Making It – Ages 30 – 38

In your thirties, you tell yourself that you are still in your twenties. Many in their forties tell themselves the same lie, until a moment like this and suddenly you see yourself clearly.


This week she turned 32, really the perfect age — not too young, not too old and about the same age I was when we moved to Los Angeles 25 years ago, two kids in tow.


With the help of our knowledge bank, you can choose for variations in your new neighborhood by:

But to zero in on the best place for you you’ll have to visit and schedule time to explore potential new homes in a region.

Oh, darn!

Adult Life Stages

Part One:  She’s Leaving Home, Not Living Alone (Buy Buy)

Part Two:  Failing at Growing Up

Part Three:  Love, Marriage, Baby Carriage, or …

Part Four:  Crisis and Pivots for 28 -32 Year Olds

Most of us become more serious about what lies ahead in our thirties having navigated through the passage at end of our twenties .

John Hodgman. In your twenties you tell yourself the lie that you are unusual, unprecedented, and interesting.

You do this largely by purchasing things or stealing things.

You adorn yourself with songs and clothes and borrowed ideas and poses.

In your thirties, you tell yourself that you are still in your twenties.

Many in their forties tell themselves the same lie, until a moment like this and suddenly you see yourself clearly.” pg 183

Gail Sheehy described what usually unfolds in our lives roughly between the ages of 30-38 as rooting and extending.

Sheehy:  “People buy houses and become very earnest about climbing career ladders.

Men, in particular, concern themselves with “making it.”

A major part of the settling process involves converting the dream into concrete goals.

For many men, the early 30s is the blue-suit period.

They set a timetable for fulfilling their goals.

It is of consuming importance to become acknowledged as a junior member of their occupational tribe.

Men who continue to focus narrowly their external goals can be, more than at any other time in their lives, shallow and boring.

My have mastered early adult tensions, or still working on them.”

Chris Erskine. This week she turned 32, really the perfect age — not too young, not too old and about the same age I was when we moved to Los Angeles 25 years ago, two kids in tow.

We were lured here by the great schools, easy parking and the generosity of spirit.

From all accounts, L.A. offered the kind of warm, small-town vibe young parents are always seeking.

Twenty-five years later, our house — no one’s idea of a mansion — is reportedly worth well over $1 million, and yet we still have no money.

It’s like Rapunzel having all that hair and nothing to comb it with. It’d be like ultra-smiley Anna Kendrick not having any teeth.”

In Erik Erikson’s theory, you’ll recall, “rooting and extenders” embark on full adulthood near the end of his early adulthood .

Approximate Age: Early adulthood ( 20 – 39)

Significant Relationship: Friends, partners

Existential Question:  Can I love

Examples: Romantic relationships

Psychosocial Crisis: Intimacy vs. Isolation

Virtues: Love

Hodgman. “Or let’s say later you move to Park Slope, Brooklyn, in your late thirties because you suddenly, impossibly, have some money coming in from television.

You are able to actually buy an apartment, and you think, this is it: a mortgage, real estate taxes, a sleepy neighborhood full of strollers and unexciting restaurants.  

You have grown up.

But it turns out all of Brooklyn is suddenly alive with a not-growing-up renaissance.“pg. 113-114

You can walk for the first time to the newest bars to hear comedy and new music.

You are surrounded by people younger than you whose sense of style is to look like you.

Young men grow dad beards and cultivate pallor and belly chub.”  pg. 114


What once felt like one uniform generation at a point in time, now segments again into eight community lifestyles.

And clustered into the upper third of lifestyles based on income and status Wealthy Influentials, Wireless Resorters and Permanent Temporaries.

Southwest United States – Wikitravel

They’ve taken making it seriously while living in a sample of communities across the western region of the United States.

