So I’m going to be thirty in about a month. I’m not depressed; I’m not freaked about being single and childless, without even one cat to my name (I FAIL at being a stereotypical dried up old spinster, I know); I don’t feel like the sands of my life are slipping away grain by grain. I swear it doesn’t cross my mind more than once in a while that my own mother was married with two children by the time she hit thirty. (I’ve got a whole less-interesting-than-it-sounds story about a well-meaning cashier at a restaurant asking if I was a mom so she’d know whether or not to add a free dessert to my meal. I said no; she said, “okay, so not a mom yet” and pointed out the survey on my receipt so I could at least get a free cookie. I somehow refrained from rolling my eyes and held back the tirade about reproductive choice and not being Less Than because I don’t have and don’t want kids, while mentally flicking her on the nose, because that was not the best way to phrase that, okay?)
Anyway. It’s just really freaking weird being almost thirty.
Like, how in the name of everything holy did I get here? Last I checked I was careening through my mid-twenties, trying to extricate myself from one scrape after another—pretty much all of those were my own damn fault—so I could settle down to the business of Being An Adult. Precisely what Being An Adult entails seems to be anyone’s guess.
Side note: it’s vaguely unsettling that when the media and pop culture reference “young people” they don’t necessarily mean me any more. Soon, demographic analyses and pundits will start shoving me into arbitrary “middle-aged” boxes with all their might. Thirty feels like some sort of huge, arbitrary milestone, like it’s the point where I’m supposed to have my life mostly sorted out, if not completely together.
I think getting my student loans consolidated and having more than one credit card that I actually use responsibly totally counts. Right?
Fill in the blank: “Life is too short to _____.” Now, write a post telling us how you’ve come to that conclusion.
Sir Thomas Hobbs said, “the life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” My life? Not so much on the first four; I lucked out and happen to be a Western white girl—literally the only way this could get any better is if I were a guy. Or didn’t have a soul-crushing student loan balance.
Life is this weirdly liminal thing. It’s too short and it’s too long. I am everything and I am nothing. (Side note: is it just me that’s fascinated by the fact that the star of one life is a bit player in others’?) Life is too short not to love wherever and however much you can, but it’s too long to love or stay attached to something (or someone) who’s bad for you just to have that connection. Life is too short not to have that one last piece of the most amazing pizza ever, but it’s too long to have that pizza all day every day and expect it to be as awesome as it was the first time.
The seventy-odd years we spend on this mortal coil are the most solid, concrete, ephemeral things in the universe. We are dandelion fluff, there and gone in a blink. But we were there.
dandelion via pixabay
My mom messaged me on Facebook the other day—it’s how she keeps in touch with me, so she doesn’t call/text every 10 seconds—asking me to call home soon because my dad misses me. It’s kind of a novel concept, my calling home.
For four years I was maybe two hours away from home, but I had a prepaid phone and couldn’t talk for very long. Seriously, who decided that $15 a month is workable? I cheated, though, and picked the option that pulled $5 from my posted balance every month and gave me 300 texts. I absolutely hate talking on the phone, so texting was and is ideal for me. I can think, edit, and insert those little emoticon-smiley things to give the recipient a sense of my intended tone. Now I have a contract (which got me a Blackberry for free. Squeeee!) that gives me plenty of minutes and texts; My old roommate has since decided to teach me to like talking on the phone now that we can call each other for free.
Actually talking on my phone still isn’t something I look forward to, but it’s downgraded from severe antipathy to vague distaste. I have to remember that I can’t talk with my hands, or my poor phone will make a three foot suicide jump away from me. I will admit that it’s handy to have more minutes, just because I’m sure classmates will have to call me at some point, to arrange group work or study sessions.
Maybe someday I’ll adore talking on the phone. Someday.