it wasn’t until this year I started finding my voice. I really started reflecting on what I stand for, what issues matter to me and have begun challenging myself on what am I going to do about it. My teens were for developing, my twenties were for laying a foundation and I pledge my thirties for living the life I was meant to live.

3 Comments on “The Emancipation of 30

  1. Very powerful! Something I can easily related to. Even I cried on my 30th birthday last year. You have embraced it well and I’m still struggling 🙂

  2. Thought of this quote from Kahlil Gibran on self knowledge and soul searching.

    Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
    But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart’s knowledge.
    You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.
    You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.

    And it is well you should.
    The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;
    And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.
    But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;
    And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
    For self is a sea boundless and measureless.

    Say not, “I have found the truth,” but rather, “I have found a truth.”
    Say not, “I have found the path of the soul.” Say rather, “I have met the soul walking upon my path.”
    For the soul walks upon all paths.
    The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
    The soul unfolds itself like a lotus of countless petals.

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