And so it is: I am officially 30 years young. Yes, I use the word young instead of old, contrary to my previous belief that once I turned the big 3-0, life as I had known it prior to this milestone would never be the same again. Period.
Quarter-life crisis -- a term seldom heard, unlike the more frequently used mid-life crisis hit me harder than I could have anticipated the week I turned 27. Overnight, I felt inexperienced, insecure and depressed. When I say overnight, I really do mean just that -- overnight. The morning of my 27th birthday, I walked into the gym, as per my regular work-out schedule, and when confronted with point-blank request "Please enter your age" by the elliptical machine, I suddenly panicked. Forget bragging along the lines of "I'm still in my early 20s." No more. Hello mid-20s. I was getting close to 30 by the minute. Was this even possible? Wasn't I a mere teenage girl just a few moments (OK, a few years, maybe) ago?
Though I was still single and reeling from a failed decade-long on/off relationship, I had just signed a deal with a major song publishing company in the States, was in the process of writing an upcoming musical alongside a veteran Broadway legend, had just moved into a beautiful midtown condo across the street from Central Park, loved and adored my incredible array of close friends from all walks of life and an amazingly supportive family one could only dream of, had recently obtained a brand new American passport I had pined for since I was a little girl growing up in the USSR and, last but not least, was proud to say I had finally embarked on the ultimate pursuit of my American Dream.
Yet, there was something monumentally wrong with this picture. I was unhappy, deeply so, and completely clueless as to why. The one thing I knew for a fact was that in my heart of hearts, I realized there was so much more I was still hungry to achieve both professionally and personally... and the pressure of being five minutes away from hitting 30 was overwhelming. What I didn't realize at the time, however, was the crucial key to overcoming the early-life crisis: at the end of the day, it is all about seizing the moment. Carpe Diem. But in hindsight I can see that I had unknowingly spent the majority of my 20s doing the opposite: living in the future, projecting events that had yet to happen, and thus missing out on the present moment.
The daunting task of coming to terms with 27 took weeks if not months, but my deeply rooted fear somehow remained intact: "What if I feel all the more depressed, insecure and inexperienced when I finally approach my much-dreaded third decade?" I asked myself over and over. If 27 was tough, I feared 30 to be triple that, at best.
As I type these words on my cellphone and sip another cup of Americano (snapshot above), it suddenly hits me -- I am officially 30 years and three days old... No, let me try that again. I am officially 30 years and 3 days young. I don't, in the slightest bit, feel any sense of anxiety or depression, even though three years ago, I could've sworn I would soon become a victim of a rough emotional meltdown once I got to this point in my still-young life. If anything, I am embracing my third decade more than I ever thought I would. Hence my idea for the next blog -- a list of 30 reasons why I choose to embrace my 30-something as my 30-everything.
Meanwhile, for all you 30-somethings, here's one of my favorite quotes from Christiane Amanpour: "Like a great wine, it just gets better with age -- your friendships, your family and your professional confidence." I'll drink to that! Bottoms up! Or as they say in my native Georgia: gaumarjos!