In what may be the most unique of all of my birthdays, I woke up in hotel room on the morning of my first day as a 30-year-old. I felt no different as I contemplated a future that had yet to be determined.
I wasn't the least bit concerned with cards, phone calls or even the traditional gift basket. In the week before, I had completed a year-long internship where I coexisted with people barely into their 20s.
It's how I spent age 29, which was the most challenging year of my life. Despite still being a 20-something, I was seen as the old guy, with one peer even calling me "Grandpa" at times.
I tried to dispense life advice at times to no avail, as it was made clear that younger counterparts assumed they already had all the answers. It was rather rough at times; although, I now know it was inevitable.
Instead of worrying about my situation, I stayed focused on my next decade and how it would begin.
Where would I be? What would I do? Will I ever stop being a nomad? At the time I lived in a small California college town that I grew to love as much I grew to love California. My intention was to stay, as I felt my nomadic days were over.
I was constantly asked what I would do when I returned to my Midwestern hometown, but I knew it wasn’t my wish to do so. I knew a new life was on the horizon. And, now, here I am, age 30 and starting over in a new city.
As I write this article, I have been 30 for about 90 days, and I have never felt better in my life.
It was at age 30 that the stars aligned; I found a career, myself and new friends, all while starting over in a new city in my beloved California.
I took the time to immerse myself in this new journey, and I thought it was best to share the lessons I have learned so far.
1. You’ll make new friends while friends from the past fade away.
When I said goodbye to my college friends and friends I had from traveling the country, we vowed to stay in touch, but the passage of time slowly fades friendships.
It starts with phone calls, which then morph to either texts or Facebook messages that become more scarce as all parties slowly lose interest. In the end, though, the passage of time brings new friends.
Staring at 30 in a new city will show you this. Yes, it’s painful, but it's an inevitable stage of the journey. New friends will come into your life, and you’ll be thankful they did.
2. You’ll feel wiser and more confident than ever before.
Your past accomplishments will empower you in this stage of your life. The lessons from your 20s will serve you well as you navigate your third decade in a new city.
You’ll look back at your 20-something self and wonder why you acted the way you did, only to see it was for the best in terms of developing maturity.
Cities also tend to house those who know how to survive independently. Coexisting with them will be one of the major highlights in this new world.
3. Starting over in a new city isn’t exclusively for 20-somethings.
We become accustomed to the stories of 20-somethings moving to new cities after college and starting over. Such occurrences are the subjects of novels and sitcoms.
But, what about 30-somethings? The beauty of starting over at 30 in a new city will display the power of reinventing oneself. You’ll feel young again, but all the wiser.
4. Free of roommates, you’ll finally see what it means to be independent.
Your 30s are not often seen as a decade to have roommates, so chances are you’re on your own. Take advantage of it; you can come and go as you please without having someone to answer to.
You can be loud when you return home, turn on the lights without having to worry about waking someone and wake up as early or late as you please.
Watch TV late into the night with no worries of bothering anyone. You can even bring dates over. The possibilities will be endless.
5. You’ll experience nostalgia for your 20s.
Having nostalgia is bound to happen, but never second-guess your life choices when it does. Never ask "what if?" Leave your 20s in the past, as everything happens when it’s supposed to.
Just because you didn’t start over in a new city in your 20s doesn’t mean starting over in one at 30 is meaningless. Instead, there will be a greater sense of appreciation for it.
6. You’ll develop a greater appreciation for family.
Your family played a role in your identity, and while they may not be there physically for you, they’ll always have you in their hearts.
Take the time to reach out to them and tell them how you’re doing because they’ll want to hear about your new adventures.
They brought you into the world, so be sure to stay connected with them.
7. Living in a larger community will enhance your desire to explore.
As humans, it’s in our nature to explore. Even the most stubborn homebody will find it hard to stay inside with new places to explore.
You’ll see and hear about new haunts, such as restaurants, bars, shops and additional places that spark your interest. You won’t have to explore them all in one day; spread it out and enjoy the ride.
8. It’ll still be okay to party and stay out late.
It’s often said that 30 is the new 20. I’ve known this to be true, but practice this responsibly.
Your 30s will bring new responsibilities that will pave the way to your 40s, so be sure to tread carefully, as your body will be getting older, as well.
With a new career and new responsibilities, I often take the time to unwind on the weekends in order to escape into the city nightlife.
9. Finding love will become an adventure.
Yes, dating will happen if you’re still single, so there’s no need for despair. Dating at age 30 in a new city tends to make you interesting to the locals who have lived there for their entire lives.
They’ll want to know your story, how got to where you are and what brought you to their city. They may even make good date recommendations to places you have yet to see.
You’ll have stories to tell them, and while some dates don’t pan out, there will always be more in your search to find your soulmate.
Starting over at age 30 is not easy, but it can be done. You’ll get lonely from the start, and it may get a little confusing, but time and effort will allow you to blend in.
It’s a new story of life that will bring endless chapters filled with intriguing adventures that will make you the person you’re meant to be. I feel stronger and more confident than ever before, as I survived the turbulent 20s and landed in a great destination I’m proud to call home.
As a former nomad, I found a city at the start of a new decade and I chose to stay. I have met new people and made new friends, and I'm grateful for it all.
At the end of the day, whenever I walk up the stairs to my apartment after being out, I feel more at ease with myself.
I now know age is just number that we all must face someday; it’s just up to us how we respond to it. I chose to throw caution into the wind and start anew, and I’ve never been happier.