And then one day, the boy woke up and thought, My God…I’m 30.
30. 30. Tomorrow, I’m going to be 30.
Stories aside, that might be the scariest thing I’ve ever written. Today is the last day of my 20s.
In years past, I’ve done a reflection On My Last Day of Being such-and-such age. Sort of a time capsule of where I was at that point in my life. There wasn’t much difference between them–reading the same books, watching the same movies, eating the same pizza–but that’s usually how it goes, isn’t it? Day to day, year to year feels like a lateral move, not getting older.
But 30? That’s a milestone, man. A major highway marker on the road of life. People younger than you give you that Wow-You’re-Old look, and people older than you give you that You’re-Supposed-to-be-an-Adult look.
When I was young, 30 seemed ancient. In the Wild West, it was ancient. You were weathered at 30. Seasoned. Seen it all.
Now…I don’t know. 30 is still young, isn’t it? Maybe. But that number still whispers things to me.
You’re not going back to college.
You need a real job.
You don’t want to be a server at 30, do you?
Get your act together.
How’s your savings account looking?
Now that I think about it, 30 sounds a lot like my dad. I was 5 when he was 30. He worked a tough job everyday, and so did his wife, so they could pay for their house and son.
Last week I decided I was going to buy myself the Star Wars saga on Blu Ray. Then I checked my bank account. I decided to pay my rent instead, and have some pizza and beer with my girlfriend.
To be fair, it was really good pizza.
A couple days ago, I read Joe Meno’s The Great Perhaps. It was about one month in a family’s life where things seem like they might fall apart. Near the end of the book, Jonathan, the father, says:
Did you ever think, when you were younger, that your life would be so hard? Didn’t you think things would make sense? That it would somehow be easier the older you got?
It’s just sometimes hard to get a hold on everything. Do you know what I mean? It’s like a million things all coming at you. It’s hard to know where to look sometimes.
There’s a reason I don’t usually read the realistic existential fiction stuff. But Joe Meno is easily one of the greatest writers on the planet right now. He will flip your switch.
But, after that one, it’s back to wizard books for me. I made it a point to start reading Rothfuss’ The Wise Man’s Fear before my birthday, since it was my birthday present last year. It’s a sequel and everyone waited years and years for it. Then I get it for a present and I nearly put off reading it for an entire year. “Put off” isn’t the right term. Saving it, like the plates you have for when the president comes to dinner. Or that bottle of wine for when you get your next book deal.
29 wasn’t the worst year of my life, by far. (That was 2009, if I’m not mistaken.) I became a published author. I started (and ended) a podcast. I moved into a great apartment with a very wonderful–and very understanding–girlfriend. I started eating kale. I put together a resume I’m actually proud of. I submitted another manuscript to a publisher. I kept up on my blog (3 of’em, if you want to get technical). I paid my bills on time. I took my dad to the State Fair. I saw him and my grandma more times than I have in any other year. I did my laundry and paid my taxes.
Tomorrow, I’ll be having a nice dinner and some Irish Car Bombs. My hair’s thinner and I definitely need glasses. I find myself muttering I’m too old for this shit more often. My reliance on coffee is at an all-time high (and I actually like the taste of it). I doublethink everything I write. Or, more specifically, ask myself should I have written it. Should I write this? Should I write this?
Should I write?
So…I’m 30. Tomorrow. I’m older, not old. I wonder if there is such a thing.