So, I turned 30 recently, and now that I am on the other side, I can firstly confirm that it was a survivable experience.
Secondly, being your standard navel-gazing author, I thought I’d write about what turning 30 meant to me. But as I started writing it, I realised how many parallels there are between the idea of “becoming an adult” (which used to be ascribed to turning 18) and what our culture now expects from us when we hit the big 3-0.
So I pitched the article idea to an editor, and my article has now been published today at Ten Daily.
Have a read here if you’re interested.
I’d really love to hear from readers on this one. Did you feel like a ‘real’ grown up when you turned 18, or 21? Or was it closer to when you reached 30?
Did your Saturn Return (from the ages of 27-31) have anything to do with it? My own Saturn Return (not that I believe in astrology, but just go with it …) played a major role and was a pivotal point for me.
I have to say I’ve grown accustomed to being 30 now – and it actually makes me feel more confident and more like a grown man than I’ve ever felt before.
Here’s to the thirties. 🙂
As a teenager I was so ashamed of reading this book, I hid it with my porn stash.
Whoa, did this book have an incredible impact on me as a kid.
When you’re a teenage boy, there are so many things you want to ask about being a bloke.
You want to ask your dad, your brothers, your cousins, even your mates – but you don’t, because this is a verboten topic. You’re expected to know how to become a man without ever talking about it – because to talk about being a man means you must still be a boy, and the last thing a teenage boy wants to be called is a boy and not a man.
I remember finding Secret Men’s Business in the town library and being fascinated that a man had actually sat down and written all of this for us boys to just pick up and learn what we wanted to know. What an absolute champion. Marsden’s book tackled a wide range of topics, from the emotional to the sexual and highly visceral – the stuff you really couldn’t talk about with your dad. It was a thrilling, captivating read and it hit the mark.
My most vivid memory of the book is of hiding it. I don’t think my parents or anyone else knew I was reading it. I only read it in bed, after everyone in the house was asleep. It was hidden in a secret place in my bedroom. In fact, I hid it where I hid my porn magazines, and I would have probably had the same reaction if either item had been unwittingly found. There was a shame that came with reading this – because I felt like I should have already known it all: that manly wisdom should arrive via osmosis or telepathy, not from a book.
But despite that, I was still compelled to read this book. I had to know all the secret stuff about being a man – the stuff that nobody talked about. This book had it all. And I felt better once I’d finished it. I was less insecure; more confident. This book helped shape me as a man. It also helped shape me as a writer. I wanted to incorporate some of these themes, some of this masculine wisdom, some of this unabashed honesty, into my fiction – if I could find a way to do it well, of course.
John Marsden found a niche with this excellent book, and I’m so glad, because it changed my life for the better.