May 02 2012

Counting Down to 30

Thirty. It’s the dirty word that’s been taunting me since my last birthday. And it just keeps getting closer…

I realize age is relative. I mentor a 10-year-old girl and when I recently told her I’d be turning 30 on my next birthday, her mouth dropped open and she said, “I didn’t know you were so old!” Ouch. I considered leaving her at the park right then and there, but instead decided to ask her how old she thought I was, to which she replied, “You look like you’re 22 or 23.” Phew! Relationship restored. I then asked her what she thought was “old,” and she answered “35” without much hesitation. So I guess I have a couple years left before I need to start shopping for a walker.

On the flip side, I’m the youngest person in my office at work, where I’m affectionately teased for being the whipper snapper who “wasn’t even born yet” when such-and-such happened.

The reality is, us 30-somethings (or near-30-somethings) fall somewhere in the middle, teetering on the thin line between bar-hopping and Bingo. I will celebrate my 30th birthday in four months. That’s right, just 16 short weeks until I leave my 20s behind for good. And although I am hopeful that my 30s will be full of great things – exciting developments in career, life and love – I must admit this impending birthday has me just slightly terrified.

Lately I’ve found myself wondering, what does it mean to be in my 30s? What am I supposed to be doing? How am I supposed to act? And what if I’m not where I thought I’d be by now? I don’t think I’m alone in pondering these questions, so, as part of a generation that enjoys obsessing about such trivial things, I launch this blog to discuss the good, the bad and the scary of the dirty 30s.

To kick things off, I want to be sure I end my 20s on a high note. The last 10 years have been pretty productive – I graduated from college, started a career, made some lifelong friends – but there are just a few last-minute things I feel it is imperative I accomplish before I enter the next decade of my life.

And so I present to you the OMG I’m About to Turn 30 Last Minute to-do List. (If you’re nearing 30, I suggest you make your own, because let’s face it, ya ain’t getting any younger.) Over the next four months I will attempt to accomplish the following 10 things, in no particular order, before turning the big 3-0.

  1. Start a blog
    Woohoo! I love being able to check things off my to-do list.
  2. Ride a mechanical bull
    Because I’m pretty sure this becomes sad in your 30s. And because I live in a town just classy enough to have one.
  3. Eat a deep-fried Twinkie
    This seems increasingly hazardous to one’s health with each passing year.
  4. Color my hair an obnoxiously unnatural color
    Because I feel like I should see myself in electric blue before geriatric blue.
  5. Travel abroad
    Because I want to drop anchor overseas before I have too many things anchoring me at home.
  6. Go to a movie by myself
    Because it’s high time I conquer that fear of being alone in public.
  7. Scream myself hoarse at a concert
    I feel like I should get at least one more of these under my belt before 30.
  8. Watch “The Matrix
    So I will no longer have to be subjected to: “What?? You’ve NEVER seen it?”
  9. Do a thorough closet cleaning
    So my future children won’t have evidence of the bad shoes and bare midriff of my youth.
  10. Get a psychic reading
    Maybe they’ll be able to tell me what my 30s have in store.

So there it is! Since I don’t have too much time left in my 20s, I tried to keep it manageable (I don’t think I’m gonna be able to complete that master’s degree in the next four months.) And while I may not be able to get to every last thing listed here, I’m going to give it the old college try … because I’m still in my 20s and therefore not too old for a good ol’ college try. Or college sweatshirts. Or shorts with the name of my college stamped on my butt (or am I??)


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  1. Judi

    You have nothing to fear…from one well into her 40s! Your 30s will be your best years…well, they were for me, although the 40s have been pretty good. In my 30s I bought my first house on my own, got married and in the dwindling days of my 30s had a child. Plus had a lot of fun inbewteen those things. My biggest regret is not seeing the world when I had the chance, so I do agree with the “travel abroad” on your list and will tell you to travel as much as you can while you can (with that said, come visit us!!). I’m not so sure you need to ride a mechanical bull, but I guess it can’t hurt!!! I used to say that I would go back to being 25 if I could go back, but I think I’d skip the 20s and go back to 30.

    The blog is great……can’t wait for the next update.

  2. Erin

    You don’t look a day over 25! I love going to movies alone. Maybe we can go together and just sit apart 🙂 No matter what you do you will be amazing – at whatever age. And please sign me up for the psychic reading. Big hugs!

  3. Ben K. (33)

    For some, it seems to me, 30 is a sort of maturity light switch. Many things that were important in your life suddenly aren’t. For example, I’ve observed a much finer focus when it comes to choosing whose opinions matter. On the other hand (or perhaps related to that), I’ve also seen 30somethings suddenly lose their fear of being perceived as childish. Maybe as much as kids think over 30 is adult, people over 30 see others who have passed that point as adults too.

  4. Angie

    LOVE IT!!! You are an amazing writer. Can’t wait for more.

  5. Melody

    As someone who is also about to enter her thirties I have most of the same fears and questions! My main concern is that high school children seem to look younger and younger every day and senior citizens appear to be closer and closer to my age…

  6. Kaylene

    Thirty is definitely a bad word in my house right now. Great blog! Can’t wait to read more.

  7. Scott

    #2 There has to be at least a dozen mechanical bulls in Tucson.. at least!

  8. Ann

    In my mid 40’s now, but at least I can relive my glory days through your blog.

  9. Christopher

    I agree with every single one of those recommendations, but for may I suggest for number, be sure to wear earplugs at the concert. Losing ones hearing really sucks and has the potential to cause permanent damage 🙁 Rest assured, the voice will likely come back.
    Congrats on your first blog! I look forward to future submissions. See you in a week!!!

  10. Amy

    I get this feeling we could scratch off much of your list at a really bad carnival. I mean that in the most awesome way possible of course. I had no idea we had a mechanical bull in town! Bummer! I’m sure it’s all for the best because somehow I know I’d be adding something like, “Get a new set of dentures to replace all the teeth I broke on the mechanical bull when I was younger” to my list if I had known about it. Sexy.

    Love the blog!

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