“Are you terrified of turning 30?” my lovable Gallery Coordinator asked me when she realized by birthday was a few days away.
“Terrified! Try ecstatic!” I replied with a little skip. “I mean, you only get to change decades once every 10 years…”
It’s my birthday. My 30th birthday. And while many of my friends have found it difficult, nay, painful to leave behind their 20s, I’m stoked.
Birthdays, are often a time of reflection, and as I look forward to the new decade ahead, I can’t help but notice how much things have changed…
When you’re turning 20, a night out with your best girl friend involved your highest, most uncomfortable heels, perfectly coiffed hair, high hemlines and low necklines, and at least one bar you can’t afford and two you can. Your important question of the night: Are we cabbing or taking the subway?
When you’re turning 30, a night out with your best girl friend, is most likely a night in, at her place… making soup. You know you’re not going anywhere where anyone is going to see you, so you don’t even bother with mascara. Your most important question of the night: Can you find your pasta maker, or should I bring mine?
When you’re turning 20, your social media feed is littered with your friends uploads from parties, semesters abroad, backpacking trips, weekend campus hops, house parties, and dive bars. You think: Oh, god! Everyone is having so much fun! I’m having fun. Wait. Let me take a selfie.
When you’re turning 30, your social media feed oscillates between wedding news/pictures and baby-bump shots. You think: Oh, God. That guy I had a crush on when I was 20 looks so hot in that gray suit… too bad he’s the groom. And gee whiz! Didn’t anyone read that “Your Body, Your Birth Control” pamphlet in the GP’s office? Seriously. I get it. You’re “preggers.” All your BFF’s are “preggers.” You’re all one, big, happy “preggers” family. But do I really have to watch this for 9 more months. Oh! Look! A “hide” feature on my timeline! Thanks, Facebook.
When you’re turning 20, you celebrate your birthday by lining up as many (semi-illegal) shots are you can stomach, and you keep the party going as far past sun up as you can. Two days later, you’re still wearing the same dose of mascara, expect now it’s eyeliner, and you think the valet still has your car... where did you park your car???
When you’re turning 30, you decide you’ll invite your friends to brunch. Not since spring break 200X were you all able to day drink, and Brunch is classy day-drinking… because, you’re real adults now, and real adults do classy things, like brunch. Plus, all your married-with-children friends prefer brunch because they can get home in time to put Junior to bed and you can get home in time to binge-watch season 3 of “House of Cards” on Netflix… and still make your 10PM bedtime, without fear of a hangover the next morning.
When you’re turning 20, you order $5 margaritas at happy hour, when they don’t card, because that’s all you can afford.
When you’re turning 30, you’ve figured out how to get someone else to pay for your $15 top-shelf martini, with a twist.
When you’re turning 20, everyone asks what you’re going to do when you’re done with college/grad school/your internship. You have some kind of lofty, made-up answer because you only half know.
When you’re turning 30, you get to lead with a business card. You’ve had a promotion, or two, and while you still may not know where you’re going, at least you know where you are and where you’ve been. You’re still a little green, but you’ve earned some color round the edges. You were smart. Now you’re savvy.
When you’re turning 20, your heart gets broken by a “player” and your best friend says: don’t worry! You’ve got plenty of time to find someone else. Players gonna play.
When you’re turning 30, your heart get broken by a “player” and your best friend says: Players gonna play, but you’re getting too old for this. Have you ever thought of trying Match.com? I hear that’s where all the serious guys go.
When you’re turning 20, your idea of “dressing to seduce” involves showings as much skin as is legally permitted. Hemlines go up, necklines go down. Your crop-top barely covers your nipples and when you bend over the whole world can see the top of your very tiny panties.
When you’re turning 30, your idea of “dressing to seduce” is still “less is more,” except your less is, less skin, and your more is “more designer labels” and “more butt coverage.”
(Note: Summer 2015 is the summer of the crop top. Of the 6 shirts I brought with me to my birthday celebrations in Napa Valley, 4 are very tiny….)
Turning 30 can be scary, because it’s crossing a threshold. You have to leave behind excuses of youth and naivety and take responsibility. You’re accountable to something — to a boss, to a dog, to a spouse, to a family member. You’ve hit significant milestones and most of your first are behind you. It’s exciting because it’s the start of your prime.
29 was awesome — a memorable year with magazine covers and mega successes. An exclamation point to a well-enjoyed decade. Now, I get the fun of starting something new.
30 is the new 20, anyway.