in recent years

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a thirtieth birthday

I turn thirty on the 26th of this month. I haven’t decided yet if I am going to be traumatized by turning thirty or if I’m going to take it in stride and be chill about being an unsuccessful but surviving adult, still living in their parents’ basement. Who knows? This next 24 days are going to be a real adventure.

Most of my freakouts have been not age related, but milestone related. I freaked out about going to middle school. I freaked out about going to high school. I freaked out about going to college and graduating college and going to grad school and graduating grad school and moving cross-country and moving back and moving cross-country again.

But the birthdays? Nah. I like birthdays. I remember ten being a big deal — double digits! — and thirteen! And I failed my driver’s test on my sixteenth birthday, so that one was pretty garbage-y, but otherwise I’ve been okay so far. Birthdays are happy, celebratory. I spend the entire month of my birth making myself the center of everyone’s attention and because I am just that annoying and because the people around me are just that amazing, they not only tolerate it, but encourage and participate in it.

I feel old all the time. I feel old when I realize how young other adults are. I feel old when I realize — with a suddenness that should be impossible at this point — that I will not publish my first book before I am 25*. I feel old when I see Taylor Swift. I feel old when my bones ache — which is sometimes daily — and I feel old when I hear a song I loved as a kid played on an “oldies” station. I feel old when I don’t like something intended for youths and old when I do. I feel old when I wake up with a headache or when I decide not to have a drink because being buzzed sounds exhausting. I feel old constantly, but I have always, since I was a kid, and it has never had anything to with the numerical value of my age.

I am old. I have always been old. I am perhaps slightly less old now, at thirty, than I was at 25, and most definitely than I was at sixteen. I will likely always be old.

But for me, old is just the way to be and the way I have been has worked out pretty well for me. So bring it, thirty, I’m waiting.

*And now not before thirty. What a failure.

PS: My RSS feed was/possibly is broken, so it is likely you aren’t even seeing this post! I have removed the Totally Top Five 2K14 Giveaway since it wasn’t hitting readers, but I will get it up again this week and give you guys plenty of time to win some Amazon gift cards! I will eventually spend a weekend moving away from my current theme since it is kind of infuriating, but for now we shall persevere.

  • i’m turning 30 in april and i am surprised that i’m not freaking out. it really doesn’t seem like such a big deal. though it does freak my out that my friends step son was born in 2004. i’ve been with travis longer than that kid has been alive! freaky.

    • ash

      right?! i’m really surprised i’m not melting down. i always thought 30 was so OLD, but now i’m here and i don’t feel any older!!

      oh god, that stuff always freaks me out too! i deal with a lot of student paperwork at my job and i’m always like, HOW WERE THESE CHILDREN BORN WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL??

  • Shannon M. Brown

    I had a weird, existential freakout when I turned 26 because I hadn’t hit some imaginary life goals, and that was it. Never again. My thirties were sometimes hard but SO MUCH FUN. I feel like I learned so much — about myself and the world and my place in it — and figured out how much more there was to learn in this life. The last couple years I’ve felt the age thing raise its head again for the first time, but I am working at remembering that no one’s timeline is the same. Also, I read an article recently about how middle age pretty much sucks for everyone and, honestly, it made me feel better. What I mean to say is: Happy Birthday! Welcome to not-quite-middle age! Where buying cookware is scintillating, and it takes you three days to get over drinking too much wine!

    • ash

      thank you so much!! (much belated thanks…) and oh man, 26! 26 was THE YEAR i was going to have my shit together. we talked about it in college a lot, that 26 was the place where you would Have It Together and maaaaaaaan, was i unhappy to not be where i thought i would be at 26. how weird that so many of us choose 26!!