From my post on BrandX
Here’s the thing about birthdays, as you get older, they get more and more complicated and stressful. When you turn 10, it’s all about piñatas, gifts, and cake. When you turn 15 or 16, there’s the big coming of age. As a girl, you get to wear a big poufy dress and a crown. Everyone loves you. When you turn 18, you’re finally an adult and those threats about moving out suddenly become real and you realize paying rent sucks, but hey! you’re 18 and you and your friends sneak off to Tijuana to party. You turn 20 and it’s great because you’re no longer a teen and you start planning for the next big birthday. You’re 21 and as a right off passage, you take off to Vegas, party like a rock star and don’t remember much else. Then you turn 25 and you start questioning your life, your job, your education and “where you’re headed in life.” You really begin to ask yourself that interview question, “So, where do you see yourself in five years?” You get these twitchy feelings about “getting old.” You make the 90’s classic 4 Non Blondes’ “What’s Up” your anthem and you realize you are going through the quarter life crisis. The next few years go by in a flash, you’re 27 and start telling people you’re 24 and strangely you come to the realization that you “can’t hang” like you use to and worse, a new sensation makes its way into your life, you are… tired. Then you’re 29 and you realize, holy shit, I’ll be 30 next year and all of a sudden you don’t feel as old as you thought 30 year olds felt. You’re still young! You still got it! And sadly, you’re still singing “What’s up.” All of a sudden, you become conscious of the fact that you are nowhere near getting married, much less having a stable boyfriend. Your job sucks, those degrees on your wall haven’t helped you much, you haven’t climbed the corporate ladder and you’re still living in your same college apartment with the same old furniture that friends gave you or that you picked up off some street curb.
All those chicken wing and margarita happy hours have caught up with you and reminiscing of when you use to go out every night becomes a norm. How sad your life has become. Remember those days when your mother use to torment you with “you better not get pregnant!” and now during the Holidays it’s all about the “oh if only I was a grandmother” guilt trip? And you feel worthless in your inability to create life. There was even that time your mother questioned your sexuality. Remember that? That was fun. “No mom! I’m not a lesbian! Gawd!” (Sure, you tried it in college, but she doesn’t need to know that.)
Your girlfriends have slowly accepted the fate of being with the guy they met when they were in high school or at some club five years earlier simply because it takes so much work to meet someone new. Some have gotten married and had kids, and yeah, we know how much fun THAT is. Others are engaged or living with their boyfriends, secretly hoping he breaks up with them so that they don’t feel guilty about shattering the life of a 30-something low level white collar cubicle exec. In general, some are happy, some pretend to be happy, others are happy drinking martinis each night.
So you take inventory of your life and you realize, damn, I’m freaking 30. Your older single girlfriends are excited for you, “Wooo! Dirty 30’s! It’s great!” they all say. And you can’t help but wonder if their excitements are only cries for help disguised in glitter and thirty, flirty and thriving imaginary make believe. After all, they are still nagging about not being able to meet someone. And as you blow out the candles of your glazed strawberry cheesecake birthday cake – because screw it, what’s the point of counting calories now? – and that last glimmer of fire slowly turns into the black cloudy smoke that is your life, you say to yourself, really, is that all there is? Is that all there is to turning 30? Because if that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing, let’s bring out the booze and have some fun. Oh, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, well, if that’s how she feels about it, why doesn’t she just end it all? Oh no, not me. I’m not ready for that final disappointment!