Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Thirty Is The New Thirty

Open letter to a friend turning thirty today -- happy birthday, beautiful!

I hate when people say Forty is the new twenty or any variation thereof. I mean, isn't good enough just to be what you are? That said, the thirties are all kinds of awesome. I turned thirty in Cleveland at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That set the tone for the next decade. Very rock and roll. Lots of rocks -- deaths, a lot, behavior, sometimes questionable, beverages of ill-repute, lots. And yet, I had a blast. The twenties with all their worry and exhausting posing were over. I didn't worry about what anyone thought, not the way I did at twenty-five, hoping to be special. Unlike Charlie Sheen, I wasn't tired of hiding the fact that I was special. I was tired of hiding the fact that I wasn't. I wasn't going to be an amazing wunderkind. I wasn't going to write the novel I wanted.

Guess what? That happened in my thirties, when I didn't mind sitting for a long time alone without distraction, something I could not do in my twenties. I didn't have amazing adventures in my twenties -- I was too worried that I wasn't where I was supposed to be (wherever the hell that was) and I was too worried about how I looked. I felt like a secret failure all the time. I couldn't live in the moment, couldn't relax. Nora Ephorn famously wrote that if she knew what she knew now, she would have spent her entire twenties in a bathing suit. I spent a lot of my twenties lifeguarding in an ugly red suit that said GUARD on it. And that's what I felt like. Guarded against everything. By my mid-twenties, I'd moved to Detroit. Not much occasion to wear a swimsuit. And all I can say is what a relief.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Knowledge and timber shouldn't be much used, till they are seasoned." Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr

Cocktail Hour
Movie suggestion: Another Year

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!


the walking man said...

Happy 30th to whoever. I am willing to place money that you will find it the age of Renaissance and enlightenment. The period you will look back on and be able to tell yourself that "Yeah, that's when I finally understood what was what."

Say PD when I turn 30 will you write some kind of encouragement like this for me?

Charles Gramlich said...

Each decade has its own charm. I wouldn't mind having some of the health I had back then, but generally would not be willing to give up what I have now to get back what I had then.

Tim said...

For me, thirty was the new twenty-five, then forty was the new thirty-three, then forty-five was just forty-five, but fifty turned into the new sixty and it's getting worse... yeah, I don't go in for the psychological pampering to try to make me feel younger than I am. The thirties are a great time, and for me the forties were just as good physically and better mentally. Now that I've hit fifty... well, I guess I'll take it day to day and see.

jodi said...

Michelle A Belle, what a total crock. 30 is 30, 40 is 40 and so on. If society would stop putting such an aesthetic value on everything we do, we could discern the value of the lessons learned. It's a journey (cheeseball!) that I respect for what it is--inevitable. I own my old age, wrinkles and all. I do not possess the enery to 'go back', and choose to live today. xo

Scott said...


How true...age is just a number, after all. I have a friend who constantly talks about how he wishes we could go back to when we were in high school...if your life peaked at your teens, I truly feel sorry for you.

Hope the week's been good to you, Darlin'...have a great weekend!