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The Challenges of Being in Our Thirties

I am one of many people who started learning RC as young persons and are now in our thirties. We stuck together through pioneering the RC young people's liberation movement and developing the young adult liberation movement. Now that we are in our thirties, we're trying to figure out what it means to be this age.

I started learning Co-Counseling when I was fourteen. I am now thirty-seven. When I was twenty-nine, I got scared about turning thirty and started leading workshops for people in their thirties. Here are some of my thoughts about people in their thirties in the United States and why we may want to get together to discharge about our age.


When we were younger, many things united us. Experiencing and fighting the systematic mistreatment of young people kept us together. Most of us did not move to different places; we stayed physically close enough to remain connected without a lot of travel. In spite of the oppressions dividing us, and the heaviness of our distresses, a lot of us were still spunky, playful, and willing to trust other people. Through Re-evaluation Counseling workshops we found a way to stay close and keep ourselves open to each other. Now that we are adults, we have a harder time staying close. Oppressions such as racism, classism, and sexism divide us more sharply than before. It's harder to trust other people. We are also busy, busy, busy. We have families and jobs and are struggling to stay human in an irrational society. It's hard for adults to stay connected, but underneath our mistrust and busyness we yearn to be close.


As people in our thirties we share specific struggles. We are trying to figure out how to have good relationships. Many of us are parents and want to do a good job with our children. Our own parents are aging, and we have to deal with their oppression as older people. We are aging -- check out those lovely wrinkles when we smile. Those of us who have some money are learning about owning property and other material concerns. No matter what our class is, we are fighting every day with a class system that forces us to put work before our human relationships.

Many of us feel like our struggles, for example, with family, work, closeness, and health, are our individual problems. It breaks our isolation to get together with peers to counsel and discharge about them.


Those of us in our thirties in the United States have a unique common experience: we were born in the industrial age and came into adulthood in the computer age. This distinguishes us from people only ten years younger.


All adults need to face the fact that we are adults. As young adults, we could somtimes avoid this by focusing only on the "young" part of that identity. Once in our thirties we can no longer avoid facing it. Even if we feel young, we are no longer in the same category as young people. In fact, we are in oppressor roles with regard to young people. The sooner we discharge on being adults, the sooner we will be good allies in the fight to end young people's oppression.

We also have to face that we are fully integrated into the class system. When we were younger, we could talk about "the system" and the people who ran it and not feel we were responsible for keeping that system going. As adults we are the ones running the system, and we take the full brunt of it as adult workers.


Those of us involved in the RC young adults' movement in our twenties need an organized group to go to when we turn thirty. We built a base with our young adult peers, then abruptly it was gone. We need to make sure we discharge as fully as possible about turning thirty. This seems to be an age, especially in mainstream United States culture, when a load of feelings come up and are ripe for discharge. We need good counseling available when these feelings come up and peers with whom to discharge.

Jevera Temsky
Washington, D.C., USA


Last modified: 2020-07-02 14:27:35+00