So This Is 30

I woke up Sunday morning feeling strangely the same. I thought I’d be instantly hit with gravitas and wisdom, but my cluttered brain felt all too familiar. I slipped out of bed and examined my face in the mirror. For some reason it surprised me to see the same face as always, looking curiously back. 

So this is 30.

I briefly inspected: Same hands. Same hair. Same foot size.

Everyone told me that our 30’s are the greatest because you stop giving a shit about what others expect of you. But I think that started during year 28 for me, so I didn't even feel different in that respect.

I haven’t posted for a bit because I've been trying to write a poem saying goodbye to my twenties, but I don't like it enough to hit publish yet. Something about it isn't right. Mostly, when I read it, it just doesn't really make me feel. It made me realize – I don’t feel all that much about turning 30. 

Over time, I’ve come to view 30 as young. Like really young – there are days when I still feel like I just got here! In fact, how unbelievably short is life? There’s so much to experience, accomplish, and learn about in the world. No amount of time is enough. I know so much more than I did ten years ago, and can’t imagine how much more I’ll learn in the next decade. But I’ve been here 30 years, and I’ve only read 37 books from this list of 100, haven’t snowboarded or even watched Scandal yet, and really have no idea what it means when a friend tells me they work in finance (What do you do? Explain for the 100th time please!). I have so much to learn!

We’re all young. I've come to view 50, 70, and 90 as young. You’ve barely been part of the world even at 100. So I’m 30 now, and don’t feel like my days of youth are over at all.

In ten years, I plan to be just as ambitious. In 20 years, I will still approach life with a sense of playfulness. In 30 years I’ll still marvel at my surroundings. In 40 years, I want to still be moved to tears and laughter by actors on a screen. In 50 years, I want to be 80 and still writing what I think about all this life. On the morning of my 90th birthday, I want to slip out of bed, look in the mirror, and see the same face as always looking curiously back. Of course it won’t be exactly the same, but it’s the curiosity that’s the important part.

And at 101, the age my mom wanted to depart, I hope to still feel like I just got here, even if it’s time to go. 

We are all young. And always will be. 

* * *

“That was a most curious and interesting remark you made about feeling, occasionally, very childish in certain situations. Nicholas, don't you know about people this first and most crucial fact: every single one is, and is painfully every moment aware of it, still a child. To get beyond the age of about eight is not permitted to this primate.” 

-Ted Hughes, in a beautiful letter to his son