On the eve of my 30th Birthday

My oh my.  How time flies.

So 30, the big 3-0, is just around the corner.  Looking me in the eye.  Staring me in the face.  Apparently turning 30 is kind of a big deal.  I suppose it is.  I mean, isn’t this where you stop being a child and start being a grown-up?

Ha.  Haha.  Hahahahahahaha.

As the youngest child – having four much much older sisters who have all been married and had kids for years now, and me still unmarried, and in school (unemployed?), I feel as much like an adult as I have over the last 10 or so years.  That is – not really at all.

I mean, isn’t 30 the moment where women freak out and start counting their eggs and panicking over being on the shelf and lacking a big diamond?  I guess that’s not really me.

Right now, I can’t really care about life milestones and what I may or may not have achieved that you are “supposed” to by the time you hit 30 (especially as a midwesterner – c’mon if you are in MN and reading this right now, you know what I am talking about).  I have veered so far off the course at this point…  I don’t know where I’m even going with that analogy!

Recently I was having a chat with D, about finishing up our PhDs and what sort of jobs we might end up with (and equally as important – where).  I told him I tried to envision myself in 5 years time in order to help me determine what type of job I want (industry vs. academia and so forth).  You know, asking myself where do I want to be at 35?

[Preparing myself for backlash] I am not convinced that I want to live in the USA.  I mean, I am open to the idea.  In fact, I frequently find myself daydreaming about moving back to the US – how exciting it would be to pack up and move and live somewhere new again (can you tell that I thrive on general chaos?  No boredom for this girl!).  Heck, it’s as likely as not that I will have to move back to the USA if that is the only place I can get a job, etc. etc.  But once you become an ex-pat – enjoying 4 weeks paid annual leave, free healthcare, paid maternity/parental leave, government subsidized childcare (and when I say subsidized, I mean 20 hours free/week here in NZ) [not that I have enjoyed any of those last things as I don’t have any kids, but I know they exist]…  It’s really hard to convince yourself to go back.  Like, really really hard.  Yes, you make more money in the USA [unless you accept a postdoc, but they are so competitive and pay so poorly there is no way I would do a postdoc in the US, it would definitely be industry for me].  But you would have to make a lot more money in order to pay for – well, basic health care.  Any “extra” money you might make in the USA is just going to pay for all those services and benefits that are free in a country like NZ or Australia.  And I have a very high desire to travel.  The USA is so close to everything (when I say everything, I mean Europe) and flights are so damn cheap.

But Americans rarely travel [internationally] as much as kiwis.  Why?  Annual leave.  They have less of it, and often aren’t allowed to take it in big chunks or all at once.  So yes, it might cost those of us living in the land of the long white cloud 4 x as much to go to Europe (or more – that is honestly just a rough estimate on my part)…  But we get twice as much time off so we can actually take some long trips.  Conversely, the USA is a big place – you could go to NY or California or well – anywhere – for a few days by just a short flight.  I mean heck, from Dunedin it takes an entire day just to get to Australia (yes, it really is that ridiculous.  We have to drive to Christchurch to get flights to Melbourne).

However, obviously, my family and many friends are in MN.  This is a huge draw.  Like, huge huge.  And D wants to live overseas as well – he’s never spent much time outside of NZ.  And he would love America.  He thinks America is insane, but he would still love it.

*Sigh*

So where exactly will I be in 5 years (or more immediately, where will I be in October which is apparently when my next visa is set to expire)?  Your guess is as good as mine.  I honestly don’t have a clue.  I just need to finish this PhD already so I can move on with my life and try and achieve a few of those things that at least 80% of my peers have (marriage, job, house, pet, baby, furniture, new car [actually, I don’t want one of those as I think they are ridiculous waste of money, also conspicuous consumption, and, in the words of Carrie Bradshaw “I like my money where I can see it – hanging in my closet”] , etc.  you know, grown up stuff).

Mostly I’d like a job where I can afford many fabulous pairs of shoes.  And wear them to interesting, foreign, exotic, far away places.

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12 thoughts on “On the eve of my 30th Birthday

  1. Excuse me? “Much much older?” Did you HAVE to include the second “much?”

    Hahahahaha! Had to razz you about that. But I do now feel like I should be, oh, like 25 years older than you. 55 or so … white haired, a grandparent by now at LEAST …

    OK enough razzing. And yes, vacation time stinks in the US but if you land a great job you can negotiate for more time! I think the biggest issue is that most Americans don’t use the time they DO get–I believe it’s something like 30% of American workers don’t even use all of their vacation time. Now THAT is sad. And it probably makes employers think that they are offering plenty of vacation time if people aren’t even taking advantage of what they’re currently given. (Sigh.) But our worker bee culture is a whole ‘nother issue — like people are worried they’re risking their job stability if they dare be gone for any length of time. OK but anyway, love you and adore you and remember that if you live in the US that means things like … snow shoeing & cross-country skiing in the winter, lazy beach days in the summer, seeing your nieces and nephews grow up, having family close by when you need them. 🙂 Plus you can help be a voice of change here besides!! LOVE You and miss you!!!

    • LOL. Yes, much MUCH older!

      Yes I was wondering if you can negotiate for more leave! And it is very sad that people think if they use their vacation time they will be fired. : (

  2. I like it. I think the important thing is to think about your goals and what you want to achieve with your life. You don’t need to hold yourself to anyone’s standards but your own! You know that my vote would be that you come back to the US… 🙂 but only because that would mean I might get to see you more often, even if you are in CA or NY. Some of those “free” benefits you speak of are paid for in other ways (taxes!), but I’m right with you on the maternity leave and vacation standards. Anyway, I have every confidence that wherever you end up you will be successful. There are pros and cons to every situation. Also, I don’t think anyone actually feels like a grown-up. Even your really really old sisters ;-). Oh, by the way, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    • Yes the benefits paid for here are paid in taxes, but the taxes are not that much more expensive apart from GST. 😀

      And thank you for the birthday wishes!

  3. Haha.. ahh yes. It’s that time. Well, all I can say is that “everything is going to be OK, kid.” To me, 30 is the new 20. You’re only as old as you feel and honestly, you look 19, anyway. Hehe. ❤

    – Anna

    • They are the best goals to have, are they not?! Ok, I lie. I have to finish my thesis. But apart from that, I’m pretty sure that shoes and travel covers all the bases.

  4. Happy (late birthday!) I trust your survived? 😀
    I am facing the “big” 3-0 in January…it’s weird, because in a lot of ways I still feel like a ten year old who just happens to be able to drive and pay bills. Every once in a while I have a reality check and I’m questioning if I’m even close to being where I thought I would be at 29, but life’s a journey, I just happen to like a lot of detours 😉
    Anywho, I’m giving you an “amen” on your last sentence. Travel and fab shoes? Um, YES

    • Yes it’s amazing how I don’t feel any different at 30 than I did at say 25 or 23! I suppose I’m a bit more experienced and WAY more mature though now. Haha. Actually, I think I am a lot more adventurous in my advanced age.

      In the meantime, enjoy the last year of your 20s! : D And just think, you can celebrate your year of torture and the big 3-0 with a big ol’ shopping spree (save up for Modcloth’s cabin fever sale. For real. January. Amazing.).

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