  • California: Irvine, Mission Viejo and Westwood
  • Colorado: Boulder and Creede
  • Arizona: Scottsdale
  • New Mexico: Santa Fe


Lifestyle Profiles: Midlife Success

Ages: 30-44

Life Stages: Singles and Couples

Community Neighbors:

Wealthy Influentials

03Y1S1, Movers & Shakers – WIAE Affluently Elite (Scottsdale, AZ)

12Y1C1, Brite Lites Lil City – WIDM Digitally Mobiles (Santa Fe, NM)

19Y1S2, Home Sweet Home – WIES Exurb Society (Irvine, CA)

08Y1S2, Executive Suites – WIES Exurb Society (Mission Viejo, CA)

Community Neighbors:

Wireless Resorters

25Y1T1, Country Casuals – WRPR Premier Resorts (Westwood, CA)

11Y1T1, God’s Country – WRMR Maturing Resorts (Boulder, CO)

37Y1T2, Mayberry-ville – WRMR Maturing Resorts (Creede, CO)

Community Neighbors:

Permanent Temporaries

30Y1S3, Suburban Sprawl – PTIMM Interim Middle Managers

Erskine. “It sure beats some of the things I was doing at 33: a new parent changing diapers in New Orleans; lying back on some ungodly uncomfortable Ikea couch at 8 p.m. on a Saturday night just whipped and wondering how to get the dishes done.

Goin’ Coastal on PCH

Or realizing Posh was pregnant — again?! — even as the MasterCard interest was eating up our paychecks.

“To California, we’ll go!” I insisted, and that pretty much set us on the downward spiral we’re still experiencing today.”

Fast forward to an almost empty-nest household when the first wave of kids, two girls and a boy, grew up way too fast and each beginning to make it.

For Erskine a teenager fills their void at least partially.

Erskine. With each new day, a fifth-grader fills more of the world.

He’ll add muscles between breakfast and lunch.

I see him now stretched out on the couch he outgrew this afternoon, taller than he was five breaths before.

For years, the Little Guy has been a main player in the column, replacing his older brother, the Boy, who sort of aged out of that slapstick suburban world.”

“On the couch, the little guy is tumbling around before school, snow-plowing the pillows in the way that drives his mother nuts.

I look over and realize: “That’s what’s really off around here: We now have an only child.”

Over the years, my wife and I have had every form of family.

We started out with two kids.

One girl, one boy, a princess and a prince.

Nice and comfortable, two kids.”

More on the trials and tribulations of the adult world.

And, the next transition encountered when you realize your life may actually be half over.

Part Six: Authenticity Crisis for 35 – 45 Year Olds

Crisis and Pivots for 28 -32 Year Olds

The story of your life may change dramatically, tragically, or so quietly you don’t ever notice. It’s never any fun, but it can’t be avoided.

The work involves great change, turmoil, and often a crisis — a simultaneous feeling of rock bottom and the urge to bust out.


With the help of our knowledge bank, you can choose for variations in your new neighborhood by:

But to zero in on the best place for you you’ll have to visit and schedule time to explore potential new homes in a region.

Oh, darn!

Adult Life Stages

Part One:  She’s Leaving Home, Not Living Alone (Buy Buy)

Part Two:  Failing at Growing Up

Part Three: Love, Marriage, Baby Carriage, or …

Gail Sheehy made the “Catch 30s” transitional stage popular .

Basically,  it’s a period of turmoil and transformation occurring at roughly the halfway mark during Erik Erikson’s Early Adulthood life stage which ranges  from ages 20 to 39.

You’ll recall that Early Adulthood is a time of dating, marriage, family and friendships.

Erikson said by successfully forming loving relationships with other people, individuals are able to experience love and intimacy.

Those who fail to form lasting relationships may feel isolated and alone.

Sheehy described the Catch 30s transition as a time when 20-somethings feel narrow and restricted.

From Teenager to Early Adult

You know you experience it when you realize it is time for something else.

It’s a time for revisiting and sometimes dramatically tearing up choices you made during your traditional school-to-work transition.

A time when you trade in the restricting voices of teachers and parents for bosses and co-workers.

And a time when a new vitality springs from within us them as you approach age 30.


John Hodgman. There are transitions in life whether we want them or not.

John Hodgman’s Humorous Take On His 20s, 30s and 40s

You get older.

You lose jobs and loves and people.

The story of your life may change dramatically, tragically, or so quietly you don’t ever notice.

It’s never any fun, but it can’t be avoided.

Sometimes you just have to walk into the cold dark water of the unfamiliar and suffer for a while.” pg. 238 – 239.


Life happens to you.

