So I just turned 30 years of age. I’ve been putting of this post for a few days to get my head around it. Not because I am overwhelmed with panic, but maybe more of an anticlimactic rise of, really this is it? It’s not as if I thought Einstein-like theories would instantly populate in my brain but maybe, I would feel more adult and be more responsible, magically, overnight. Really though, that is what aging is. Realizing that there is nothing that changes you without thought and concentrated effort. That things can be okay the way they are and you don’t panic so much anymore. I commented at work that I would be celebrating my 30th birthday, a woman that I respect and admire was so happy for me. She said ” I loved being 30, it was so much easier and better than my 20’s”. At the moment I was impressed, seeing as how our culture ritualizes the sell-by date of women post thirty. Thinking on her comment, I realized that I don’t have any gnawing doubts about growing older. I am physically sound, capable of running 5 miles and enjoy bacon and wine frequently. I do have a hazy desire for children but sometime in the undefined future and I’m okay with that, the panic is at bay. I am so happy for the things I have.
My birthday has always been A BIG DEAL, precisely because it was never anything special. It falls in the cracks between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. No cupcakes at school, no slumber parties, just winter break and painfully patient parents. I once celebrated my birthday in a hotel room, with a store bought cake from godknowswhere because my parents would transfer custody at the holiday. They never forgot about me, and always made me happy with what we had. Later I knew that I was had to try hard to make other people remember. I was given mixed gifts, along with Christmas, after-thoughts in a hectic time with no money. I would like to think I endured this with grace, but probably not. Now, as an adult, all I want on my birthday is to be separate from the frantic holiday and to be remembered. I don’t need grand gestures, just a token of acknowledgement. This is the story of my life.
Thus, on this biggest of birthdays in a (childless) woman’s life, I did what any sane person would do. I grabbed the reins and planned my party. I took my entire family out to dinner at a local seafood restaurant, in easy reach of my sister’s house as an early celebration. I also allotted two days of post-holiday sanctuary in Seattle to spend in intimate retreat with my husband. I bought myself flowers and a bottle of wine, and via airbnb we were able to rent an adorable apartment in the Queen Anne neighborhood. I stayed up late at a Western izakaya in the ID, eating sauteed squid and drinking Stella. Then on THE DAY I enjoyed coffee on the beach, baptizing myself in the brine of the Pacific with my love.
Then for lunch we had the best sushi I have tasted in years at J Sushi, bought some new frames for my Nerdy Thirty, and took a delicious nap. Being indulgent we cancelled our original dinner reservations at a fancy pants restaurant and had a late dinner at Black Bottle. I ignored my phone and forgot the camera. I was there.
And it was lovely.
We ended the night at the historic Seattle punk/grunge bar The Crocodile. Feeling like old-timers, we sat, limbs entwined discussing our future.
Later, we walked the streets, and an inebriated young man enrapt on his mobile turned and said, I love you both!.
it was enough, and so much more, and I was so happy, and then sad to leave.
remember that birthdays are supposed to make you happy, so do what you want.