Back when I was an elementary campus journalist, my fellow writers and I were told to write 30 at the end of each article to signify the end of it. It’s a habit that I took with me me even as I wrote for the college organ. My editors probably thought I was a lovesick schoolgirl scribbling my monthsary date in each submission. Even now, the habit of writing 30 is something I unconsciously find myself doing when I’m drafting articles by hand. Many theories have cropped up regarding this journalism practice – I’ve yet to find out the real scoop but I find it interesting how a simple double-digit number can indicate that something is finished and how the same number, when taken in the context of aging, can also signify endings.
Websites such as Elite Daily and Thought Catalog brainwash us into thinking that life ends once you stop belonging to the twenty-something age group -that blowing out 30 candles on your birthday cake is the death knell to sweet, savage living. I can’t speak for everyone who was born in 1986 but I have to say that turning 30 was definitely a milestone for me. For starters, it gave me a clearer perspective on what I wanted to do with my finite existence. Other people feel they’re running against time when they reach this age, but I’m starting to feel that time is on my side. It always is. It has helped me filter people and experiences that do not contribute to my well-being.
Something about getting older and consequently getting closer to death also gave me a Heideggerian push to value authenticity. I realized that pursuing graduate studies in international relations was so out of alignment with my true self. I was born a warrior, not a diplomat; I will fight for the underdogs but will never become one. I figured if God had given me this type of personality, I might as well put it to good (and legal) use, so I dropped out of grad school and started the process of applying to law schools. The decision to leave Ateneo was ego-crushing, to say the least. I’m not used to giving up on school, or anything for that matter, but the program just wasn’t for me. I felt disconnected from the world and from my self each time I forced myself to attend class… on those rare occasions that I actually did.
In line with authenticity, I have also learned to embrace myself, idiosyncrasies and all. I’m becoming more and more comfortable with the idea that I’m not perfect, that I will never be perfect and that is all right. That it’s okay to make mistakes. That it’s okay not to know everything all at once. That it’s okay to look back and cringe at some of the decisions I made back when I didn’t know better. That it’s okay to end things, thought patterns, behaviors, belief systems, and relationships that aren’t working out in order to have time and energy for more valuable stuff. “You have to let go of something big to make room for something bigger,’ my former boss once said and I couldn’t agree with her more.
A week before my 31st birthday, I continue to write 30 on things that no longer matter. Life and its unending cycle of creation and destruction continues. I look forward to new adventures.