Make It Stop: “Ugh, Getting Older Is Depressing”

I’m turning 30 next week and it feels like a dark cloud is descending upon me. I feel old, like my best days are behind me. How do I make this terrible feeling stop?

I know getting older is scary. It can seem like your best days are behind you, like the bloom of your youth is withering into a heap of dust.

Just so you know, that’s bullshit. All of it. Everyone goes through the process of getting older so you think it wouldn’t be as taboo as it is. What I’ve learned is that no one tells you the awesome parts about growing older.

But, before we can talk about the perks of crow’s feet, let’s tip our limited-edition birthday cake frappuccinos to your kickass twenties where you learned:

  • If he’s not nice to his mother, he won’t be nice to you
  • Some guys aren’t interested in having a real relationship, they just want your attention
  • Friendships are optional and have their own ebb and flow. Sometimes they last, sometimes they are only meant for a particular stage in your life.
  • Brunch is a religion and “unlimited mimosas” are the best words in the English language

Thanks, twenties! You were a beautiful bird that now must take flight. Don’t let your dramatic drunk texts and overly complicated brunch plans hit you on the way out. Now, let’s say hello to our thirties! Isn’t she a beauty? Here’s what you can look forward to in this sophisticated decade:

  • Knowing yourself even better
  • Feeling settled in the life you choose for yourself
  • You’ll read the labels on everything (and enjoy it!)
  • Investing in a quality skin care routine is essential

If your twenties were a turbulent cauldron, you’ll see that your thirties are a delicious stew set on simmer. All the footwork you did dating the wrong people, making bad decisions about money and living situations, give way to some serious knowledge about how the world works. You’ll see that your confidence will be strengthened, your intuition will be sharper, you will continue to become the best version of yourself as possible. In fact, you might even look at your gray hairs and crow’s feet as badges of honor. Instead of saying, “Damn, I’m old,” you’ll be saying, “Yay, I’m experienced!” As a bonus, now you know to go home after the second drink, or that if a guy you’re casually dating doesn’t call you back within 24 hours to move on.

A few years into your thirties, you might even recognize that growing older is a privilege. Not to be too heavy, but a lot of people don’t get the chance to grow old, to see their families and friends through different stages of life. You’ll feel grateful that you even made it this far and be excited for what comes next.

Lastly, be kind to yourself. You’re battling messages society has programmed into you to value youth above all else. Take a media break and see if that helps because most media don’t provide a healthy outlook on the aging process.

Also, to get yourself over the grump hump, plan some fun things to look forward to. Maybe schedule a trip, read a great book or go to a museum. It might help to get you out of your head.

Soon you’ll see that being in your thirties is a gift. Life is a roller coaster ride going in one direction, honey, and the best gift you can give yourself is to embrace the ride.

Make It Stop is a weekly column in which Anna Goldfarb — author of “Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through” and the blogger behind the blog, Shmitten Kitten — tells you what’s up. Want a fresh take on a stinky dilemma? Email [email protected] with the subject “Make It Stop.” She’ll make it all better, or at least make you laugh. Girl Scout’s honor.