30

Ugh. I hate being 30.

My students habitually ask me how old I am – I probably get asked every day. Yesterday I was compelled to answer, for the first time, “thirty.” Ugh.

I was proud to be 29. 29 turned out to be an almost unbelievably good year. It was way better than most of the other late twenties. It was the best year since my early twenties. And this next year is shaping up to be possibly even better. I’m glad that I’m still alive, of course, and to be having years that are getting better. But saying “thirty” just feels so… I don’t know, so much different than saying “twenty-nine.” I feel like turning 30 is a much bigger deal to me than turning 29 was.

On the bright side, I don’t anticipate having this much angst over a birthday again until 40, so I can look forward to ten years of relatively less important birthdays. That’s nice.

I feel the urge to take stock of this decade in some way. I turned 20 less than two months after 9/11, so oddly my third decade on the planet corresponds almost exactly with the decade following the September 11th attacks. I’m less than ecstatic about the direction my country has taken since that date, although time and study and historical perspective have made me recognize a certain inevitability in what went down.

When I think of life before 9/11 I mostly remember never giving airport security a second thought, but was that because I was younger or because security was genuinely less of a pain in the ass? A little of both, I suspect. The economy was better before my twenties – but before that it was worse. I actually remember the recessions in the 80s, the fears that Japan was buying up real estate in New York City and that someday the Japanese would own the whole country. That… (obviously) didn’t happen and now the new Asian country that we are economically afraid of is China. Who can say if the threat is more real this time around?

It’s strange to remember lots of important historical events that lots of other people around me don’t remember. My oldest students this year are ten – that is to say, born after 9/11. Even those who may have been a few months old obviously wouldn’t remember the event. Even my private students, in their early 20s, don’t remember things like the Berlin Wall coming down. I actually remember taking part in air raid drills back before the USSR broke apart, as if Middle Village Queens contained anything worthy of being a bomb target. That’s right, older Georgians – I remember hiding under a desk from you back before you ditched the Soviet Union. We’ve all come a long way.

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Although I find the number 30 upsetting, I actually like being older. I like having the benefit of experience. I am a thousand times more confident than I was at 20. I have learned, in the last decade, not just how to be an adult, but how to be happy and fulfilled. I have more patience, more knowledge, more wisdom, and more motivation than I did at 20. By and large, I’m in better shape than I was when I was 20 – I’m stronger, more physically fit and confident, more knowledgeable about my health and well-being, and more able to maintain my body at a decent working level. I could be better and I look at 30 as an opportunity to reinstate some kind of regular fitness regime.

I’ve learned how to appreciate the good things in life and roll with the bad things. On Sunday afternoon I cooked some beef tenderloin and my gf made french fries, and we had a filet mignon lunch together before my student came. I would never have imagined that I’d be sitting in the rich part of town dining on filet mignon at lunch. Hell, when I was 20 I probably wouldn’t have imagined even being able to cook a decent steak. 20 was the year I started restaurant work, before I really knew anything about cooking other than heating up pre-prepared dishes in the oven.

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Before this gets too ponderous, I should just change tracks long enough to mention that 30 is a lot easier to say in Georgian than either 28 or 29 – ოცდაათი “otsdaati” vs. ოცდარვა “otsdarva” and ოცდაცხრა “otsdatskhra.” So that’s something – now when people ask me my age in Georgian I can answer and not sound like such a n00b.

So that’s nice. Stay positive. Don’t focus on the long slow march to the grave. 🙂

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You know, I just can’t wait ten years to post this damned song. Who knows if the internet will even be around in that long? Things change. Anyways Jack’s not 40 yet himself so he’s gone and changed the lyric to “under-40.”

Also, I’m not a pirate. Unless you count software, music, movies, TV shows, textbooks, and the videos I post at the end of all my blog posts. That’s another thing I remember – Napster. Like, the original Napster. First song I downloaded was Jackson Browne’s “Doctor My Eyes.” It’s a good song… although it suited my depressed teenaged years much better than my current mood of optimism at being older and wiser.

Anyway, here’s Jack and Dave…

And here’s Jackson.

Happy Birthday to me!

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3 Responses to 30

  1. tnlr says:

    From the guy who recently hit 41 – congratulations. 🙂

  2. Left Eye Looking says:

    A LOT of things change when you hit 30 and even after 30. Physically your body will change too for better or for worse. Now that I’m knee deep in my 30’s, I really LOVE it. I didn’t like my 20’s at all and I couldn’t wait to turn 30. It’s awesome because something literally happens in your brain maybe psychologically, I don’t know but something does happen. Every 30 something that I’ve spoken with has told me that there is a huge change but they can’t really describe what “it” is. It’s liberating! Plus I think 30’s – 40’s are better for women than men (<–disclaimer: better for women in SOME countries). Not to be mean but I really think that men get the raw end of the stick in that department (see previous disclaimer before correcting me). In a few years I'll be 40 and I know that it will be even better than my 30's. I wonder if I'm the only woman in the Western world that is happily getting older and loving every single second of it? Youth is so overrated.

    • Left Eye Looking says:

      Oh yeah and I forgot w/my last post….HAPPY BIRTHDAY NEAL! I hope you have an awesome time in Georgia and that your next adventure is just as interesting and exciting.

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