A very significant birthday is approaching. In June, I’ll be 30.
Let that sink in...
Man, I don’t know why 30 freaks me out so much. I just remember when my brother turned 30… I thought “Wow… he’s so old. That’s so sad. He’ll never have fun anymore!” How funny! Now, here I sit, staring down the barrel of the 30 year old gun.
My cousin and I are six months apart and he turned 30 on January 2. My aunt had a party for him and I was at that shin-dig when it hit me – in half a year, I’ll have reached my “scary” age. Why is 30 so scary, though? I mean, my cousin wasn’t afraid to turn 30. But he’s a guy... and no matter what anyone says, I’ll always defend my position that men and women feel differently about aging.
As I told the Mystery Man: Men age like a fine wine… they get better with time. Women age like… bananas. There is nothing good about an old banana.
I firmly believe this. As men age, they become “distinguished”. As their faces wrinkle, they are told that the wrinkles build “character”. Now, give me a synonym for “distinguished” as it relates to women. No such word exists. All words used about older women possess some sort of negative connotation. And, Lord knows that if wrinkles cause a face to develop “character”, then “character” is a woman’s worst nightmare – as evidenced by the myriad ads for Botox and wrinkle cream that litter the media.
Women have been taught that they should not embrace the aging process, but rather that they should fight it tooth and nail, every step of the way. And even though I think that phenomenon is really unfortunate and it makes me sad, the fact remains that I still look like I’m 12, so I’m not really worried about the physical effects of the aging process… yet. So, why exactly does 30 freak me out so much?!
I took some "me" time to reflect on a number of things this past weekend. Since my 30th birthday is never far from my mind these days, it was definitely on the agenda. What I realized is that - to me - 30 signifies adulthood. I still TO THIS DAY, feel like a kid sometimes. Sure, I have my days when I feel mature and independent, but for the most part (aside from a hefty dose of additional wisdom gained from just living) I still feel the same way I did when I was 21.
And you know, I always thought of myself as having “older” parents (when compared to the parents of my peers) and I was born when my mother was 29 years old. She was the same age that I am now when she brought me into this world. And, I’ll be honest… I cannot even imagine what I would do with a child if I popped one out right now. I am not financially or professionally or emotionally ready to handle a child. And I feel like I should be ready by now. I'm 30-friggin-years-old!!!
At 30, people stop calling you "young", and you damn sure aren’t classified as a “kid” anymore. Because I look so young, I am often carded at bars and restaurants. But, as soon as the server looks at my birthday, they are embarrassed to have asked. I am SUPER of-age… I've had the right to consume alcohol for almost 10 years!
I guess I feel weird because none of the things I thought I’d have accomplished by now have been accomplished. There are no children on the horizon… I’m not where I want to be in my career… my significant other is extremely INsignificant a.k.a. non-existent. Maybe if I had those things in place, 30 wouldn’t be so scary. Besides, now I look at my brother and I realize that his life didn’t really begin to take off until around 30. That’s when he really started becoming successful. And he didn't get married until he was 35. Of course, he’s also a man and I’ve already explained why that makes him different. I also think about the fact that my sister didn’t get married until she was 30 and my fist niece wasn’t born until my sister was about 34. That gives me some time to get my shit together... I guess...
I’m still trying to get used to this “growing up” thing. It happened so damn fast. Just yesterday, I remember wearing my hair in two pigtails to school and running through the sprinklers in my swimsuit. Now, I wear slacks and severe buns to work and the only time I get remotely close to being sprinkled with water is when I shower before heading out of the house.
Times, they are a-changing.
I’m afraid of getting “old” I guess (although even I will admit that 30 is not “old” per se). I’m not sure I’m ready for this transition into bona fide adulthood, but as my father always says – you either get old or die young. I’d say that, if I'm given a choice of those two options, I’m picking the getting old option every time. Hands down.
I didn’t post my new year’s resolutions this year, but I do feel like it’s important to document the goals you set out to achieve… mostly for the purposes of accountability. If I tell you all what I wish to accomplish I’ll work harder to meet those goals because I hope you’ll hold me to what I've set out to do. And, if I fail, I’ll feel like an ass. And I don’t like feeling ass-ish.
