Friday, July 21, 2017


I turned thirty yesterday. It feels weird to say.

It doesn't feel weird to be thirty, though. I woke up and just kept doing the same stuff I typically do. There are times where life falls into "before" and "after." If you don't count licenses and legal ages for stuff, birthdays aren't among those times. You pretty much just keep going, and you're back to normal the moment you forget the number.

Part of the reason I'm not so weirded out though is because I already got over the "wow I'm old" feeling. Once you lose in a competitive video game that you've been playing for ten years to somebody ten years younger than you, that's enough to get you feeling a little old. But I've been struggling with that feeling for a long while (and, I'm sure, people older than me are snickering at me a bit right now).

I didn't finish my first Bachelor's degree, since I didn't know what I would do as an English major and I was also struggling with depression and anxiety. I worked on fixing that problem over time, but I've relied on my family and friends to support me while I pick myself back up. Soon I'm going to have a degree, but I still get embarrassed thinking about being behind the curve, and I feel crummy for wasting both time and resources getting to this point.

I've got friends who are married, friends with kids, friends with degrees and PHDs and actual grown-up jobs. I've got friends who struggled economically growing up (whereas I didn't) who seem farther along towards their goals and life plans than me, including people younger than me. Having the word "thirty" imprinted on my brain adds a little extra weight to all of that.

A lot of this blog has focused on those problems with depression and anxiety, so I don't want to retread and rehash them here. I'm happy to say that I've made a lot of progress in my particular problem areas. A lot of the time, it felt like I wasn't going anywhere, or things were getting worse because was growing older without seeming to progress at all.

But at some point, even though part of me is really determined to feel bad about myself for not being where I'd like, I need to stop and think about things that are going well for me, things I've figured out and integrated into my life. I may have a terrible day, a terrible event, or a terrible thought, but I have to remember progress I've made; only then can it actually boost my emotional state.

It also helps for me to remember that dealing with problems and setbacks often gives you skills and knowledge that other people don't have. If you own a crappy car that you have to keep fixing, you may end up learning a lot about fixing cars. Even if your car breaks again, you can have confidence that you'll be able to figure out what to do. I've pulled myself out of depressive states before. I've overcome my nerves. I don't always successfully manage my frustration and anger, but I'm a lot better at it now than I used to be. Not only that, but the confidence and knowledge helps reduce the effect of future depression and anxieties.

Trying to work on myself constantly and confront the things I do wrong or poorly is daunting. There are some days where I agonize over whether I've stalled in my progress or whether I'm backsliding. Sometimes I am not sure if I'm going to reach my goals, or if things will be better than they are today. But at the end of the day, it all comes from a desire to keep pushing forward. I'm stubborn, and if that's what keeps me going, then I guess I'll take it.

I have no clue what the next thirty years will actually entail for me. Here's hoping the first thirty prepared me for them. Take care everybody.