What It's Like To Hit Your 30s In Malta
And it's basically a second puberty.
Your body’s going through changes. Your hormones are all over the place. You can’t decide whether you’re a man or a boy. Sounds familliar? Well, your 30s are the new puberty years; and here's how to deal with them.
1. Hair related issues
You’ve kept roughly the same amount of hair that you’ve always had. Except now it’s migrated from your head to your back and shoulders. Maltese people are generally a hairy lot. You’d expect that, in your mid-30s, your body hair would have given up, yet it seems to keep wanting to conquer new territories.
That island of coarse hair on your left shoulder wasn’t there two weeks ago… or was it? Time to fish out those waxing strips, or plan your biennial trip to the aesthetic clinic.
2. Body image issues
Remember being 15 and squeezing zits onto your bathroom mirror? Well, that level of proximity has become familiar again. Except now it’s crow’s feet, sagging eyelids and unbelievably long eyebrow hairs.
Oh, and moving away from the mirror will do you no good. A long view will just frame your saggy moobs, greying chest hair and ever-deepening navel. With summer bringing hordes of Scandinavian gods and goddesses to our shores, you cut a shoddy figure when you peel off your sweaty t-shirt at Exiles. I’d say it’s now time to hit the gym, but really it was time to hit the gym a few months (or years) ago. Just face it, you’re on a slow (or maybe not so slow) decline. The true solution? Lower your standards.
You’re a 30-something year old in Malta, so obviously you’re married. Probably to someone you’ve known for more than half your life. But the tattered remains of your youthful looks, coupled with the perceived wisdom and self-assurance of your advancing years sometimes tell you that you should still be on the hunt.
Our advice: ignore. There’s a reason you’ve stuck with your spouse (and they’ve stuck with you)… find it and repeat it to yourself 20 times over whenever that fit jogger on the Sliema front smiles at you. She’s only smiling because you’ve leered at her all the way from Gabbana, anyway.
4. Relationships (alternate version)
The rarest of Maltese beings, a Single 35 Year Old. The married ones (see above) look at you wistfully and envisage a hedonistic life of fast cars, copious alcohol and sordid sexual adventures.
The reality is a second hand MX5 (tal-Gappun), a lonely gin and tonic at one of Hugo’s establishments and an evening furiously swiping right on Tinder, looking for attractive people who are not related to you.
Also, don’t forget the age rule. Half your age plus seven. Anyone younger than that is out of bounds. Trust me, it’s foolproof.
5. Going out
…is shit. Let’s be honest. Think back to the last time you went out alone, met lots of people you wanted to speak to, got merrily tipsy and ended up hooking up with someone attractive. The venue was 8-Pool and you were 17.
It’s all been downhill from there. Your Friday nights are Xarabank and a pulled pork pizza with Diet Coke from Rokna. Paceville is now a red light district, with approximately 476 strip clubs battling for space amidst the hordes of vomiting children, raccoon-eyed Danish girls who’ve lost their friends. If you ever find yourself there, take a moment to reflect on your situation.
You’re in the wrong place. The average age is 15-20 years younger than you. Go to Strait Street or Manoel Island. You’ll only be 10 years over the average age there.
You have them. You have no idea how that happened, but you thought it was the next step and now you haven’t slept for a couple of years, you own no unstained tops and your nights out are dictated by the availability of a 22-year-old part timer who you pay 10 Euro an hour to Whatsapp her boyfriend as your baby screams itself to sleep whilst marinating in its poop.
But you’re happy. Even as you curse the mad moment that made you throw away the Durex, when you’re bouncing a pudgy Mini-You on your knee as it vomits on your shirt, you know you wouldn't have it any other way. Also, questions about baby plans are not acceptable conversation. Many people choose not to have children, and that is fine. Many others would love nothing more than to have them, but are unable to. Rubbing salt into what may be a painful wound is simply not on. Keep your curiosity to yourself.
You’ve been working for over a decade now. (Yes, you’re that old.) This means that you’ve attained a level of financial security you’ve never had before. You probably own a property (well, the bank does) and have developed that most evil of sentiments: ambition.
It’s very easy to descend into a bottomless pit of avarice and aspirations. Become a workaholic and you’re likely to mess up the rest of your life. Your relationships, health and happiness are on the line. Yes, you’ll have lots of Euros, but you won’t have much else. Your 30s are a time to sow some seeds, but also a time to reap some rewards.
It’s likely that by now, you’re good at something. You’ve been doing something or other for quite some time now. Your 30s are when you realize that you’re actually quite good at your job, or that you’re not as crappy a guitar player as you thought you were, or that you can actually run a half marathon. Well, maybe not that. You might do that in 2019. Which is the year you’ll finally achieve a six-pack. And a Masters degree. It’s important to keep looking to the future.
Think about it. You’ve already voted in at least 3 general elections, as well as 3 referenda. You probably remember banging on the side of a truck, wearing a t-shirt given to you by a candidate who you couldn’t vote for, since you were a kannol bla krema. You remember the yellow buses. You even remember the green buses. You remember your dial-up modem screaming at you at 5.55pm (on weekdays) and the sense of ecstasy when you actually managed to get through.
You remember catching a bus to Valletta to catch a bus to Paceville (at 6pm). You remember buying pirate cassettes from the guy next to the imqaret stall at City Gate and buying pirate video games from computer shops at Lm1 per floppy disk. You remember when Whatsapp was a mispronounced Bud advert. That’s all gone. And it will never come back.
Bonus: The Future
And it’s not all bad. Your 30s could well be the best decade of your life… until your 40s come along. You’re still moderately healthy, and in a position to improve things if that isn’t so. You’re still young enough to dream, make plans, change the world and play Pokémon Go. Well, maybe not play Pokémon Go.
You’re old enough to be confident and assertive and mature enough to know what’s important and what’s not. So embrace being 35, embrace the nipple hairs and back pain, the wider waistbands and collars. Accept the fatigue and stress, but enjoy fulfilment and contentedness. Don’t succumb to the lure of short-sleeved regular fit work shirts, regular fast food or a workplace affair. Keep your gym membership and your love life fresh. And think positive: there’s less time to mess things up with every day that passes.