Now we are 30

I'm gonna start putting things up on Medium that are otherwise dying slow eternal deaths in my Microsoft Word documents. That's what Medium is for, right? So here's one, an essay thing about being 30. Been it for nearly six months now and it still gets on my nerves. It's on Medium here, and posted below!

When I turn 30, I’ll give so few fucks that by the law of supply and demand folks will be lining up outside my door just drooling for a piece (that will never come).

If you want one, it’ll have to be a handwritten request sent in on the back of a circus dog with the scruffiest of hairs and then maybe just maybe I’ll consider it, but most likely I’ll just play with the dog and forget all about your vague desires.

See, when you turn 30 (I’m not sure how old you are as you’re reading this), you begin to ask yourself, where do all the fucks go? Like you are Holden Caulfield with the ducks, Langston Hughes with the dreams, Paula Cole with the cowboys. All the fucks you’ve been putting out into the hollow universe of unknown recipients, do they land anywhere? There is just no real way to put out a tracking number on these fuck(er)s and follow them to a safe landing, they are like bullets or balloons, screams or dandelions.

You start to think, maybe I ought to be more discerning with my fucks.

When I turn 30, I’m gonna be like, bye 20’s. Bye all two digit numbers with a 2 in the ones place and a 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 in the tens place. It might be a while before I can even look a twenty dollar bill square in its Jackson, I might have to change them all out for fives and tens and ones. Get these feckless greenbacks out of my pocket, out of my sight!

But I will totally still be cool with people in their twenties. Because I would never judge a person by his or her age. Age doesn’t mean anything, everybody[1] knows that.

Like when the 23 year-old barista says to me, “I think you should do all the things you want to do.”

When I turn 30, I will just stop asking others their age. Stop guessing, stop caring. If you tell me it’s your birthday I’ll say, congratulations, you’re alive.

You see, everybody to me will exist in a spectrum of all the ages at once. A prism of priors and posts. What’s happened and what’s on its way. ROYGIBIV but for a lifetime. You are the ages you’ve already lived, and the ages you might never reach. Eyelashes a 4 year old flutter, voice a 45 year rasp. Ankles of 15, crow’s feet not a crease over 39. And we haven’t even gotten to interiors. You add up the ages of all the parts and divide:

The mean is how old you are inside.

When I turn 30, I will just naturally fall into my best self because the very concept of a best self will have dissolved with the wisdom of this monumental year, a known fallacy as we are all made of many selves and there is no worst or best but several in betweens and in shrugging off the pursuit of the best I will evolve into a better version of me. The one that holds all the versions.

The astrologer told me, it had been my Saturn Return for the past couple years and that’s why I’ve been so stuck and stunted, idle and mild. For Saturn it was a slow orbit, 30 years to make it all the way, around the sun and back to the exact spot in the sky it had left when I was born. A complete return, but it’s all sorted out now, Ma, I’m grown. When she told me my eyes sort of drooped and my mind went slack, as though she’d removed my brain and was massaging it like raw meat in her hands. Felt like witnessing your own lobotomy.

So, I guess, no more false starts, no more not sures. I just have to remember to keep an eye on the moon.

My dad thought I was turning 29, instead. When I corrected him, he seemed disappointed. He let out a sigh. “Well, I wouldn’t presume to suggest what your life should look like at this age. It’s so different for your generation. I really don’t know enough to say what you should have accomplished by now, or where you should be.” What a compassionate Baby Boomer.

All the girls say, when you turn 30, it’s such a relief, you don’t care what anybody thinks. You can finally be yourself. Do you. All those years you were trying so hard but you felt stymied — that was because you weren’t yet 30. Trust us.

When I turn 30, my imposter syndrome will be the real thing.

When I turn 30, I’ll finally be over you. I’ll remember our time together for what it was, a thing with its own value, unto itself. It was, then it wasn’t, now it isn’t and it never will be. I’ll seal it tight, mark it zero, and then, I’ll toss it.

I mean I’ll really knock it off.

When I turn 30, I’ll have no use for nostalgia. It’s an irritant, an itch you scratch only to end up with more itch. It’s a phony salve, a bum balm. It’s a false glut, you feel it wash over you but it only burns you up. If the only alternative to getting older is being dead (which is something a newly-minted 30-year-old told me), then looking back is a kind of death.

When I turn 30, there will be no trick candles on my cake.

My therapist told me, if I wanted to make a change, now was my last chance. After 30, it’s much harder. So, just in the nick of time, I quit seeing her.

When I stretch my hips and count to 30 it won’t seem to last as long as it used to. So I’ll slow it down, breathe in and out on every count, like really trying to feel every year, every ache.

I woke up today and reached for the dog. “30” I said, when I meant to say “Phoebe.”

Or maybe I dreamed it.

[1] Everybody at least in their 30’s, that is