3 Things I Get Now That I’m 30

I saw a series of tweets I loved this morning.

Since turning 30 earlier this year, I’ve been thinking a lot about aging.

But this isn’t really new for me. Beginning when I left my marriage and Alabama to seek fame and, well, not fortune, I’ve felt a very strong sense of my place in time. First it was a need to make up for time lost. I saw myself having the early 20’s experience I missed by getting married as soon as I graduated college. I went out, stayed out late, did drugs, got sloppy drunk, made mistakes, had one night stands, gathered a crew of 20-somethings, did all the things people are “supposed” to do before getting married and setting down. And I’m not saying any of that is objectively useful or important. But they were important to me, as it turned out. And I regret nothing. Not getting married. Not getting divorced. Not having my early 20s in my late 20s.

At the same time I knew I was late to that party, and I didn’t want to miss anything else. Part of the reason I started making vlogs and wanting to go on TV so badly was the impending departure of my ability to claim the benefits of ever remotely resembling a hot young thing.

A better use of that time would have been gathering something to say, educating myself, rather than trying to quickly say a bunch of stuff while people were willing to listen because my face was smooth. I worst-case-scenarioed the speed with which I’d lose that cache, overestimated its importance. But, worse, I underestimating my own capability to be more than a cute young face.

But, that’s the point. Young people don’t know shit.

That aside, having left the world of twentysomethings, I’m feeling good. I might have arrived at the party a few years late. But I shook my proverbial tailfeather plenty hard.

Now, on the other side of thirty, I want to share a few things I’ve learned.

1. The old/young chasm

Have you ever wondered why old people think they fit in with young people while young people are like, why is this oldster trying to hang out with us? It’s not just society’s inherent agism. It’s also that old people relate to young people, but it’s a one-way street. An old person knows what it is to be young, but a young person doesn’t know what it is to be old. So where an old person sees a memory, a young person sees a chasm. A kinda scary chasm. This is probably obvious even to not-impaired young people. But it’s been a bit of a revelation to me.

2. Not wanting to go back

Because I remember what it is to be young, I do not want to go back. I was having lunch with a 20-year-old girl recently who reminded me exactly why I am so glad to not be 20 anymore. She was going on and on about a particular boy, who tbqh did not sound like he was worth worrying about. I’m not going to pretend that at 30 I don’t obsess over men who don’t warrant it. (I mean that would be extra hilarious considering my blog post about it, published less than two weeks ago.) But the severity is less. The anxiety is less. And at 30 I know that no one wants to hear about it more than once at lunch.

Now, I do wish I could have magically known what I do now when I was in possession of a 20-year-old body. Because I would have fucking cleaned up. But that’s not how it works for most of us.

3. Not being able to describe it

Mostly turning 30 is kind of like visiting London, another thing I did for the first time recently. Because I surround myself with kind, conscientious people, they asked me about my trip when I returned. I just told them it was cool and named a few things I did and complained about the weather. The first reason I’m shady about it is that OMG no one cares. In the list of things I don’t want to hear more than 3 minutes of, someone’s recent trip ranks just above you asking more more than once why a dude hasn’t texted you back. I took pictures and posted them all over social media because I like looking at people’s travel photos. And if you want to know what I did, and how good a time I had, you can see it there. I drank at cool places. Perfect trip.

What I can’t describe without boring the shit out of everyone is that the cool part of London to me was all the little differences between there and everywhere else. The fact that drivers in London DGAF about pedestrians. Like at all. They will mow your ass down and not give it a second thought. Imagine a city where everyone drives like a particularly homicidal cab driver. Add to that the fact that cars are coming from the opposite direction you expect them to and many streets don’t have walk lights and it’s a wonder I avoided attempting to occupy the same space and time as a car or bus.

Or the fact that you have to pay to use the bathroom at their version of Penn Station. Or that their coins are pounds, and not fractions of a pound. That I saw a very pregnant woman at the pub on Sunday afternoon because that’s what they do. That when I accidentally got off at the wrong tube station and decided to walk the rest of the way the route took me through a part of town that reminded me of Bed Stuy, but instead of barbershops and churches, it was hijab stores and Islamic centers.

Anyway, that’s kind of what 30 is like, but even harder to describe. I care less about what people think of me and more about what I think of myself. I much more rarely find myself caught up in fits of panic about becoming my mother or being otherwise trapped in destructive cycles from which I cannot escape, having escaped so many already. I do not fear getting old like I used to, because I see that a lot of the shit they tell you about it is wrong. It’s sad, angry people universalizing their individual experiences.

So that’s probably why being old is awesome. Because being young is so scary. It’s not just being scared of what’s next, but being terrified of wasting your youth. I know I wasted my 20s. But I’m not torn up about it because I know that’s just what 20somethings do because they don’t know any better. And it’s why I’m not scared of wasting my 30s. Am I a little wistful about not going to grad school yet, not getting really good at some very lucrative skill, not finding my one true love and locking him or her into some contractual arrangement (again)? Meh, a little. But not so much. Because I can look back and see the things I did instead and they were awesome and super enjoyable and I wouldn’t trade them.Which is exactly how I expect to feel at 40, except even more at peace. I probably won’t remarry. It’s unlikely I’ll have kids. I’ll once again buck convention regarding proper life phases. And I’ll once again have adventures and make mistakes and shake my tailfeather, though in different ways. I do feel some pressure to do something else, like I can’t just not marry and have kids. I need to do something equally cool and important. Yet it seems almost inconceivable that I won’t. I do need to kick my own ass about followthrough. But as far as having access to awesome adventures and opportunities, I’m not worried about that.

Okay but I will be real with you for a second about aging. I hate my boobs. Hate them. I finally got cool w them being small in my late 20s after dating a guy who loves small tits. I’m so mad tho. The big benefit to small tits is that they don’t sag! AND YET. Now I need to find a guy who adores drooping and weird skin. 😐 Not holding my breath on that one.

Nawl I’m just kidding I have to learn to love myself obviously. And maybe find some bras that I can wear during sexytimes in the interim.

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