The Broad Question of 30

This post was originally titled “Who Am I At 30?” I had to change the name because it paralyzed me with fear.

Who am I at any point? Every day I feel different. I almost didn’t write this post today because I wasn’t in a writing mode. That may change tomorrow- and so maybe tomorrow would be a better day to write this post.

I’m writing today anyway. Today is always the best day to write a post, dammit.

So who am I at 30? I don’t know if I know the answer any better than my 29 year old self did. I’m a collection of things…I even made a list in preparation to write this post. It went:

I’m extremely reliable
Family and friend oriented
All about dependability- flakiness= sadness
A traveler
Introvert who wants to be an extrovert
Vegetarian
Kind, but my neutral face looks mean- fools people
A runner
Happiest when I’m helping someone
Most content on 7.5 hours of sleep or more, preferably from 1am to 9am
Drawn to meditation

Little things:
A lover of water bottles with built in straws
Perpetual pasta craver
Obsessed with talking about cities I’d love to visit
Summer = best season
Lover of lists- to-do lists are especially good.

I don’t know if that list even starts to answer the question “Who am I at 30?” But I think it scratches the surface of the question “Who is 30 to me?”

Who are you, 30???

On all previous birthdays, I’ve asked myself: What is new about this age? Am I any different than the year before? The answer has usually been “I don’t feel any different.’ Yet 30 feels different. It has its expectations. There are stigmas here. Milestones. Landmines.  It feels like uncharted territory in a way the twenties have never felt. To me, 30 is a stereotype, the top of a never-ending mountain, the shadowy cloaked figure that means “real life adult.” And then it also means “that’s not true at all!” I know tons of people in their 30s and 40s who are completely different than the stereotypes suggest.

One of my favorite quotes has always been “wherever you go, there you are.” Even when I feel like I’m getting away from everything I call home, I realized quite a few years back that I’m still always taking myself along with me. It was an interesting lesson to learn. Relating that quote to my 30th birthday, I’m starting to think the new lesson is: “However you grow, there you are.” Ok, that’s corny…because, you know, because I was trying to phrase it the same, whatever… But the point is that even though you’re always ending up at an older age, there you are.

And so here I am at 30. On the precipice of something that feels uncharted, unclear, undetermined. I’m either at the end of something that’s barely begun, or the beginning of something that’s barely ended. But it’s still me. Yes, that feels right. I’m here, 30! I’m somewhere in there.

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