The identity politics of turning 30


Our Account Director goes rogue with his thoughts about the societal pressures of turning 30, and how reaching this milestone has liberated him – in, um, surprising ways…

I am turning thirty this year. It’s a confronting milestone that sends a lot of people into a tailspin. I’ve had friends adopt cats, quit jobs, end relationships and move countries all in the name of their twenties coming to a close. What is it about 30 that can push us off the deep end? I think it all comes back to identity – the pressure to have ‘found yourself’ by the big 3-0.

To me, identity is equally about who you are and who you are not. Am I a spouse, or am I a spinster? Am I a gym junkie, or am I a junk food addict? Am I a corporate drone, or am I a carefree backpacker? Am I a good friend, or do we just HAVE to catch up soon (I’ll text you)?

One of the hardest, yet in many ways most liberating pills to swallow in my twenties was the decision to no longer identify as hot.”

I think by default most people identify as hot, yet so few of us actually are. Our society values being hot above all else, perhaps with the exception of being rich. People forgive dumb, useless, flaky, mean – even annoying – if you’re hot.

The realisation that I wasn’t hot forced me to confront the cold hard truth – if I’m not hot, then what am I? It has forced me to rely on smarts and personality, which is a worry.

But as I live the final months of my twenties, I want to take stock of my identity and enter my thirties with a stronger sense of self.

And in the spirit of identity being equal parts about who you are, and who you are not – here is my list of five things I am choosing to leave in my twenties vs the list of five things I will take with me into my thirties:


1. Judging myself

2. Mourning the loss of a hetero-normative life

3. Sleepovers at friends’ houses

4. Music festivals

5. Cheap spirits


1. Judging others

2. Celebrate the freedom gained through

escaping a hetero-normative life

3. Flash dinners out then going home to my own bed

4. Kylie Minogue concerts

5. Coke Zero