In a flash, I turned into the spokesperson for aging. Seniors from all over the Philippines text me, thank me for speaking up for them. True, we all are growing in years. Who isn’t?
But they are not losing their minds or getting slower. Instead, they are getting wiser. True, their looks may be fading, but they still care about their eyebrow pencils and lipsticks. I have to add that I care for my eyeliner, too, because my eyes fade without eyeliner.
This means that we may grow older but our vanity, while it changes somewhat, does not necessarily fade away. So you see, growing older does not mean running out of life, like younger people think. It means more contemplation, more studying, each in his or her own way, of the past, the mistakes and successes and the lessons they taught us.
As I look back on my life, I realize that my 30s were my most memorable years. Not that they were the best. They were full of ups and downs, ins and outs, crates full of mistakes, but I remember them best of all.
To all the young girls out there who are turning 30, this is what I learned from being your age:
When you are 29 turning 30, you are traumatized.
Turning 30 means you’re getting old! I remember staring out of my office window at a gray sky panicking that I was turning 30. How would my life change?
I was married then, verging on being unhappily married. My husband was very busy with his job and I, bored at home and left out of life, returned to my old job, my old friends. That was where my happiness was coming from.
Do you ever wonder why the years from 30 to 40 are considered historical ages? Jesus Christ, I read somewhere, was crucified at 33. Jose Rizal was executed at the Luneta at 35. Sylvia Plath, an American poet, stuck her head in a gas oven at 31.
Not thinking I would find any data, I went to Google to research suicide rates in the Philippines. Surprise! It said: “Between 2009 and 2018, suicide rates in the Philippines among adults between the ages of 25 and 44 have surpassed the suicide rates of older adults (65 and older). In 2018, suicide was the second leading cause of death for youth and young adults (ages 10-34).”
If you notice, 30 is consistent in the two groups, somewhere in the middle.
For girls 30-40, those are the years you turn into real women
From the top of your head to the tips of your toes. First, in the looks department, your 30s are your prettiest years. You don’t have white hair yet, or if you do, it’s just a few single white hairs scattered almost invisibly on your head.
The first sign of aging is sagging, but in your 30s your face has no sign of sagging yet. Your body is still firm and shapely. Every woman looks her best in her 30s.
Your 30s are your prettiest years. You don’t have white hair yet, or if you do, it’s just a few single white hairs scattered almost invisibly on your head.
Please know that I was not aware (at the time) that my 30s were my prettiest years. I just took them for granted. Now that I am in my 70s, I regret not being aware. I should have flaunted it more.
In your 30s you become acquainted with your sexuality. You enjoy it in a way you didn’t enjoy it before. I think that was the best part of being 30. You finally learned how wonderful it was to be a woman, knowledge that stays with you forever. That is the deepest and greatest gift of being 30.
Your career is also experiencing a curve during that decade
This isn’t for everyone in her 30s, I think, but for me it went from being almost vice president in a multinational agency in the Philippines to moving to the United States, having no American experience, and working as a secretary.
I never knew what it was to be a secretary. I had my secretary to fax, copy and file for me. Now I had to learn to fax, copy and file. I became a pretty good secretary and an acceptable housewife who cleaned, washed, did groceries, and took care of a baby grandson all at the same time.
But I also learned that here in the Philippines I had a career that I could pick up even after four years of absence. I came home on vacation, had five job offers to choose from. But that brings me to my 40s already. That goes beyond being 30.
You learn a lot of lessons in your 30s.
Institutions — like marriage — might crumble and fall apart. You might fall in and out of love or lust, maybe many times. You may face many questions about your life and how you want to live it. But have the courage to know yourself well and make decisions for yourself.
Your life is really your own. That, to me, is the biggest lesson from my 30s.