Abigail Hall column — Dead at 30?
I have a friend whose intelligence exceeds that of all others I am acquainted with. He knows everything. So naturally, when he first informed me that I had less than seven years left to live, I found reason for concern.
Surely, I thought, he must have some substantiation for this outrageous claim. Could it be that his overgrown mind, too exceedingly cerebral to only process the past and the present, had now developed psychic abilities to predict and analyze the future?
OK, maybe not. He explained to me that actually, everybody dies at the age of 30. Not just me.
His assertion is that 30 is the default age when two life-altering changes take place: you stop caring about fun so you can care about work, and you stop caring about yourself so you can start caring about your children.
After that, your life has been given to other bodies, rendering you essentially deceased.
Personally, I think this is one theory of his that definitely needs more work. Of course you’re not dead at the age of 30. That’s preposterous.
Still, I’ve noticed that this is the way many young people do see the future, albeit not as dramatically or consciously. A fair amount of 20-somethings I’ve talked to seem to think that around age 30 will be around the time they will have decided to stop goofing off so they can get cracking on a serious career. They don’t know what this serious career is going to be, but they’re going to have it.
Also, they think they’ll probably start having some kids by then. After all, that’s what adults do, right?
So whether we feel we’re going to be lifeless at 30, or maybe just dreadfully boring, I think the idea exists because we feel disconnected from the generation above us. To us, our parents have always been adults, but we’ve spent most of our lives being “just a kid.”
Your 20s are a time when you’re supposed to gradually come to terms with your own inevitable maturation, and the first stage of this may be denial. Age 30 is hard to envision but, a decade ago, so was age 20.
I know I’ll be fine, because life at any age is what you choose to make it. And if I ever start to doubt my longevity, I’m sure a helpful member of the over-30 crowd will be happy to affirm that blood indeed still courses through their veins.
In fact, if you’re over 30 and reading this, you should probably go ahead and tell the nearest young person about how alive and vibrant you still are.
Perhaps it will make them feel better.
Contact Abigail Hall at email@example.com.