Early adults experience the Catch 30 transition usually between ages 28 to 32 when they suddenly realize they’ll no longer be 20 years old.

They’re getting older.

For most, it is the first of other life’s transitions to come.

Transitions usually bookend the entrance to or the exit from a developmental life stage.

As you approach your 30-somethings during this transition your first impulse may be to blame others.

For what feels like relentless turmoil.


Often the restrictions boil down to career and personal choices of the twenties.

They may have been choices perfectly suited to that stage, but now the fit feels different.

No one loves change thrust upon them at any age.

Especially triggered by a significant disaster that forces those changes in your life.

Like the loss of your mother.

Hodgman. “What more is there to say than it was traumatic, a moment that breaks your life in half?

That you never heal from it, and it blankets your life in sadness and fear forever?” pg 225

“I’m a P.C”, John Hodgman

I was twenty-nine when she died.

She was fifty-eight.

I had been married to my wife less than a year, but we had been together already for ten.

In many way she had become my mom’s daughter too.” pg 225

“A month later my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and eight months later she died.

My father attempted to go to the house a few times but found it emotionally unbearable, and so he offered it to us for a dollar.

At the time I was a freelance writer for magazines, and I think he presumed – reasonably – that this would be my one chance to ever have an asset in my life.

He asked if we could keep up with the taxes and expenses, and the answer to that was no.

But I did have a dollar, and I missed my mom, so I took it.” pg 225

Navigating through this transition means concentrating on a ourselves.

Reflecting upon what is important and what no longer is.

Making new or renewed choices.

Like each generation before them, millennials are poised to pass through the early years of adulthood almost in lockstep over the next two decades.

And, given we live in a new era those new or renewed choices look different from the outside.

Especially as they emerge.

Especially to empty nest parents.

Chris Erskine. “The lovely and patient older daughter now makes more money than I do yet seems to lead a life of semi-retirement.

Chris Erskine at the Los Angeles Times

I know she works very hard, but her Snapchat account is brimming with photos of boiled crabs and smiling boyfriends.

Evidently, she is dating a tray of frozen margaritas.

She lives like the characters in a Kristen Wiig movie, except her friends have sunburns, like real people, and their smiles are more authentic.

As you can see, this roommate situation is working out pretty well.

No one has stolen anyone’s bank card, and there have been no attempted murders over who ate the last yogurt.

To be fair, their relationship benefits from the fact the younger daughter spends about half her nights back at our place (mostly because she misses her dad so much).

Over time each generation further segments into single, couple or family lifestyles.

This begins to get complicated, but stay with me.

Within the Claritas psychographic and demographic segmentation the Catch 30s enter a 30-year age range, 25-54.

They enter Erikson’s Early Adulthood ( ages 20 – 39)  and grow into Full Adulthood (ages 40 – 64).

Why is this important?

We use Claritas lifestyle segmentation profiles to evaluate best places for relocation to more authentic, quality-of-life communities.

And, if your community already includes the following profiles, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s going on in your neighbors’ lives.

Here come further complications.

The lifestyles.

Fourteen, if you are keeping track.

  • Seven mainstream single lifestyles.
  • A single couple lifestyle.
  • And six mainstream family lifestyles.

Lifestyle Profiles: 25-54

Mainstream Singles, Couples and Mainstream Families: Wealthy Influentials, Wireless Resorters, High Country Eagles and Permanent Temporaries.

Mainstream Singles

What happens when single Birds-of-a-Feather find each other?

Chris Erskine.  She is turning 31 and is full of blarney, with a flash of summer lightning in the eyes.

On the way to her birthday bash, she notes that Santa Monica is a dangerous mix of tourists and locals — too slow and too fast — making driving here pretty frustrating.

“But they bring the money in,” she says of the tourists, as if they are her city’s lifeblood, as if Santa Monica were a depressed Third World port sleepily awaiting the next cruise ship.

My daughter then asks me if Pabst is acceptable for her bash at the beach, making me secretly proud, for I always feared no one in the family shared my refined tastes.”

Where will you find other single Birds-of-a-Feather in Arizona, California, Colorado and Texas neighborhoods?

