I feel…good. I’ve finished reading 30-Something and Over It: What Happens When You Wake Up and Don’t Want to Go to Work . . . Ever Again* and I’m not over-the-top elated. Just…good.
It is probably the best thing I could feel about a book because “good” is sustainable in the long run.
I’ve had the experience of finishing a self-help/motivational book and feeling totally pumped: I was going to meditate! Give up carbs! Do only the things that I am passionate about! Find wealth!
Sunshine was literally going to radiate from every orifice on my body and my farts were henceforth only ever going to smell like the sweetest pot pourri!
I suspect those are the kind of books that sell well because they convince you that you, yes YOU have the power to overcome impossible odds and do impossible things including feeling impossibly happy. ALL. OF. THE. TIME.
That’s an addictive feeling. I’ve certainly bought into it.
It lasts for maybe a few days after I’ve put the book down and then life returns to its former, “okay” self…which is a long drop from where you were and so it feels more brutal than “okay” should.
This is what makes 30-Something and Over It so great. Not only does its author recognise the cliché of the final “here are the answers” chapter (admittedly, I was eager to read it), but you can practically hear her apologising because “The Answers” aren’t terribly new or revolutionary.
I’ve heard them before. You probably have to. Kasey Edwards had heard them before. It’s just that she had to experience them for herself to know them to be “The Answers”.
So I closed the book/my Kindle app without so much as a flame in my belly, let alone a fire under my ass.
This book doesn’t promise miracles. It doesn’t motivate you to achieve the impossible. It’s just the story of other 30-somethings who for whatever reason had meltdowns of their own, but got over it. Eventually.
From the book:
In consulting, we talk about people needing a compelling reason to change. We use a Bunsen burner analogy, saying that when the flame is burning yellow people aren’t distressed enough to change. We need to wait until the flame turns to blue or white before things really start happening. I needed to be so over being over it and so fucked up before I was able to fight my way out of it.
My problem may have never been feeling “over it”. It might have been part of the problem, but it’s certainly a lot more involved than that.
But man, did I ever hit fucked up. And I know I am fighting my way out of it.
Edwards didn’t experience a quick recovery from her 30-something crisis, nor does she promise anyone else will either. It took her a good year to get through it, which sounds…long.
And a bit dull.
There is no Herculean effort required; just a daily effort. Some days will be joyous, some days will be filled with tears. Kind of like…well, life.
I can do that. Even if it takes more than 12 months, I can realistically commit to fighting – slowly but surely – my way out of my mid-thirties meltdown.
That’s a good feeling.
*This is a referral link. You get to help me by clicking on it then shopping as usual from Amazon. It costs you nothing.