If you’re older than me, bear with me, because I think this sort of feeling could apply to any age; we all have to deal with this and each new year presents different challenges and opportunities.
It has been four months since my birthday, and much of that has been a period of adjustment. I felt as though I’d only just gotten used to being 20-something, only really started enjoying it towards the end of the decade, and then someone stole it away from me and hit me with the big 3-0. I felt like I was no longer a ‘young man’, merely ‘a man’ – an adult. Was I now expected to be responsible? To behave in a grown-up way?
I wasn’t sure I was ready for that.
In my world, when you struggle with something, you write a song about it. And that I did, putting into words some of my feelings for the first time and trying to convince myself of some of the positives. Positives such as having more experience, more wisdom, and a better understanding of myself. But it didn’t really cut the mustard; I still felt pretty uneasy about the new decade.
But then one day it hit me: if I felt that I was an ‘adult’, what did that mean? I guess as a young man, part of me believed I hadn’t earned the right to be taken seriously, that my thoughts and opinions weren’t worth listening to – or at least, I thought that other people might have seen it that way.
As I considered the negative of ‘being an adult’, I suddenly saw it from the other side: I’m an adult. I am grown-up. I have a place in the world; my words/actions/beliefs are valid and I have as much right as anyone else to have them, and express them if I choose to. In some way, I’ve paid my dues, and I feel I’ve lived long enough to have the right to be heard. And, I believe I have some things worth hearing.
It’s a shame it took me a whole decade of a lack of self-confidence to realise it. I don’t believe one should have to be 30, before they have these rights.
And that’s it really. If you feel unhappy about getting older, try looking at it from a different angle. It could be that some problem you’ve had in your younger years no longer applies – and that’s something to celebrate.
Maybe a negative feeling is actually a positive one; we just need the right lens.