So, anyway, although I didn’t post resolutions, I did come up with this “Things to do Before 30” list. I created it about a year ago and have pretty much done nothing with it except pull it out and look at it every now and again and then kick myself for not taking any steps to accomplish anything on the list. I don’t think I’ve posted this before, so here’s the list:
1. Get out of debt
2. Travel to Europe (specifically Rome and Paris)
3. Become fluent in Spanish (Which now that I think about it will not actually be helpful to me during my travels to Italy & France. Whoops!)
4. Lose 20 lbs!
5. Learn to play the flute
6. Get published (in a magazine, book, whatever)
7. Learn to swim (I can swim, just not well)
8. Run a 5k
Boy, this list is ambitious! It wasn't ambitious when I wrote it... back then, it was definitely doable cause when I sat down and came up with the things I'd like to accomplish before I hit 30, I had plenty of time to achieve everything on this list. Unfortunately, I did what I've always done, which is procrastinate like it's my JOB and wait until the last minute to get started on anything.
So, let's review this list piece by piece:
1. This is the one thing I've pretty much accomplished. Mind you, here, I am only referring to personal debt, which is just my credit card debt and a few small personal loans that I took out for school. I am almost finished with all my credit card debt... and I owed a lot, so I am really proud of myself for that. The rest still needs some work.
2. I probably will not be able to travel to Europe before June because, well... because it's already February and I haven't asked for the time off from work, bought a plane ticket, made a hotel reservation, or renewed my passport. So... I'm pretty certain that Europe isn't happening by June. Scratch that one off the list.
3. My mother bought me Rosetta Stone Spanish CDs for my birthday last June because I told her I wanted to try to become fluent in the language. I maybe used them twice. They're currently in the drawer of my bedside table... and they're basically brand new. I should be ashamed of myself.
4. Losing 20 lbs. A coworker once said that she quantified her weight by comparing it to those one-pound packages of ground beef at the grocery store. If you tried to think about what a pound consists of in your head, it's hard to picture and it doesn't seem like much, but when you think about the fact that for every pound you've shed you've gotten rid of something comparable to a package of ground beef, that's pretty impressive! So, 20 packages of ground beef? That's a lot of frigging meat! Now I'm intimidated. Forget 20! At the rate I'm going, I'll be happy if I lose two. 'nuff said.
5. I've wanted to play the flute since I was a kid, but my parents thought the clarinet was more "practical". (I'm not really sure what their reasoning was, but back then I didn't ask questions... I just did what I was told!) Anyway, I promised myself that someday I'd learn to play. And, I set up some private lessons and everything, but I never went. I'm not sure why. By the time June rolls around, if I really try hard, I might be able to play "Mary Had a Little Lamb". If I learn one basic song, that still counts as "playing the flute", right?
6. It occurs to me that I've already been published... sorta. My friend has a blog and I wrote for her a couple times and I guess that counts. Then, there's this blog right here. I guess that sorta counts, too. But I meant it would be cool to see my name in print. I'd like to be published in a magazine or a newspaper or an official news website... not just a blog. I'm still working on that and I hope to have that nailed down by June for sure.
7. Okay, so I can swim enough to save my life, but I can't swim-swim. Like, you'll never catch me just doing leisurely laps in the pool. I want to get to that point. Can I get there by June? I'm not sure. Maybe if I start tomorrow... like, literally TOMORROW, I could get to that point by June. But I just got my hair done yesterday, so I probably won't start tomorrow cause that would be wasting the money I spent in the salon. Damn... I'm already making excuses. So, I guess we'll wait and see how this goal goes, but let's face it - it's not looking good.
8. I have always wanted to be a runner. I have so much admiration for people who go for a run and then feel GOOD afterward. I run (okay... let's be honest, I don't run. I wog.) and feel like I want to pass out, or run/wog and feel like I want to throw up. But I NEVER run/wog and feel good after. So, first of all, I'd like to run, NOT wog. And second, I'd like to run and feel good about it at the end! So, I've started this running program. And now, instead of wogging, I am trotting (not yet jogging). I'm hoping that in the next four months, I'll be able to RUN. Pray for me.
Well, after a quick review, it turns out that I'm not doing so hot with my list. I was probably better off not publishing it here, but now you know what I hope to accomplish and now you can scold me if I don't... or, if you're nice, you can just encourage me along the way as I attempt to at least make a little bit of progress on this list. I'll be back with regular updates, but I really need to get a handle on this if I hope to accomplish any of this stuff by June! Damn me and my lofty goals!