Why I Didn’t Truly Feel Like A ‘Forever Twenty Something’—Until I Turned 30

Way back in the stone ages of 2011, I made a WordPress site while bored at work. Sitting in my cubicle with nothing to do, I messaged back and forth with a friend asking what she thought of different blog titles. We came to the consensus that ‘Forever Twenty Somethings’ was perfect, because at that point in our carefree lives, we felt like we’d be in our twenties forever.

Over the past eight years of running, growing, and eventually neglecting this website, people have echoed the same question to me time and time again: “what are you going to do when you turn thirty?”

I would always respond, “The website is not about literally being in your twenties forever. It’s about feeling young. Age is just a number. This site is for everyone.”

I repeated the above so many times, I eventually started to believe it. However, I didn’t fully buy what I was selling. Inside, I was panicked about one day turning thirty. So panicked in fact, that I stressed myself out to the point of no return about everything. I had built an entire personal brand around being a twenty something. Like everyone else, I wondered would happen to me when I wasn’t in my twenties anymore?

Because of this, I put too much pressure on myself every day. I was always trying to do too much at once—save, spend, write, work, relax, party, diet, eat, work out, clean, shop, travel, spend time with friends, the list goes on—that I never felt like I was doing enough because I didn’t give myself time to be fully immersed in any one single thing. I didn’t give myself time to stop and look at all that I had accomplished. I didn’t give myself room to breathe and smile at all the positivity I was surrounded by in my every day life.

Despite everything I had accomplished in my twenties, I felt average. Even when I eventually achieved my dream of getting a book deal based on this website a few months ago, I felt average. After years of working on this project and often feeling like a failure, I spent about ten minutes crying tears of happiness after the offer came in and then I went back to being hard on myself. “The book will be published when I’m in my thirties—so many people publish books in their thirties, what’s so great about that?” I literally thought this. I’m not joking.

For some reason, I thought that nothing I did after turning thirty would matter and that no one would care. I was under the impression that you could only take risks, make changes, and achieve wild success in your twenties. After that, risk-taking would be too risky. Making changes would be too complicated. Achieving success would only be seen as mediocre. I thought if I was going to make it big, I’d have to make it big in my twenties. If I made it big after that, I assumed my success would just be average.

But as I REALLY neared thirty, things changed. Between the stress of planning a wedding, selling and working on a book, working my full-time job, traveling, and trying to maintain a social life, I realized that even though I technically could do everything (with little-to-no sleep), I didn’t NEED to do everything. If I wanted to, I could stop, breathe, and enjoy life. I didn’t need to spend every second of my free time on side gigs. I didn’t need to go out every weekend. I wasn’t up against a clock—there was no race. After coming to terms with all of this and slowing my life down, I began to see just how much I had accomplished in my twenties. I noticed I had been taking my relationships with other people for granted and not valuing our time spent together as much as I should have. I traveled to Europe and, for the first time since probably third grade, did not go on my computer for two weeks. Instead of worrying about what I had to do, I focused on what I was doing in the moment and started to appreciate the beauty and love around me. Life felt good.

I think I was completely right about ‘Forever Twenty Somethings’ being a state of mind where one feels young and carefree. But because I was too panicked about not accomplishing enough before turning thirty to feel young and carefree during my twenties, I didn’t truly feel like a ‘Forever Twenty Something’ until I was about to turn thirty. And even though I am now officially NOT a twenty something anymore as of today, I still feel this way.

I knew this day would come. I knew thirty would come, and that I would feel sad, and that I would feel average. But I thought I would feel different, and I don’t. I thought I would feel old, and I don’t. I still feel like the same girl who started this website eight years ago. I might not drink like she did or feel the urge to party like she did (I would die), and my dreams may have evolved over time, but we still have the same basic wants, needs, and life goals. And something tells me she would be pretty fucking happy knowing who 30-year-old Sam is today, even though we veered slightly off course from our original plans.

In my heart and in my mind, I will forever be that twenty something girl hustling every day to achieve her dreams—no matter what. And now that I’ve finally learned there’s no rush, I can continue being that person—just a less stressed version who takes time to enjoy life and have fun. After all, I’m a Forever Twenty Something: Someone who still feels young, but is wiser than before. Someone who cares about things when necessary, and gives zero fucks all of the other times. Someone who is busy, but knows when to slow down, say no, and enjoy life. Someone who has dreams, and knows there is no expiration date on going after and achieving them.

Samantha Matt

Hi I’m Sam. I made this website in 2011 and it’s still going. I like pizza, French fries, barre class, spinning, more pizza, more French fries, and clothes. I have a serious shopping problem. Writing is fun. Follow me on the twitter - @samanthamatt1.

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