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Starting my New Decade

I’m living the last days of my twenties and I’m trying to stay careless about my final steps towards actually becoming an adult. A review. 

I remember that I almost had a panic attack the day before I turned 20 years old. I had never cared about the age of others, but for some reason, I didn’t feel ready to let my teenage years go. Looking back now, I truly don’t know why, considering how shitty they’ve been.

Previously on: My life

I went through many ups and downs the past ten years. I’ve fallen in love three times and enjoyed each a ton. I’ve traveled through four continents, started and finished studying psychology and design, started my freelance business… this article would be too long and too narcissistic if I named everything that has happened.

I’ve entered my 20s a completely different person than I am now. I didn’t have major life-changing successes but a ton of small to medium ones and I am generally happy with where I’m headed. Most of the anxieties and insecurities that challenged me when I was 19 are ghosts from the past. However, I often feel insecure about myself and what I am doing with my life. I feel the need to overcompensate and prove myself instead of being able to just enjoy the ride.

I am a complex person

Which is a nice way of saying that I am complicated. I am deep and dark – sometimes too much – and I ride the highs and lows of my life. I am quite an emotional person and sometimes I wish I could be simpler and more rational. But I know when the light reflects my surface just right, you can have a great time with me. Even if there’s still a long way to go, I am more confident now than I have been at any other age.

Looking forward

I am writing this article not to brag about how great my life is. I wanna be a bit realistic here and say that it’s not always great. In the past year especially I have faced depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts. There were no major catalysts for that, I was just generally not happy – and didn’t have any distractions from my ever-turning thought spirals.

Even though my mood tends to be a bit unstable, I know that I don’t want to take anti-depressants again. So, I have to remind myself that feeling these strong emotions and not dissolving them with a pill or a drink is also somewhat a choice.* I need to keep in mind that nothing in life is stable. Everything evolves, gets better, gets worse and better again.

*I have absolutely nothing against taking psychopharmaceuticals or other medics - I do too - I just personally haven't had the best experiences with SSRIs but everybody is different and I support anybody taking them 100%.

The Fear of Turning 30

I don’t know where the cliché comes from that you have to have a crisis when you turn 30. Everyone I know didn’t change their lives around that age and I don’t plan on doing that either. However, I do have the tendency of being a bit depressed on the day before my birthday. It reminds me of bad experiences from the past as well as the fact that I am running out of the currency of youth.

But, on a more positive note, I am certain that turning 30 will not change my fundamental being and turn me into a 9-to-5 office worker dreaming of a house with kids and a dog. (Well, the dog I do want.) I have my own private dreams but they don’t evolve around typical life goals.

I don’t know what society expects of you when you’re turning 30 but rather than thinking about growing up and becoming a serious adult, I wanna define this decade myself. I will only live once – at least with this body and mind – and what I wanna achieve most is to live authentically and unapologetically.

I know that this article doesn’t make for a crazy exciting blog post… but maybe getting older now is simply a more quiet process than it used to be. Let’s find out.

 

BenLeander

 

 

Suggested further reading:

To my former Bullies: An open Letter

Compulsive nonconformist who left the 9-to-5 world after studying psychology and has since then devoted himself to design and writing on a freelance basis. Has at least four different kinds of chips at home at any given time.

Comments

  • 24. June 2021
    reply

    Happy birthday, Ben! I can appreciate your thoughtfulness around this milestone!
    The guy I’ve been “seeing” for the last 6+ months just endured his last weekend. I was hit by how much less pressure he felt versus the recollection of my own. I thought I needed to be in a stable relationship, on an upward career trajectory and have bought my first house – which came at 30y 5m.
    He thought “It feels weird being 30 now”…
    Either side of that landmark attitude you sit on, you both successfully survived your third decade, so that’s a thing. Bring on decade number four!

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