Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Thirty Chronicles: The Panic

it could be worse. i could be turning sixty, i suppose. thirty is definitely still young, relativism aside and included. lots of energy left; i’m ambulatory and alive. health, family, friends, security and self-esteem. good stuff in there. no need for this birthday to latch onto my radar like this, but i must confess that it’s thrown me into a Huckabees-esque existential conundrum.

i thought it wouldn’t matter so much, that the turn of the decade would pass through me seamlessly. but i find myself in funkytown lately, unhappy with father time. i hear people around me saying “embrace it” and “be thankful your twenties are over” and “better stuff lies ahead.” and i believe all of that. yet still. still.

thirty’s a bit heavy. i’m taking inventory and coming up short. i’m realizing that i’m still far from the person i’d like to be. i find myself drifting into the fantasyland of where i thought i’d be by now, but am not. and i can’t seem to reconcile the discrepancy. my father always tells me, “it takes a lot to make you happy.” perhaps he’s right.

i know that two years from now, turning thirty will seem as insignificant as turning 28 did two years ago. i know that the grand scheme of life will forget this thirtieth birthday and scoff at the anxiety it’s caused. it’s only as big a deal as i make it. the problem is my attitude, not my age.

the problem is that my crappy genetics had me sprouting gray hair at 19, meaning that i have to color my hair every 6 weeks, otherwise it would look all salt and pepper. the problem is that when i told a coworker about my upcoming birthday (this June 26), she guessed that i would be turning 33, meaning i probably look much older and she tried to underestimate my age to be kind. the problem is that i can no longer fall into the “cute” category anymore, given my gray hair, laugh lines and crows feet.

it sucks that in the twenties, one is “maturing” and “growing,” though once thirty comes, it’s only downhill “aging.” it sucks that my body is already beginning its decay, given my cervical cancer scare last summer, to which my older girlfriend Dee remarked, “welcome to your thirties.” and – i gotta say it -- it sucks that it’s different for men and women.

could i possibly complain anymore? yep, i can and will. this is the first post in a multipart series chronicling my thirtieth birthday.

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