HUMANS 101

How to Be Excited About Growing Older

Being a twirtysomething is a strange but illuminating thing

Ria Tagulinao
Human Parts
Published in
10 min readFeb 25, 2022

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The author on her birthday

I’d been warned as a teenager that growing older was a scam. “Being an adult,” Meredith Grey began, “TOTALLY OVERRATED.” In the first season of Grey’s Anatomy, she told me:

Seriously, don’t be fooled by the hot shoes and great sex and no parents anywhere telling you what to do. Being an adult is responsibility. Responsibility really does suck. Adults have to be places and do things and earn a living and pay the rent.

Today, I am a 28-year-old, a young professional, and a first-time condo dweller. And to Meredith, I say: I fully concur.

But then, last December, something strange happened. A question thrown in a supposedly no big deal kind of way caught me off guard — and made me rethink what it means to get older. A friend asked, “How old do you feel you are?”

“I feel like I’m…”

I struggled to continue, considering how my friends said they felt like they were still in their early twenties.

“33?!” a friend teased.

Well, I was just going to say 30.

But given my friends’ endearing humor, I had no choice. That night, I was thereby decreed five years ahead of my birth age.

But whether it’s 30 or 33, neither sounds… bad. And that’s what bothers me. I suppose you can look at the question this way: Maybe the age you feel to be is more or less the age you wish to be. But it’s not like I look forward to being the main victim of a $60 billion global anti-aging market. And as a woman, I know I have to negotiate virtually everything I want to do in life versus settling down. The thought of being 30 should stress me out. So why doesn’t it?

It was a warm, mellow Sunday afternoon in a cafe called Wildflour Café + Bakery. Walking to the table at the end of the alfresco area, I passed families, middle-aged friends, and couples talking softly — some over wine, others over coffee. I was going to catch up with Ana and Robbie, two amazing thirtysomething ladies who I worked with in my first job.

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Ria Tagulinao
Human Parts

Fun-sized Filipina Writer | To stay up-to-date with my work, here's my Sunday newsletter: http://riatagulinao.substack.com