30 is a big deal.
Since starting to blog about my year-to-30 I’ve questioned if it’s really something people think about. There, I said it. Just because it’s a significant year for me doesn’t mean other people give a shit. Understood. But if I had any doubts before, a conversation I eavesdropped on overheard on my birthday, no less, confirmed my suspicions about the importance of 10×3.
“So, I’ve been planning it for, like, two months… I gave it a theme, ’30 in the City!'” said the girl with the huge diamond ring getting her hair shampooed at the spa where I was spa’ing last Friday for my birthday. “I made a poster and put my face on Carrie Bradshaw’s face…” she started giggling. Why? Not sure.
Readers’ note: I’m trying to cut back on bitchiness this year, so I’ll hold off with the commentary on that one. But don’t worry, that self-imposed rule doesn’t usually stick for very long. My sharp tongue will make an appearance at some point. I promise.
What I found interesting wasn’t that this girl happened to be talking about her obsession with 30 on the very day I was turning 29. Nope, that wasn’t the interesting part. What had my ears perked was when she said this: “I just, you know, want my 30s to be amazing… so I figured this would be a good way to kick it off, you know?” She was talking to the girl shampooing her hair and obviously looking for some sort of confirmation on the whole idea, which she wasn’t getting. The shampoo girl wasn’t a day over 21. Phef.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that it took a lot of self control to not walk over there, introduce myself to this newly christened 30-year old and say, “Shit, I feel you on this. I’m so there with you. Wanna grab a Starbucks?” Luckily I was slightly buzzed from a birthday mimosa and nearly comatose from my massage. I didn’t want to freak the girl out with my sometimes-too-forward introductions, particularly when it comes to topics I’m hot for.
What I learned: Turning 30 isn’t a “bad thing” – I’m not from that camp. People pitching that tent can suck it. I think 30, for the milestone reputation that it has, presents a lot of opportunity for some much-needed self-reflection and, as in my case, reinvention.
After a decade spent indulging every hormone, self-help method, an HBO show about a girl named Carrie, and asking, “What should I do with my life?”, I’m beginning to realize that 30 is the new 20 (slightly vomitable, but true). We’re just right back at Alice’s hallway of doors asking ourselves which knob to turn next. The only difference is we’ve been here before. At least I have. It was called being 19.
I remember everyone in my life making a big deal about “not being a teenager anymore”. But I wasn’t fazed. I couldn’t wait. I thought for sure my 20s had more to offer than an exclusive membership to the club of pimples, bad break ups, awkward sex, and drama in the cafeteria. Thank-you-God. I was right.
My twenties have been good to me, which is why I think I’m a little sweaty in the pits at the thought of leaving an era that’s taken nearly a decade to mold. Just when you thought you had it figured out, a new era sits at your doorstep, much like before. The obvious differences are that we have more money (maybe), more rewarding jobs (hopefully), a better wardrobe (debatable), and the balls to go after the things we spent our 20s deciding we deserve (most definitely).
Reinventing, this project, my List, is just my way of stringing it altogether, because if I’m nothing else at the end of my 20s, I’d like to think I am a little more organized – a little more put together. This is what that new 30-year old in the chair was trying to get at, which obviously went right over the head of the 21-year shampoo girl. But she’ll get it eventually. We all do.
So here’s a Q for you: Have you and your friends had the “turning 30” conversation? What keeps coming up when you do (work, kids, marriage, buying a home, feeling lost in general)? Comment here (would love to here from you… don’t be shy now) or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org