30. The big Three-O. Three decades. A round one, as the Austrian would say. „How does it feel to be 30?“ I’ve been asked that quite a lot over the last week and even before my birthday. A question and an occasion that seem important enough to bring this slumbering bear of a blog back from its years of hibernation. Perhaps at the end of this text it will have become more obvious what bears have in common with butterflies. Or – if you know me, you might have guessed – not.
My instant reaction to that question has been something along the lines of “Stupid question, next question!” (Please don’t feel offended if you’re one of those people who’ve asked me that recently. Love you anyway!) But how do you answer this question as a 30-year-old male animated pile of flesh? It starts with the fact that for the longest time of my existence I haven’t even been aware of what I was feeling whatsoever.
The feeling of change
The reason for this circumstance is certainly worth a blog entry of its own. I’ll just boil it down to a mixture of „difficult social relationships between men and feelings“ + „fear of confronting one’s own emotional world (greetings from childhood (micro)traumas) + „lack of (self) awareness“. Which makes it all the more difficult to answer what a birthday feels like.
Some may (or have to, depending on perspective) count themselves among the illustrious circle of those who get to regularly enjoy my mumbo-jumbo. If you do, you probably know that in the last few weeks, months, maybe even 2 – 3 years I have tried to learn more about topics such as personality development, psychology, philosophy and also spirituality. And – who would’ve thought – that brought a whole lot of insight with it. I have already shared some of that in previous blog entries. With the end of the bearish hibernation, there will also be a lot to come. Buckle up, it’s gonna be a wild fucking ride!
One of those insights is definitely that everything is constantly changing. If the scales in my parents‘ bathroom had vocal cords (I don’t have one myself for good reasons 😉), they would sing you a song about it. Most of you will now think “Duh Captain Obvious”. But it is still a realization that – for me at least – comes along with a whole bunch of interferences.
Above all, the fact that there is no way to avoid and escape change. Therefore, we better embrace and accept aging and at some point our own demise. Sorry, if this happens to trigger existential fears in anyone. (The great team of Kurzgesagt has summarized this in a lovely clip) However, it’s part of the game as long as Silicon Valley doesn’t discover the philosopher’s stone. And as long as one doesn’t put their faith in reincarnation. But more on that in another post.
Returning readers may have noticed by now: This is not a good ol’ bearnecessities-travel blog entry. Just like myself, bearnecessities may well be going through some changes. But you’ll know what I’m talking about eventually.
In the first draft of this post, this is where I started blabbering about feeling like a cocooned chrysalis about to become a butterfly. Because change and metamorphoses and ladeeda. But to be honest: fuck that, butterflies my ass!
Frankly, I would have every reason to think turning 30 was really shitty and awful. Don’t get me wrong. I am quite aware of how ridiculously privileged I am. However, there’s a but. I am still being confronted with societal requirements, norms and expectations. And between us, sometimes I struggle coping with that.
“What? You haven’t accumulated any significant property? What, you still haven’t climbed the second step of the corporate ladder? What, you don’t even have someone by your side to increase life on this earth? Well, big PHAT “Yeeearp!” Social media takes it one step further. Stories, reels et cetera essentially suggest to constantly compare ourselves to others. Add some pinches of global circumstances that, all optimism aside, are going to challenge us. Et voila: Ready is your homemade Third-Life-Crisis.
Follow the honey, get stung by bees
Luckily, since last time I looked in the mirror – alongside marvelously thick chest hair – I still had a bear and not a butterfly tattooed on my chest. That is to say: Yes, loving all that change and development. But me personally, I don’t want to be irritated, seduced and led by my own social conditioning.
Again, I am aware of my extreme privilege. But my perspective is the only one I can authentically talk about. And to be frank: Your own conditioning, the oftentimes wrong believes we’ve taken on and the goals imposed by society is something that one may want to dismantle at some point anyway. Regardless their personal perspective and privilege.
With all the change in my metaphorical backpack of a character I’d much rather continue to follow the scent of honey, even if at the end of the day there is a hive full of bees waiting for me. I’d much rather screw up and learn from it. I want to go my own way and create my own timeline in this life. I want to collect experiences and memories that nobody can take from me at the end of the day. You catch my drift.
Embrace the paradox
On some given days, this works really well. On others, it does not. At all. Sometimes this… let’s call it “way to live one’s life” feels extremely motivating, almost euphoric. And on other days it feels depressing and sucks ass big time. But if the last few years have taught me one more thing, it’s that life is full of paradoxes and contradictions. It teems with dichotomies and duality. For me, it was a tough pill to swallow but life as an animated pile of flesh on planet Earth is goddamn ambivalent. And the way I see it, the only way is to endure, even embrace that!
Now you have your answer. That’s the essence of what it feels like to be 30. Getting older is awesome and awful at the same time. But once one has accepted that our earthly lives are finite and – loosely based on the Stoics – once one has internalized the concept of “Memento Mori”, one can really begin to live! And now I’m getting a butterfly tattoo, maybe even on my ass!
Until next time, kisses on your bellies.
Your friendly neighborhood butterfly.