In a few weeks, I turn the big 3-0. I know. I know. Thee most significant event that has ever happened in the course of human history. Duh, that's why I am blawging about it...
Okay, so yeah, not actually a big deal. It's just that 30 has always been my: I'll have it together by then age. Which has now been (safely) bumped to 100. I'll have it together by 100 and I will enjoy for three blissful seconds before I die.
Anyways, as I approach this vague milestone, I've been reflecting a lot: on expectations, on past iterations of myself, and how many fleece lined sweatpants I will purchase before I've decided I really have enough (3 and counting). You know. The usual stuff.
And I've decided that what they don't necessarily tell you about 30 or maybe what you don't believe about 30 until you get there is...
It feels really, really good.
Identity is such a strange thing: it is as rigid as it is malleable. It's like metal in that way. I've basically been the same person all my life, except for all the fine grooves and dents and alloyed markers that give me shape, ensuring that while compositionally still same, I am really not the same at all.
Every year I feel a little more settled in my frame: I become less selfish, less neurotic, less unsure, less willing to yield to anything that will disrupt the placidity. I love better, I cook better, I write better; I become more articulate, clever, and thoughtful. It's fabulous.
I remember when I was eighteen, sitting at the picnic tables behind my high school, watching the cowl of morning mist over the wooded hills and scribbling what was totally going to my first novel in my green Five Star Notebook. Remember Five Star? #nostalgia.
I remember feeling good: feeling like I knew who I was and what I believed and what I wanted. And I am sure at that moment, compared with the awkwardness and paranoia of adolescence, I did feel good.
But honestly, home girl didn't know from good.
And I certainly didn't know how much better it would get. Because even though I don't "have it together" in the way that I had maybe initially envisioned at 30, I'm getting there. And once more, I don't feel the pressure of not "having it together" like I used to or I am at least discerning enough now not let it consume me like it once did.
At various points in my life 30 was the age when I would have my PhD, have a family, have a book deal, have a record deal, have a house, travel the world and make my mark on it. Arguably, I haven't done any of those things, but I don't feel unaccomplished.
At 30, I've learned to cherish what I actually have in a really profound way. I think less about what I don't have or what I haven't done. I compare myself less to those around me.
Of course, I can't be sure how much of this stems from being 30 and how much of it comes from loss. But I will never really know what it's like to be 30 without that.
You won't hear me echo that refrain that so often punctuates the musings on hardship--I wouldn't have it any other way--because I would give literally give anything to have things be different (at least in that respect). But they can't be, so it's not worth dwelling on.
At 30, it's generally easier to let things go.
And in one last note, as we edge towards Thanksgiving and Christmas, the season that begs us, at least in spirit, to remember what we are grateful for, I wanted to let you all know how much I am grateful for you: for reading, for listening, for offering support and kindness and everything I needed but never wanted to ask for during these last few months.
Thank you. You are so valued (and I am sure, not just by me).
Unless you are Justin Beaver, in which case, no one likes you.
And that's another thing about 30. Your hangovers are harder (so enjoy them while you can, kiddies) and you are much more susceptible to sentimental pap.
Or maybe it's just me.