THE BE-SIDES: THE BIG 3-0
Thirty is this mythical number upon which I have rested all of my hopes and dreams. My friends and family have been listening to me belabor this point for years. By the big 3-0 I had intended on accomplishing a litany of goals arbitrarily set for myself with the notion that this off ramp onto adulthood was so far in the future that it would be seemingly impossible NOT to achieve said benchmarks.
Run a marathon; move back home; enroll in grad school; travel the globe. I had my sights set on a number of things I felt necessary to do when I was still young, energetic and stupid enough to want to. My question now is, how did 22 with a laundry list of things to do become 29 and a half in the blink of an eye?
I sat down with my best friend for coffee yesterday, on the eve of her 30th birthday and for some reason this made the teeth of reality sink that much deeper into my psyche. Whitney and I have been friends, nay sisters since we were 15. We met in Sophomore English class at a point in life when, although everything seemed terribly important, really nothing mattered all that much. She was the golden haired princess with the nuclear family and the Honda Accord and I was the surly brunette with divorced parents and a 1983 Dodge convertible lovingly named Mexi Gold; somehow we just clicked. We have lived in different states, both literally and figuratively, for most of our adult lives, yet somehow our bond has remained unbroken. Perhaps that is why, when I was sitting across the table in a chic Soho coffee house looking at this beautiful, fully developed woman, I said to myself "What the fuck happened?! "
How is it Whitney is professionally successful, married to a wonderful Englishman and starting to get a hankering to jump on the baby train when I am still the 22 year old working in a Mexican restaurant to pay my way through college, honing my skills at consuming mass amounts of Patron and making out with my busboys, often in that order, more than much else. The answer is simple: I am not that girl anymore. I am not the carefree college student who wears skate kicks and hoodies to class everyday, or is woken up on a regular basis by her pint sized roommates careening through our halls after a long night of dive bar hopping. I am, dare I say, a grown up?
With less than 6 months to my 30th birthday, I have a lot to tackle. I have already run the New York City Marathon and am only 2 countries away from exploring the 20 countries in my 20s I set out long ago to do. That being said, I am not in grad school, I am not moving back to California in July, and I am sure as hell not purchasing a ticket for the proverbial baby train anytime soon.
Perhaps part of being a grown up is coming to terms with those things you can accomplish, and those you cannot, or rather those things you deem a priority in life and those you feel comfortable enough to let slip by the wayside.
With my Quincenera Double only months away and my forehead lines slowly setting up house on my freckled face, it looks like the surly 15 year old and the carefree 22 year old have gone fishing, and left some new and hopefully improved version of a woman in their wake.
My grandfather, ever the optimist, often says “it beats the alternative.” The alternative being that permanent vacation we all take once buried 6 feet under or scattered at open sea. So, seeing as I have little choice, in the face of maturation I say this: bring it on. I say bring on adulthood and all that that entails. And I also say, to my golden haired best friend who is no longer the 15-year-old princess or the 22-year-old sorority sister, Happy Big 3-0, Whitney.
B.E. is a photographer and aspiring freelance writer residing in New York City.