Turns out, 30 years old is just 30 years old. An age that means you are old enough not to feel young anymore, but not old enough to complain about it. It’s like the middle child of ages… no one is impressed or thinks your turning 30 is a big deal but you.
Today one of my good friends is joining me and turning 30 and I’m not having one of those aha moments of gratitude about my age, which trust me, I do have. A lot. I get that the alternative to aging is terrible, but this post isn’t about that. Instead, I’m treating myself to a blunt assessment of what 30 years of life feels like and what is ahead of me. If you are reading through this post hoping for some kind of wise reflection at the end about how age is “only a number” or “you’re only as old as you feel inside,” abandon ship now. This is going to go full-on honest, with zero redemption, and without a neat resolution to lift you up. I’m going to end it in the middle of a thought with a preposition, because.
Aging by the Numbers
Once you reach your first milestone of aging, you quickly learn that if your age ends in a “9,” it’s somehow worse than if it ends in “0.” So, 29 is actually a worse age than 30 because you are the oldest of the twenty-somethings and dangerously close to putting a fork in another decade of lost dreams, unrealized potential, and your skin’s losing battle with elasticity. You figure out that at least when you turn 30, or start any other fresh decade, you become the young’un and can cobble together a fair amount of optimism for how you are going to take hold of this decade and make it your bitch. It’s sweet you think that.
Being the OCD number freak that I am, as I age, I learned that the “0” to “4” at the end of your age is fantastic, and once you hit the “5,” like 25, you round up. You are essentially 30 and everyone knows it. Second halves of decades go faster. It’s proven… probably. You can tell you are in the late half of the decade because people will say, “Wow, you look good… for your age,” which is not even a compliment. But take it. It’s as good as it gets.
So, 30. One third of the way to 90. Ninety. Nine-ty. We all know how fast the first 30 years flew by, so, in the blink of an eye you’ll be that old person who has fallen and can’t get up — only it won’t be so funny then. And here’s a curveball… I’m not even sure I want to live to 90. Think of all the meals you’ll have to think about and cook? I’m already sick of all food. Think of all the people you’ll have to pretend to like. Think of all the dumb things you will have to hear from 21-year-old idiots who think they are smarter than you and got life all figured out.
And think of your body. If I take my body today and add another 60 years of aging to it, I don’t think that’s going to be a good time, and let me tell you why…
Can you even imagine another 30 years of gravity having its way with your skin, fat, boobs… your junk? Yeah, that’s right, guys. Gravity ain’t helping you either. If it’s sagging now, it’s not going to get any better unless you start walking everywhere on your hands, which is something I have seriously considered.
A few months ago, my body gave me an early birthday present. Suddenly, without any warning, and because it clearly hates me, it decided, unilaterally, that it was done processing the sugary food I love the way it used to when I was 28. Yup. Just, “F you, B. I’m not processing your shit anymore.” Since then I have gained more weight than I have lost and every single meal is a trip to guilt hell.
I can’t express to you how much I love sweets. Instead of this blog, I toyed with the idea of just writing an ode to sweets, but I couldn’t see through the tears to type it.
You’re 30 now. No sugar for you. Unless you want to be a fat whale.
You know, that complete immobility you feel in your neck that’s the result of nothing more than sleeping in your bed? Yup. I spent the day unable to look left. I can barely look right, either, but I’m trying to sprinkle in a little bit of optimism here. The truth is if I just sit here and look straight ahead, it hurts like hell. With every radiating shard of pain, my body seems to be saying, “You know you’re old, right?”
And it’s not just cricks in the neck. It’s all kinds of weird body aches you will now get just by sleeping. You’ll think wistfully about the time you fell off your bike when you were 12, Evel Knievel style… over the handlebars, into a complete asphalt roll… and were completely fine. Nothing even hurt. Nothing. You walked away from that with full mobility. Now, you just wake up in the morning and your knee buckles. And because you are in complete denial about the aging process, you start to ponder what might have caused it, out loud, to anyone who will listen. You throw out ridiculous things like that exercise class you took a week ago, that bike crash when you were 12. But it’s nothing. Nothing caused it except good old-fashioned aging mixed with the seemingly benign act of sleeping.
I wish I could think of one upside to turning 30, like at least I no longer have to deal with acne. But just this weekend I got three zits. Two unpoppable ones on my forehead that seem to be hardwired into my skull. And one massive blackhead on my chin that I managed to squeeze, creating a cut/soon-to-be scar, while the blackhead stayed perfectly intact, mocking me. I don’t know how to pop a blackhead. I’m 30.
Perhaps the most annoying thing about turning 30 in my opinion is having to share your favorite dive bar and secret bottomless mimosa place with 21 year olds. What I once love about going to bars and hanging out with “adults” is now just another reason to complain about aging. We are now those “adults” we used to look up to when we were 21. The other day I had a 25 year old BOY offer to buy me a drink. Yes boy. Anything under 30 is automatically a child to me.
No thank you. I will stick to my bourbon that I paid for. You can move along to the children’s table at Ihope please.
Lest you get caught up in the “30 is the new 20” nonsense, brought to you by the makers of Oil of No Way, I’m here to tell you that it isn’t. Twenty was 10 years of youth-you-will-never-get-back ago. What you have gained in wisdom is now being cancelled out by your lack of memory. What you have gained through experience is being cancelled out by “nobody gives a crap what you think, old dude.” So, guess what? You’re just 30. Halfway to 60. One third to 90. A good 12 years past high school graduation. Probably two years away from qualifying for an AARP card, which you should totally get… I hear the deals are amaaazing. And 20 years from complete irrelevance, if you’re lucky. But don’t despair. It’s all good, because at least you aren’t 35. That would be half way to decade hell.