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The Age-30 Transition

Woman dizzy from the large number of options

Credit: alphaspirit / Shutterstock

Prince Harry, His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales, announced recently he will leave the British army after serving for 10 years, a period that included being on the front line in Afghanistan.

The 30-year-old said that it had been a “really tough decision” to end his military service in June, but added that he was looking forward to the next chapter in his life, the AFP reported.

Prince Harry may be experiencing the Age-30 Transition. During this transition, it’s normal to review past decisions and reassess personal and career goals.

My research, described in Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, shows many people between 27 and 33 question earlier decisions. They think they would like to explore other needs and interests. Now, new choices must be made and commitments altered or deepened in most life components.

As you experience this transition, the desire to try new things may take precedence over security needs. Choices made in your late teens or early 20s, that were appropriate at the time, may now feel unsuitable. Your dissatisfaction may make itself felt suddenly, emphatically, sometimes precipitated by an external event like a job loss. Often, however, the need to change begins slowly, with a vague but persistent sense of wanting to do and be more!

Rick, 28, a computer hardware specialist, chose this field because the “money was good.” Now he “wants to do something that is more “meaningful.” Rick is also discovering a change in how he looks at time. He is aware that life is finite, but he has time to do it all!

Men may feel anxious about making it through this transition, but women face a more turbulent time. The “biological clock” increases the pressure they face about having children. Barbara, a 30 year old engineer on work-related stress leave, is questioning her marriage and lifestyle.

The reappraisal at Age-30 causes many to shift values, priorities, and goals. Individuals who address transition issues become more self-aware, and place higher value on quality of life. Job satisfaction becomes more important than climbing a corporate ladder or earning higher wages. The equilibrium regained by reaching the other side of 30 enables people to acknowledge parts of themselves not included in earlier choices.

Biographies of individuals who have made contributions to humankind, demonstrate that they appeared to have experienced this transition. Jesus of Nazareth was 30 when he was baptized, and began his ministry.

Transitions and change are normal. Although we have our own rhythms of change, growing adults alternate between transitional and developmental periods throughout life. Transitions, which generally begin during late adolescence and occur every decade following are times for questioning who we are and where we want to go. Developmental periods follow transitions and involve commitments to achieve modified goals.

Contemporary career development is a continuing quest to improve the fit between your developing career and evolving identity. Understanding the Age-30 and other transitions and addressing needed issues can help you move forward. Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, offers inspiration, insight, and practical strategies to take charge of life.

Dr. Carole Kanchier, career and personal growth expert, is author of the award-winning, groundbreaking book, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life. A registered psychologist, coach, speaker, and columnist, Carole Kanchier practices in Calgary:


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