So you’ve passed the dreaded 30-year-mark and are wondering what happened to your life?
The time of our life between 30 and 40 is typically known for being a transitional period between youth and middle-age. It is chock-full of milestones that change how we see the world and relate to people.
Our 30’s is also a crossroads where we either create life or become self-absorbed.
Here are a few life problems that most people experience in their thirties.
It’s The Age Of Harsh Truths!
When we turn 30 we become acutely aware of the fact that we are not the youngest of the adults anymore. In fact, there is an entire generation much younger and perhaps hungrier than us, ready to make their mark on the world.
In other words, we are met with the harsh truth. We are no longer “special” and the window of opportunity to achieve our dreams is starting to close.
This stands in stark contrast to our childhood when we (most of us) we’re told that we can be whatever we put our mind to and that the world is our fruit basket. The emotional and perhaps practical support we received from our parents masked our insufficiencies, which are now (in our thirties) becoming increasingly more apparent to us.
This is when we try to find a partner that is able to compensate for our newfound insufficiencies, but the relationship ends up becoming a constraint. We no longer have the time or ability to pursue our dreams as we would have liked to. But we’re also acutely aware of the fact that this is the time, if any, that we can build a family. In other words, we’re locked into an inner-conflict. On one side we have our personal ambitions and on the other side we have our biological urge to reproduce.
Needless to say, this inner-conflict leads to a depression that many people experience during their thirties.
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The Kids Can Be Your Downfall!
The time period between our thirtieth and fortieth birthday is when most people become parents and, as those of you with children of your own may know all too well, parenting has its downsides.
Similar to romantic relationships, becoming a parent limits our ability to achieve self-actualization. We no-longer have the same freedom to pick and choose career paths or living locations based on our personal desires and the time constraints of parenthood limits our ability to commit ourselves to the extent that is necessary.
Parenting can also be a lonely endeavor, especially during the first few years when one parent (more often than not the mother) is made to stay at home with their child for long periods whilst the rest of the extended family carry on with their lives. The feeling of being closed-off from the rest of the world can be enough to make anyone feel anxious or depressed but having responsibility for the health and well-being of a child at the same time can strengthen feelings of insufficiency and lead to moments of full-blown panic.
Becoming a parent also allows us to identify with our parents on a whole new level. It is not until we have experienced the trials and tribulations of parenthood that we understand what our parents had to endure whilst taking care of us during the most vulnerable period of our lives. For those fortunate enough to have their parents alive and have good relationship to their parents, this might lead to a even stronger relationship but to those who have parents who are deceased or don’t have contact with their parents for whatever reason, realizing what one’s parents must have gone through will undoubtedly open emotional wound that over time will develop into a depression.
Becoming a parent also means having less sex. Not only are both parents exhausted after having taken care of their child the whole day, neither may be in the mood to have sex as they have had first hand experiences of the consequences of it. The mental leap from changing diapers and cleaning up spilt milk to performing sexual acts in the bedroom might be a bit too hard to handle.
Also, the one bareing the brute of the parenting workload (in most cases the mother) can feel a sense of animosity towards the other and choose to withhold sex as a form of protest.
The strain that parenthood puts on relationships creates conflict between the people participating in the relationship. This conflict in turn creates inner-conflict (should I stay or should I go) which over time becomes a depression.
Being Single In The Time Of Conformity
Last but not least we have the dreaded notion of being single in our thirties. Not only is this a time when everyone seems to be pairing-up with one another, they’re also moving into houses and making babies. All of a sudden, all of our friends have grown-up and left us behind.
Being single in our thirties is especially difficult for women as old-fashioned notions of courtship imply that women are the ones that are selected and men are the ones doing the selecting.
Hence, being a single women in one’s thirties sends a message to the world that one is not good enough, whereas men are able to hide their inadequacy with being single by simply claiming that they have not found the right person yet. But the inadequacy is there nonetheless.
Either way, people who are single in their thirties, tend to feel as if their lives are less meaningful in comparison to their loved-up counterparts. This may cause us to lose touch with friends who are caught up with family life and when we finally are invited over, the differences between our lives and theirs becomes palpable and for some, too much to handle.
On top of this, we can’t escape the fact that us being single is seen as a problem by our friends and family, who insist on setting us up on awkward dates with other people who are unlucky enough to share our fate.
The fact that our lives don’t match society’s expectations (and perhaps our own) is what causes the depression in this case.