Youth is wasted on the young.
I just turned 29 years old on July 5th. An exciting development, I suppose, when you think about the great uncertainty of everything – the chances of a sperm joining with an egg, the chances of that embryo actually making it, the chance of that baby growing up and not catching some catastrophic disease, or in some cases, just dying for no reason at all. And then this grown embryo-person-thing walking through a big world long enough to celebrate a 29th birthday. It’s miraculous. You’ll notice there’s no God talk thrown in there. I think it’s less divine more than just sheer fucking will and happenstance.
I think about the fact that I grew up in a time where pregnant women smoked, babies were made to sleep on their stomachs, we were given toys with small, choke-able pieces, and were left for hours alone as latch key kids with big stoves, matches, and mischief at our fingertips. I don’t know how I made it to 9, let alone 29.
I’ve experienced many happy things and some sad things. I’ve gone to college, I’ve traveled abroad, I’ve experienced the loss of a parent, I’ve eaten really good food, I’ve seen cool shit, I’ve almost been hit by a train, I’ve been married (and divorced) and thereafter met the man who may very well be the love of my life. Oh, and I got a cat. I can barely remember what I had for dinner and sometimes forget to brush my hair, but I’ve done all those things.
And next year, I will be 30. With life expectancy the way it is with science and medicine and whatnot, I may only be a third through the American female lifespan. A third! And 30 is a bit of an arbitrary milestone that only has the power you give it. I know implicitly that I will not go to sleep as a 29 year old and wake up as an old lady. I know that just because I’ll be 30 and I don’t have kids (and have no plans for them) that I will not be a “failure”. I know these things, I promise I do. But being a thirtysomething isn’t a concept I had truly considered. I remember as a kid thinking that 30 was a perfect age, but I was dumb because, you know, 8.
My boyfriend is 32 years old and he doesn’t mind being a thirtysomething. I can’t really explain why dudes don’t have the same issue with being thirty (or maybe they do?) but I know that many women my age have a similar foreboding about it.
But, in the meantime, so begins the long farewell to my twenties. Goodbye, mistakes chalked up to age and inexperience. Hello, accountability.