On turning thirty

I’ve been thinking about the age of “30” recently – probably because my own 30th birthday is only a few weeks away.

Still being in my twenties, I feel society has not tempted me with any responsibilities. No one expects a twenty-something urban male to have kids — or even to cook … or take care of a plant for that matter. People always give me the benefit of the doubt — my faults are deemed as “youthful indiscretions” … it’s “cool” when I don’t wear a tie … and while my watch isn’t made by Fisher Price, I still love Curious George — and singing “Pour Some Sugar on Me!” while eating Mike & Ike’s and owning a freezer overflowing with frozen pizza.

I even have perfect eye sight. But maybe I’ll get fake glasses to play the part.

Once I turn 30, I’ll finally be an “adult.” Everyone will think of me differently. Single women will think “potential husband” rather than “potential babysitter.”
Even my mother might stop insisting that she pay for dinner (and maybe she’ll finally stop reminding me to brush my teeth).

I’ve noticed some grey hairs … that might help …

I plan to be dour, unenergetic, and utterly serious. I might even take up golf. I’m going to wear black socks with sandals … and lots and lots of plaid. Yeah … I’ll like plaid. I might even buy some tools and learn how to fix something besides my computer … like maybe I’ll fix the washer and dryer … make it faster … though now that I’ll be an adult, I’ll have to stop washing my neighbor’s cat.

In the ancient Jewish tradition, one becomes a man at age 13 … but now bar mitzvahs just mean consumer commercialism (and my first game of spin the bottle with Sally Shlipowitz). In today’s world, the entire idea of a bar mitzvah is a farce. I mean the only rights you get is the right to baby-sit your younger siblings, the right to take out the garbage, and the right to stay up to 11pm on a Friday night so you can watch JR Ewing on Dallas … but I digress …

And it’s not like at 13 you can tell your parents what to do. You can still get grounded and your mom is still driving you to the junior high school dance. I personally spent most of my time then perfecting lewd noises with my hand cupped under my armpits.

And 18 is the official “adult date” in American society. But what does that really mean? Sure, you can vote — but most 18 year olds don’t. They’re too busy IM’ing each other, watching Real World Performs Jesus Christ Superstar (or something like that), and selling their parents’ memorabilia on eBay to get proceeds to pay for EverQuest.

And you can enter into a legally binding contract when you are 18 … but honestly, how many 18 year olds ever enter into a contract and are held to it? Even Britney Spears was allowed to annul her marriage. And yeah, you can smoke when you’re 18 … but no one actually starts smoking when their 18 (they usually start at 14) … and who cares! Because it is illegal to smoke as an adult everywhere except for that disgusting glass-enclosed jail in airports … and, kids don’t smoke anymore anyway … at least not tobacco.

And you can legally drink when you’re 21. but that just gives you the right to stop buying fake IDs. Most people I know consumed more alcohol before they were 21 then they will during the rest of their life. Now the one huge plus about turning 21 is being able to rent a car, but you still have to pay that $15/day under-25 age-discrimination charge (have you noticed that there is no over-95 rental car charge??? Now who do you think is more likely to get into accidents?).

Yes, you really become an adult at 30. you’ve probably just paid off your undergrad student loans and you might even be thinking about retirement planning …

and we all celebrate it. These days, 30th birthday parties are bigger than New Year’s celebrations — and often bigger than weddings. I know a person (his name rhymes with “Auren Hoffman”) that is having a 30th bday party both in San Francisco and New York — one always needs the East Coast party to ring in adulthood.

Unlike my 1987 Bar Mitzvah of old, my 2004 30th Bday Celebration might not feature wheelbarrow races or Ricky Klein trying to spike the punch. But some things (like continuously playing songs from “Kool & the Gang” and trying to play spin the bottle with Sally Shlipowitz) will never change.

4 thoughts on “On turning thirty

  1. Peter

    Turning 30 is a year long process to be explored through all 365 days. Only when one is 31 is one thirtysomething. And who remembers that show anyway?

  2. Clare

    I’m turning 30 in less than a month and I relate to your post totally! It’s a scary thing! Why is that so?! I don’t know. I guess that it’s because you start analysing your life and thinking about the things that you ‘should’ have done by this time in your life and probably haven’t! Mmmmmm!

  3. Dennis Cruz

    The time is getting closer and closer. 10 hours, 19 minutes and counting…..I definitely relate!

  4. Ola

    My part of the world 30 means OLD… which I totally disagree with. I’m turning 30 in few days, and i feel like i’m getting to know me better, and what i really want out of this life.. so for me it has just begun 🙂


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