Whither 30?

Whither. It takes me back to university days, that word. It was brand new in my vocabulary back then. We used to use it a lot in pretentious lecture, tutorial or essay titles. It has that “sounds like he knows what he’s talking about” feeling to it.

A few days ago, it suddenly dawned on me that I’m now the wrong side of mid-twenties, and beyond that point is 30. Now I’ve tried in the past to ignore these arbitrary age distinctions, but something peculiar about this age struck me really hard.

I think the reason is that one of my earliest memories was of my mum being 30. I remember her birthday party, as it were. I remember her wearing a big novelty badge with 30 on it. In fact, it’s still in one of the drawers somewhere at home. I must have been 7 at the time, and marvelling at how old my mum was. 30! It just amazed me, in the way things do when you’re young.

It is scary to be fast approaching this age myself. There are still a good few years to go, but it shocks me to think that if things don’t go so well, I could turn 30 with no further developments in my life. By the time my mum was 30, she’d had three children, with a fourth to follow the next year. She’d been happily married for 10 years, and was well on the property ladder, with another step up to go a few years ahead.

Comparisons between one generation and the other are never particularly fair, but none more so than now. Yes, the 80s recessions were not particularly nice either, but this one seems to be going on and one with no obvious end in sight after three years. I have a brother who is jobless, and cannot find anything, and another brother who faces an uncertain future if he can’t get the grades for university. My younger sister is not far behind.

My elder sister is doing OK, though. At last. She’s finally found someone nice, and I now have a brother-in-law. Imminently, there will also be a new niece or nephew. I’m hoping its a nephew, but I know my sister wants a girl! They’ve also just moved into their first home, their first step on the property ladder. I lent them some money to make it happen. Better to bring some happiness to someone, rather than it sitting in my bank account, earning less interest than inflation can erode it.

I wish I could apply the same logic to me. Maybe the reason I’m so unhappy, and so lonely, is I just don’t want to spend money. You gotta speculate to accumulate, they say. Apparently.

Only one thing I can do. Gotta keep plugging away…


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