The problem with milestone birthdays is the number of cliches that come with them. Most of them harmless, but I am still getting used to this notion that anything substantial has changed to merit the "old" talk. Much like a new year, I rang out the end of one decade and the beginning of another. But what matters is not my assumed slow walk into middle age, but what I picked up along the way.
I liked my twenties because they were about new things.
I spent most of them working very long hours and taking few days off. I still managed to make friends and find new and innovative ways to have fun. I rarely worried about finances after marrying at 23 because my harder lessons were already learned. I have managed to hold down a job every day since then. We even managed a few weekend trips here and there. My twenties were about as safe and stable as they could have been. There were mistakes, disappointments and setbacks, but everything on the balance was a cakewalk.
But back to those cliches.
I'm told I can't stay out or up as late anymore. That my body will start to fail in new and innovative ways. That friends not in my demographic will drift further away. That I will forget things. That I will start hating new music and television. That my political leanings will change.
The truth is, none of those things wait around for 30 -- some started for me at 18, while others haven't happened. We lie and say it is our age that says who we are, not that our psychology and bodies go through changes on both sides of the significant birthdays. In short, if these cliches were coming to bear anyway, why would you rush them?
My priorities at 30 are the same as they were at 29 and 25 -- murky, and likely to change. I would rather go about how I want to be kinder, better, faster, stronger instead of how my decrepit body supports my jaded, irritable head. I see folks fall into that trap a lot.
I need new creative outlets and a dog. Ask me tomorrow, and something else will take up that space. It is how normal folks go about their day at any age. I really believe we share that in common.
I'll probably still want the dog, though.