Aren’t you glad 30 is not the new 20?
#NOFILTER - Chonx Tibajia (The Philippine Star) - September 3, 2014 - 12:00am

I just recently learned that I am actually a millennial. For some time, I was under the impression that a millennial (male) is a “kid” sporting a full beard, listening to bands with all-bearded members, biking to work in a hoodie, soy latte in hand, while the female millennial is Internet-famous, has perfect hair, a photogenic home, and is writing a novel. I am neither (although there are mornings when I feel like I’ve miraculously grown an abundance of facial hair overnight). After discovering that “millennial” is actually an age group, not a lifestyle, I decided to take this legit quiz titled “How millennial are you?” and scored 96 percent. So there I was, sipping on a soy latte on a rainy July morning, with an important decision to make: do I accept or reject this new information? Because it seemed like I had a choice.

Some time last year, professor and psychologist Meg Jay delivered a TED Talk called “30 is not the new 20.” A huge chunk of it was more preachy than empowering, and seemed to come from a very conservative place — somewhere between Fertility Road and the Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Addressing twentysomethings, she said, “The post-millennial midlife crisis isn’t buying a red sports car. It’s realizing you can’t have that career you now want. It’s realizing you can’t have that child you now want.” It’s a perspective that assumes all young adults should follow a singular path toward real adulthood, but however cold and clinical her delivery was, the gist of it drove home a pretty sound point: “Claim your adulthood. Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do. You’re deciding your life right now.” Or, translated into non-self-help lit language: Don’t go slacking off just because you’re young. Your 20s is not the decade for killing time.

And there’s the answer, maybe.

For a good 20 seconds, it felt good to be Wikipedia-approved and universally considered “young.” It’s an affirmation we all need sometimes, especially on those days when we look in the mirror and discover new wrinkles on our facial terrain, or silver strands among our Chemical Reds. But “30 is not the new 20”? Tell me something I don’t already know. Tell me that my metabolism is not in fact slowing down, or that the latest scientific breakthrough reveals that anti-aging products are actually making us older. Nothing is not the new anything — things are just, plain and simply, what they are. Here’s where Jay’s talk made most sense to me. On the road to claiming adulthood, we might as well also claim our age.

I recently attended an event hosted by Rustan’s The Beauty Source, launching a new anti-aging product, the Black Rose Precious Face Oil of French skincare brand Sisley. It’s always a pleasure to be among ageless beauty editors, their fabulousness proof that all is not downhill and sagging and wrinkled after one’s 20s. I have to admit, in terms of having a sound beauty regimen, I would have benefited from a pep talk from Meg Jay when I was younger. This was where I slacked off.

Unlike the grim TED Talk, however, being at such events is always uplifting. First, there’s the new product: an elixir loaded with active ingredients and nutrients that plumps dehydrated skin, brings back suppleness, and restores radiance — ideal for women (or men) in their 30s or even younger. It fights and soothes dryness, so your makeup goes on smoother and you look like you’ve slept like the baby that you no longer are. It also has an intoxicating scent, too, like a bottled Feist lullaby. And then there’s the company: Gen-Xers who show no indication of having spent a too laid-back youth. They seem to have earned the right to be as relaxed and fun as they appear now. They also don’t look like they need anti-aging products at all — though some of them do reveal beauty regimens that could rival Martha Stewart’s.

Being an adult and getting old are obviously different things. We grow into adulthood in different ways and at our own sacred pace. There’s no rushing it, even if we wanted to. We all get old soon enough, but it doesn’t have to show.

To quote a wise, pop-punk song from the early 2000s, we all look like we feel. So here I am, Sisley’s Black Rose Precious Face Oil on my face, bangs too short for my age, sipping a soy latte from a Harry Potter mug and having Doritos for breakfast, all while meeting my deadline like a responsible grown woman in her 30s. Here’s a new catchphrase: No age is the new age.

If this is adulthood, we’re doing it right.

* * *

Sisley Black Rose Precious Face Oil is available at Rustan’s The Beauty Source.

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