Consider these towns and seven lifestyle profiles for additions to your bucket list:

Wealthy Influentials

04Y2U1, Young Digerati –  WIPL Portfolio Locals (Chandler, AZ)

16Y2U1, Bohemian Mix – WIPL Portfolio Locals (Huntington Beach, CA)

31Y2U2, Urban Achievers – WIPL Portfolio Locals (Tempe, AZ)

Wireless Resorters

23Y2T2, Greenbelt Sports – WRMR Maturing Resorts (Aspen, CO)

High Country Eagles

24Y2C2, Up-and-Comers – HCESC Satellite City-zens (Napa, CA)

35Y2C2, Boomtown Singles – HCESC Satellite City-zens (San Marcos, TX)

Permanent Temporaries

22Y2S3, Young Influentials – PTIMM Interim Middle Managers (Tempe, AZ)


Hodgman. “We were in our early thirties when we took on our house in rural western Massachusetts.

We were grown-ups, but only theoretically.” pg. 113

If instead John chose coupling Birds-of-a-Feather in California’s Sierra Mountain region he might enjoy the Lake Tahoe region.

Wireless Resorters

37Y1T2, Mayberry-ville – WRMR Maturing Resorts (Truckee, CA)

And let’s turn to what life’s like for six mainstream family lifestyles.

Mainstream Families

Chris Erskine. “Once you let them out of the cage like that, you never really get them back in that same cozy way.

But just when you come to terms with the change and adjust to a less kid-centric life, they are back.

Babies, Babies, Babies …

Suddenly, the nest is no longer empty.

My life was once a convention of crying babies.

Now, 25 years later, my life is a convention of adult children living back home — of hangovers and job woes, of sleeping too late on Saturday mornings (them, not me).

There is almost a poetry to the parental plight.

Six potential bucket list neighborhoods with Mainstream Birds-of-a-Feather Families in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Texas and Utah

Wealthy Influentials

54F3U2, Multi-Culti Mosaic – WIPL Portfolio Locals (Lakewood, CO)

Wireless Resorters

32F3T2, New Homesteaders – WRMR Maturing Resorts (New Braunfels, TX)

33F3T2, Big Sky Families – WRMR Maturing Resorts (Park City, UT)

High Country Eagles

34F3C2, White Picket Fences – HCESC Satellite City-zens (Aurora, CO)

50F3T3, Kid Country, USA – HCERC  Rural Cowboy (Coeur d’Alene, ID)

51F3T3 Shotguns & Pickups – HCERC  Rural Cowboy (Surprise, AZ)

Whether you’re single, living as a couple or already begun your family what you have in common with each other at the Catch 30 transition is a growing dissatisfaction.

Choices perfectly suited to your 20s now the don’t fit as well.

Something feels different.

Some inner aspect that was left out is striving to be taken into account.

Until, like Jon Hodgman you find the motivation to pursue new competencies.

Hodgman. “I had been finishing my seventh year working at a literary agency.

I loved my colleagues and my clients.

I loved an industry that encouraged long lunches and still closed early on Fridays once the summer started sneaking up.” pg 225

Clearly he was unhappy.

Hodgman. “I wanted to be a writer, and that meant I could not be an agent in good faith and compete with my own clients.

Oh, I also was unhappy because my mom was dying.

So one Friday I left work and I did not go back.

I went home to help my father take care of her.”  pg 225

Important new choices must be made, and commitments altered or deepened.

Sheehy. “The work involves great change, turmoil, and often a crisis — a simultaneous feeling of rock bottom and the urge to bust out.

Gail Sheehy’s Passages

One common response is the tearing up of the life we spent most of the 20s putting together.

It may mean striking out on a secondary road toward a new vision or converting a dream of “running for President” into a more realistic goal.

Consumed with the work of making personal critical life-steering decisions, the person demonstrates the essential shift at their age: an absolute requirement to be more self-concerned.”


John Hodgman returned to New York to his friends and colleagues and abruptly quit his job.

Hodgman. “I was back home in Massachusetts within a week.

A friend at a magazine assigned me to write an article about cheese for money.

I became a professional writer.

I spent the summer there with my dad and my wife.

I did not cry until the summer was over.

We went back to New York, and I started a new life.” pg 228

Part Five:  Making It – Ages 30 – 38