Design of a decade

Part 1 of 2

That's right. I'm naming this article after Janet Jackson's 1995 greatest hits album spanning the first decade of her career. A lot can happen in 10 years. For Ms. Jackson, it's collecting 14 top-40 singles and becoming a worldwide superstar. But we can't all be music icons so the changes in our lives probably aren't that drastic – no meteoric rise to fame, no amassing of a massive fortune.

Still, 10 years is a long time and if you look hard enough, you'll realize that you're a completely different person now from way back then. I obviously can't speak for everyone but that's how I feel. Curiously enough, I only feel that now. It's got a lot to do with age, I think. At 32 years old, I'm finally embracing my true age and actually believing that where I am now is so much better than when I was 22.

I've never lied about my age but before turning 32, I would always wish I was younger. In my late twenties, I felt so old without really feeling like a real adult. I remember when I was 18, I was picturing my life a decade after. When I turn 28, I thought to myself, I would have this job, I would be living at this place and I would have a net worth of this amount.

Those things never happened, of course, because it was a stretch – a teenage fantasy, if you will. So at 28, I thought I was still that 18-year-old kid playing the part of an adult. I've accomplished some things, yes, but it wasn't enough. And it was frustrating. It made me feel like I'm nowhere I should be at life and I was a failure as a human being. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but I hope you get my point.

It was as if digits were arbitrarily being added to my age and fine lines were starting to appear on my face. But the advertised wisdom, success and bank account size didn't seem to have gotten the invite and therefore, didn't make it to the party. It didn't help that it was around that time that people loved sharing faux-inspirational online articles and listicles on Thought Catalog or whatever, such as 30 Things You Need To Do Before You Turn 30. Like, WTF, I haven't done more than half those things. Am I failing at life again?

Eff you, person who's better at life than me. Enjoy quitting your job to travel the world. You'll be scrubbing toilets real soon because you'll run out of money. That's a true story, by the way. Look it up. (Pro tip based on experience: If you don't want to feel bad about yourself and your life, stay away from all that listicle mumbo-jumbo BS.)

So then I turned 30. Well, that was a mess. It was a huge leap because it was a totally new decade. We all know the story. At that age, our parents and grandparents were so far along in terms of adulting. They were all married with more than a couple of kids. They were managing household and raising families. They had legit responsibilities and they made it work.

Yet there I was: hanging out at coffee shops with equally unmarried friends, whining about work and relationship drama, talking about movies, TV shows and songs, gossiping about who said what on Twitter, planning our next trip to the beach – basically the same thing I've been doing for most of the past decade. Has nothing changed?

When 31 approached, it was like a really bad movie sequel. Sequels are generally bad but this one was Speed 2 terrible, as if the entire year was one long hangover from being 30. I was basically cruising through the year in denial. I just wasn't acknowledging that I was in my early thirties. I wasn't prepared to deal with that daunting truth.

Then something changed a few weeks before my 32nd birthday. And sorry to go all Scheherazade on you but that, my friends, is a story for next Saturday.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @EdBiado

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