What does it mean to be 30? Well, first off, I should note that I am sitting here typing this (as a 30 and change year old ) at GSU where I am studying for a masters degree. I should also add that I am studying for this masters degree among what feels like preschoolers. Next to the woman in class (you know the one) who is obviously older than everyone else there and people look at her and think “oh that’s nice. She came back to school. at this age.”, I am the second oldest person in the school. The whole school. Need proof? Try and find the modestly dressed mom among teeny tiny ripped jean shorts, ironic “ACDC” tee shirts (I can promise you this girl does not know who ACDC is, much less listen to them), untied, dirty doc martens (when did these come back in btw?) with earphones in her ear, a marked up back-pack on and a general look of disinterest, boredom and apathetic suffering on her face. Trust me. I won’t be hard to find.
Going back to school coincided almost perfectly with my turning 30. So did having my babies. And the whole thing only causes me to feel older and more out of it than ever before. I mean this when I say, I look at my clothes in the morning and think “Can I wear this now? Am I too old?” I worry about things I never thought of before: death, old age, wrinkles and gray hairs. I’m now in the section of the glamour magazine that instructs “30-40 year old” on proper skin maintenance, “How to dress your age lists” and “make sex good into old age” suggestions. When I tell people I’m 30 they don’t look surprisingly at me and say things like “wow, you are so young! I can’t believe you are so young”. Now I say “I’m 30” and they give me this look like “yeah. 30. Pretty bleak.”
It means that my drinking tolerance is nill. Pathetically nill. A group of well-dressed cool girls at school (apparently the Mean Girls scenario continues well past adolescence for some) were talking about their past weekend activities (activities I was noticeably not invited to) and one girl was like “Shit, I cannot believe we left the bar at 2:30, you guys we are so old and lame. I didn’t even throw up the next day”. From the other side of the room, sitting alone and creepily watching these young girls you would find me, in appropriate school pants, with an even more appropriate blazer, pencil in hand, glasses on, listening awkwardly to these girls and imagining what it would be like to be awake, let alone out in public at 2:30am. What would throwing up from drinking feel like now? I remember it well from my youth but these days? Are you kidding? I think I’d rather die. I thought about my own weekend and where I was at 2:30am. Asleep. Filled with 2.5 glasses of sauvignon blanc. Two advils in my stomach to prevent inevitable hangover from tiny glasses of wine. Stretch pants and husband’s tee-shirt on. Anti-aging cream applied to face. Sexy.
People always say things like “I’m so old” or “I can’t believe I’m so old and lame” and even I have said these things when I was like 23 or 26 or 28. But now? Now when I say those things, I kind of realize they are true. Like really true. I am in a different category now, a new section of the magazine, a new block to check at the doctor’s office upon signing in. I read one time in a magazine that Cameron Diaz said “I feel great turning 40. I’ve never felt more beautiful and fit and confident”. I can acknowledge that Cameron Diaz is a total idiot and shouldn’t be looked at for guidance and advice. I can also accept that I am 30. Not 40. It’s different. That said, I do NOT feel more beautiful than ever; I definitely do NOT have more energy than I used to and confidence? I just stopped and looked down at my mom belly and general physique and thought-yea not so much. You probably think I’m being hard on myself and that would be correct. I don’t think I’m a hideous loser or anything and at the end of the day I do not want to throw up from drinking or sit at a smoky bar with some pedophilloic frat brother asking me what I do for a living and if I’ve ever been camping in North Georgia. However, this change happened so overnight-so suddenly that it would have been nice to get a warning. Like a letter or article in the mail saying “Hey Anna, get ready girl. You’re old. Fun over. Sexy clothes out. Music taste? Old fashioned”. Some sort of heads up. But no, that didn’t happen. Instead I woke up one day and looked around and realized the world I lived in before I turned 30, before I had the babies, was gone. Foreign to me now. I don’t understand this new world yet and I’m sure as I get deeper into it, I will navigate my way into Cameron Diaz confidence but right now, it ain’t there. I feel older and wrinklier and more tired and out of style and my knees hurt and my feet ache and I wear sensible shoes when walking on campus and I make sure to take an advil if I drink more than one glass of wine, and I take Asprin at night to ward off heart attacks. That is me. 30 year old me. Oh and I just realized, I’m technically almost 31. Technically.