I woke up with painfully dry eyes, stuffy nose and sleep lines on my cheeks that will take quite some time to smoothen out. I was never a morning person but I’ve learned to be what I’m naturally not to get by, get through and get ahead. So that day, a week day, I convinced myself that I was a morning person with a glass of water and a sip of hot coffee. As CNN blurted out the worst things that happened the night before, I enjoyed the rest of that gratifying cup of instant coffee and scrolled through my Facebook feed – parties in new bars, trips to Japan, prenup photos and parents gushing over their babies. The world that I identified myself with was only real in my phone screen, never when I look up.
Because my days go by very differently. That day began with a reminder that I’m due to defend the strategy plan for my Masters in three weeks. It continued with significant progress in my job hunt and ended with much pencil pushing so I can keep my laughable savings in tact. And while I was putting myself together to look sharp for an interview, I realized that I just dressed appropriate for my age. That day, I turned 30. Damn. It actually happened.
Physically, being 30 feels the same as in the past 4 years. I know what I'm after and have little patience for bullshit. I am frank about what I disagree with and persistent about my beliefs. I compromise and negotiate with others and myself countless times. Energy is a sensitive aspect every day and I have to be conscious of it because time almost always fails to cooperate.
Emotionally, it feels… unworldly… it’s a clash of two extremes. On one end is a completeness. There is better self-awareness, appreciation of accomplishments, excitement towards potential, understanding of my environment and recognition of infinite opportunities. On the other end is unnerving pressure. I am expected to have settled down, to produce an offspring, be an accomplished something somewhere AND have sufficient income to prove that all of my other life decisions were right. While I absolutely want all of these for myself, I am left with a rather small window to grab them all. Many would say “age is just a number” and “you are only as young or old as you let yourself be.” Be that as it may, the fact of the matter is, I’m merely inches away from hitting 50% of the Filipina’s average life expectancy (assuming I’m fully functional up to the end).
There are fleeting seconds where I think, "maybe it wouldn’t feel so constricted if I had done things differently". If I didn’t do more than what was asked of me, I would still have energy to party. If I didn’t spend too much money on travel, I would still have enough to settle down. If I hadn’t been so aggressive about my career, I could have started settling down much earlier.
Then there are beautiful truths after those seconds. I’ve survived, quite beautifully, as a human being for 30 years! I started weak - in and out of the hospital for my asthma, the youngest to wear eyeglasses in class, been discriminated for my weight and went through drastic changes because of that. I went through dilemmas made simpler by people who continue to do good despite being neglected by the world. I questioned how the world works because those who excel in it are those who take advantage of others. I have received too many congratulations for my achievements, praises for how I do things, shower of gifts, countless opportunities (more than I deserve) and unwavering love and support from my family. I experienced disappointments from promises broken and heartbreak from expectations that were never met. I have gone through a lot. I have done enough. I have done my best.
On the night of January 20, 2017, I had conversations over dinner with my parents. My boyfriend and I celebrate my entrance to the 30s Club with scuba diving trip (thanks to his perseverance). It was peaceful yet adventurous. It was new yet it felt familiar. Turning 30 may have felt unworldly but I am confident that my completeness will help me overcome the pressures. The first step is learning to identify with the world that’s relevant to my own story, not to that which is only real in my Facebook feed.
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies