I Don’t Really Want to be Turning 30 Again, but…

Lisa writes: I don’t really want to be turning 30 again.  I truly believe what I wrote about midlife being a time when we have more time, more confidence and more resources. And given this, it is not surprising that once we pass 46, we are happier.

New York Times Social Media Conference, turning 30, Twitter

I have largely come to grips with the underbelly of aging, the image in the mirror.  But this weekend I was at The New York Times Social Media Summit listening to 20 and 30-somethings expounded on how Twitter and its brethren have forever changed traditional news gathering as we know it and, for a moment, I could not help wishing that, once again, I was turning 30 and here is why.

1.There are jobs that I would love to do, give my eye teeth to do, and most of them have the words “social media,” “digital,” or “online” in the job title.  My only regret is that these jobs did not exist when I was 30 or even 35.

2. If I was turning 30, I would have stayed in contact with so many people who I misplaced throughout my life as I moved all over the US and overseas and back.  Facebook would have allowed me to hold tight to friends in a way that letter writing just did not make possible . When I realize that my kids are still connected to almost everyone they have ever known, I cannot help be a little jealous.

3. If I was turning 30, I would have learned HTML rather than French as a second language. Every single day I wish I could code, and the last time I wished I could speak French?  1996.

4. If I was turning 30, I would welcome each new social media revelation. I would have been thrilled to learn about Storyfy, Mahaya. Instead, each innovation leaves me in a panic as I try to navigate new waters.

Twitter handle, Twitter, New York Times Social Media Conference, turning 30

5. If I was turning 30, I would not have been surprised to be given a name tag that asked only for my Twitter handle rather than my name.  It would not make me nervous to be known by this moniker alone.

6. If I was turning 30, I would have been excited to learn from the CEO of The New York Times that Twitter will always have the news first.  When there is breaking story, the first thing to do is not turn on the television but rather turn to Twitter.  Old habits die hard.

7. If I was turning 30, I would not waffle over the decision of whether to stay at home with my kids or stay in the workplace. Knowing what I do now, I would pour my energy into finding a part-time job and, though I know it is never easy, straddle those two worlds for the years in which my children are at home.

8. If I was turning 30, I would have had a moment of pause and then relief when founding editor of the Huffington Post, Roy Sekoff told the audience that, “My entire career is a succession of things I did wrong and learned from.”  I would have felt a huge amount of weight lifted from my shoulders and felt free to take risks I had never imagined.

The woman seated next to me in the audience was  bursting with pregnancy. She looked blissfully happy and awkwardly uncomfortable at the same time and I could not help thinking that If I was turning 30, my children would not yet have been born and I would be able to relive that incomparable moment of meeting them all over again.

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  1. Rita@thissortaoldlife says

    I can relate to every single point–and have articulated all of them to my over-46 friends. For years I felt I was born just a little too late; now I feel I was born just a little too soon. Still, I’m glad that I’m really not turning 30. I’d do it only if I could magically be 30 AND know all that I’ve learned in the years since!

    • says

      SO funny I felt the same. I thought I was born too late because I missed everything in the 60s and now too early because I have come to blogging/social media so late! Probably means we were just right.

  2. says

    Oh, my, my daughter is majoring in French! Should I tell her to major in HTML instead?? I’ve been telling her to study what she enjoys because I felt pressured into majoring in something practical! We all have our regrets, there, it seems. Regarding your wish to work part-time, I was able to do that for more of my child-rearing years. 3 days a week, or, full-time with generous telecommuting privileges. I was lucky with my schedule, but never ‘in love’ with my job. We can’t we make all our decisions in hindsight? :) I’ve come to the conclusion that working full-time, working part-time, staying home – they are all hard! Heck, just having children is hard no matter what your lifestyle is. I think there are a lot of men who look back and think there are things they might have done differently. Love this post, you manage to put your finger on what many of us are thinking.

    • says

      Meant to say, “most” of my child-rearing years; and “Too bad” we can’t make all our decisions in hindsight. Oy.

      • says

        Would that we could “make all of our decisions in hindsight” so well put. Pam thanks so much for your very kind words. I do feel you were lucky to keep one foot in the working world, it seems so many jobs were all or nothing.

  3. says

    The other night when I was landing at the airport, happy to be home after a strange week in Boston, I was actually thinking ahead a little bit about when my kids are older and what kinds of opportunities I’ll have then and I can travel like that more often. That kind of freedom sounds exciting. But then when I got home and kissed my kids as they slept I thought about how right now I like being tethered. I suppose I just feel fortunate to have a life I would find something wonderful about at any age. (Except Jr High. You couldn’t pay me enough to relive Jr High.)

    • says

      Ditto Jr High, what an age! Lovely story that says so much about how we can feel tugged in both directions, it sounds as though you have found the right one.

  4. Emily says

    Aw, you made me tear up at the end…love this post (of course I love all your posts). That name tag with the Twitter handle would have surprised me too! Sounds like it was a great conference to attend and what I take away from your learning is that the 30-somethings of today have different opportunities than we did at that age. Sometimes different appears better and sometimes, maybe not. Such as: No more letter-writing? While it’s wonderful that our children can keep in touch with their friends throughout their lives via social media, I also think it’s sad that they won’t have letters (of friendship and love) to look back on since all their communication is done electronically. Just thought I’d play devil’s advocate here, but overall, agree with all your points!!

    • says

      Thanks Emily…so much. I just look at the opportunities and cannot help but salivate a bit with envy. Our kids are going out into a very exciting world.

  5. says

    Cheers to that. I like my age and the confidence I have gained with it.

    I don’t like that I always seem to be on the trailing edge of everything technology-wise, and really that’s everything anymore if you’re talking career.

    And Oh! How I regret not working part time when the kids were younger. Some skills and credentials are not revivable.

    However, the great thing about my age is that I know what I am capable of. And one of the things I am capable of is failing. And also coming back from the failure to live another day. Hence, I’m no longer afraid of taking risks. That is the most wonderful gift that the years since thirty have given me.

    • says

      I am so glad you shared this. I have huge career regrets but cannot tell you how I would have done it differently. Each step made sense even though I knew heading into the empty nest this would be a problem. Trailing edge of technology…I think that sums it up.

  6. Carpool Goddess says

    It sure is a different world today. Who knew?! I wouldn’t mind turning 30 again if I could know what I know now. Love Roy Sekoff’s quote.

    • says

      I loved his quote too. I don’t think that at any point I believed that and would love for someone to have said those words to me.

  7. says

    I wish I had put more thought into naming my blog, choosing my twitter handle, etc.

  8. says

    Ohmigoodness! Not sure how I’d feel about being known only as Grandma’s Briefs. 😀
    Thought-provoking points all. The world is open to 30-year-olds in a way we never could have imagined. Though I can’t be 30 again, and am not sure I’d like to be anyway, I’m thrilled there are endless possibilities for my three 30- and nearly-30-year old daughters. (Now if only they’d learn and take advantage of Twitter!)

  9. says

    Your post and reading through the wonderful comments made me cry. Don’t ask why, it just did and I’m not sure how to explain it. It was a goodie…. thanks for the thoughts that bubbled up…… So, when I meet you next week you’ll say great to meet you @SSIOnline! :) I’ll smile (feeling more than likely hip as hell) and say ahhhhh, and you too @grownandflown. Dang, see your Twitter handle is so much better!!!!!

    • says

      Don’t know that our twitter handle is any better but if I had known that it was going to replace the name I was born with, I might have given it a bit more thought!! Thanks for your comment, you made me laugh!

  10. says

    Wow, I can relate! The world is so different now. I watch as my daughter graduates with her degree in Communications – Public Relations and find myself feeling a little jealous of the world she is about to enter.

  11. says

    It all rings true. Though I will say that one thing I’m grateful for is being mature enough to handle social media responsibly. I don’t know that I would have had enough restraint at a younger age to hold back from publishing things I shouldn’t. Now I trust my judgement not to post things that are too irreverent and not PC as I might have when I was younger.

    • says

      Lisa you bring up a good point. I cannot imagine myself let loose with social media at the age of 15. I would have sooooo much to regret now! On the other hand there are so many people whose lives I would have love to have kept in contact with…..ah, well.

  12. says

    It sounds like you had a marvellous time at the conference. It was great to read about it, and I wish I could have been there – so thanks for sharing :)

    I turned 30 in January. I can identify with many of your points, but a couple are perhaps more applicable to someone turning 20: I grew up without ubiquitous computing until my teens, and I doubt anyone at my school had heard of HTML – at 15 we learnt touch-typing and how to use a spreadsheet, but that was as far as it went. We didn’t have Facebook, and the fact that I’m now connected to many old schoolfriends on there is because we’ve made an effort to look each other up. The only reason I’m saying this is because you are *totally* able to do these things if you (and the rest of your generation) want to :)

    PS my twitter handle is my name – I thought I was being boring, but apparently I was thinking ahead!

    • says

      You are right, at 30 you fell just the other side of the divide, but I think I was thinking about 30 from a professional perspective. Having your twitter handle as your name is smart, I remember the old screen names my kids had and I don’t think they would have wanted to take them into adulthood. Going to go and follow you now, thanks so much for commenting.