Nice Girl: Nice Woman
Happy BirthdayHappy BirthdayThere's Pollution in the AirPeople Dying EverywhereBut Happy Birthday Happy BirthdayOne Day Closer To Your Death--Anon.Of course, this is true of every day of the year. That is to say, we are always, inexorably, one day closer to our death. The birthday is just the designated time to, uh, celebrate that fact.By the time you read this, I will have already turned 30. I will have started my fourth decade of life. I will forever be the age that my dear Aunt Rose was until her last breath: "29 plus."But I'm okay with this. No, honest I am. It's not like I'm stressing out or anything. It's not like I'm making a big deal out of it. It's not like I'm thinking of getting a tattoo in some sort of last, desperate attempt to feel young.Okay, so I'm panicking. I know, I know -- it's ridiculous. There's no actual difference between 29 and 30. I don't look any different. I don't feel any different. Nothing in my life has changed.But it is a big deal. I liked being in my twenties. I liked feeling young, full of potential, like my whole life was ahead of me. I liked the fact that, even though I'd been working as a writer for 8 years, I was still graduate-school age. A college kid, for God's sake.Don't trust anyone over 30.That's what they say about us thirtysomethings. That we've sold out, that we've gone corporate, that we're too old to "get it." Or, if we do "get it" -- like if we still go to alternative music clubs and still dress in torn jeans and clunky shoes (guilty as charged) -- we're poseurs, hangers-on, or (oh, the horror of it all) trying to act younger than we really are.So I've been a little depressed. I've been whining to my friends. I've been commiserating with my mother (she seems more in shock over this whole thing than me). I've been walking up to complete strangers in shopping malls and saying, "Guess how old I am?" (This, of course, is a calculated risk. It would be crushing, devastating if people actually guessed 30. But I've always looked young. So I'm comforted by their responses: "25?" "21?" Thank you. You've made a grown woman cry.)Anyway, through my misery, I noticed that Swing, that ultra-hip magazine for "Life in Your Twenties" seemed to have an article that was written just for me. A sort of primer, it seemed, for turning 30. The article was called, "100 Things to Do Before You Turn 30." Just what the doctor ordered.I flipped anxiously to the page with the article. I would do it all, whatever the magazine said. Meditation? No problem. Buy myself indulgent gifts? Absolutely. Go the other way and strip down my earthly possessions? If that's what it takes.I read the first entry: "Get arrested for something really stupid or something you believe in, but not something really bad."What? Now? But my birthday is in two days!I continued reading. "Decide your personal religious and political views -- yourself."But that seems like a pretty big decision to make so hastily . . ."Have multiple orgasms -- in one night."Can you just will that kind of thing to happen?It suddenly occurs to me. This is not a list for 29-years-old perched dangerously on the precipice of 30 at all. This is a list for people in their twenties. This list is not for me.So I decide to write another list. A list, I suppose, I'll be submitting to Modern Maturity. Maybe it will help others ease into their 30s with a bit more grace and a little less heartache than me. The list goes something like this:It's time to brace yourself for 30 when:1. Instead of asking for your I.D., waiters come wielding wine lists2. Your birthday cards start containing jokey references to how old and decrepit you are3. Telephone salespeople stop asking if your mother is home4. You make that sound like your Uncle Louie when you get out of an easy chair5. Those Hopkins med students start looking younger and younger6. You're too old to get a tattoo7. All of your high school friends are married; some are divorced8. You think mini-backpacks look stupid9. You've uttered the phrase, "I'm too old for this shit."10. You believe it's possible for the music to be too loudWhen you feel these symptoms coming on, I might suggest therapy, or at least a really good massage. Look, I know it's difficult to hear. But to you blissed-out, comfortably oblivious 28-year-olds, I'm telling ya, 30 is just around the corner. Accept it now; it's for your own damn good.