My birthday is this Saturday, although I'm not saying that to elicit a "Happy Birthday!" from you. In fact, I'd kind of prefer it if we could all let the day pass quietly. You see, I'm turning thirty. Yes, on March 29th, 1978 the world officially became awesome. Thirty years later, the world is still awesome but every once in a while can't find its keys.
It's a difficult thing to process on one level - wasn't it just yesterday that I was walking into the offices of the Island Packet, ready to start my first day on the job? No, that wasn't yesterday - that was over ten freakin' years ago! On the other, simply looking up from my desk reveals that we are no longer working in a dilapidated old building on Pope Ave., where a raccoon whom I'm reasonably certain lived in the ceiling would keep me company on nights when I was working late.
Anyway, when I mention to people that I'm dreading the date because to me it signifies that my youth is officially over and that I'll be closer to forty than twenty, they all have the same reaction: "Thirty is still young!" they say, with their voice slightly elevated, as if trying to convince us both. Oddly enough, all of these people have something in common - they're over thirty. In fact, the only person I spend any amount of time with who is younger than me is my lovely wife, all of three years my junior. "Why are you worried about it?" she asks... "It's not like you're old". She's right of course - turning thirty doesn't mean that you're old....it just means that you can see the old coming.
Examples: I have a mortgage. Lately I've been noticing that I'm in bed by 11. The other day I walked right past the cheesy poofs at the grocery store and instead bought a bag of fresh vegetables. I find it difficult to make time to use my Playstation, but have time to become obsessed with what's in my 401k. I'll be voting for Barack Obama in November, yet find myself silently nodding in agreement with one or two things John McCain has to say (though, seriously dude I'd like to be out of Iraq by the time my grandkids turn thirty ok?). It's not just me either - last week I took my car in for an oil change and was told I have some manner of oil leak, and they would require $634 dollars to fix it. In the five-plus years I've owned my car, the only thing I've ever had to replace was some tires and a wiper blade. Could it be that my oldness is rubbing off on the things around me (and goodness gracious is my extended warranty gonna cover that?!!)?
Mark Twain famously said that "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." He was right of course, but I'm guessing he didn't say this when he was turning thirty. If he did, it might have gone something like this: "Turning thirty sucks." If you're reading this and getting irritated, you're probably over thirty. If not, you most likely feel like you have your whole life ahead of you. Here's some advice: don't let your twenties end without doing everything in life you wanted to do....and seriously, get started on that 401k.