too many words by laura lemay

Thoughts on turning 30

Author’s Note: My birthday was in August. I wrote this the day before by birthday, as part of a ritual I go through every couple of years where I get really depressed and write stuff down.

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Tomorrow I will turn 30 years old. A significant birthday, by any metric. And, unfortunately, I have difficulties with significant birthdays.

At each one of these birthdays — 18, 20, 21, 25 — I’ve done a whole lot of moping and no small amount of soul-searching, trying to figure out what I’ve done, trying to figure out where I’m going. Usually I am amazed at how stupid I was at the previous significant birthday. “Gawd, I was so naive,” I think. “I didn’t know *shit* at that age.”

30 is no different. At 25 I didn’t know what I was going to do with my career. I had spent the last number of years in bad relationships, in bad situations, spending too much time trying to escape and not enough trying to change my life for the better.

Which brings us to this bout of soul searching. What have I learned in 5 years? A whole lot.

I’ve learned that when someone tells you you’ll never suceed at something — for whatever reason — usually that’s a good reason to try it.

I’ve learned its OK to be more of a tomboy than a girly-girl, that one does not have to be skinny to be happy, that being “cool” is not the be-all and end-all of one’s life, and that “computer geek” is not an insult.

I’ve realized that money is neither health, happiness, nor peace of mind, and fame is definitely not at all that its cracked up to be.

I’ve learned that I don’t have to be drunk to be flirtatious, to have fun, to recover from a bad day, or to say things I’m otherwise afraid to say. None of this stops me from drinking, but at least now I know a few of the bad reasons.

I’ve discovered that I’m a workaholic, and its easy for me to get lost in in my work, to make it my life. Fortunately I’ve also discovered that this isn’t good for me, and I’ve learned to try to do things that don’t involve the computer.

I’ve realized that I don’t have to be friends with people who annoy me, and I’ve also realized that the importance of making friends with interesting people outside one’s usual social circle.

I’ve found that I am capable of sustaining a relationship more than a year without sabotaging it, losing interest, having no life of my own or feeling like an emotional slave.

I have expanded my consciousness through the use of illegal or semi-illegal phramaceuticals pretty much all that I need to, although I am not averse to changing my mind. 🙂

When I look in the mirror I no longer see too big a nose, bad skin, freckles, pudgy cheeks, small lips. I no longer see someone I don’t want to be.

But I wonder, despite all these things, that I’ll look back on 30-year-old me at age 35, 40, 45, and just like I did before, go through the ritual of the significant birthday: “gawd, I was so naive. I didn’t know *shit* at that age.”

I hope so.