Monday, November 12, 2012

Not Simply Emptying Out

Somewhere in the gulf of time strung between my last post in April and now, I turned 30.  And didn't die.  Imagine that.

I initially planned a post about how I saw my 30th birthday as the signal that my life could now begin.  For some reason (and I know it is not because I still look 17) I spent my 20s being referred to as "just a child" quite frequently.  In every masters swimming group I have belonged to: "my goodness, you are just a child."    Yes, being closer to the beginning than to the (projected) end is a lovely parting gift, but I guess I wanted people with whom I am friends and spend time to see me as an age-appropriate peer rather than a gawky younger sister, even if I lead the lane because I can actually see far enough to read the pace clock.  I thought 30 would be the age at which I finally became the anti-thesis of a child (although adult might be too strong a word).

However I was told this very thing a week after turning 30 so clearly, despite having reached a major round number, my life is still in its infancy. 

Then I was going to post a 40 Things To Do Before I Turn 40 list, or something similar.  The last thirty years have passed with me doing some pretty extraordinary things; I figured by building on that with a new list I could help keep the momentum.  Of course I soon left on a six-week (err, could now be 3 month) tramp trip, and I doubt that momentum will ever be in too short a supply. 

That idea gave way to the potential wistful post of "how life was so much better when I was 25."  Umm, not going to happen, because it wasn't.   

My last resort would be to pay penance: "These are the mistakes I have made and the lessons I have learned making them. I am going to be better, be different."  On the actual day I looked in the mirror and didn't see anything different.  However my mother was visiting, and during some fall cleaning, we located some yearbook pictures, and well, there was a bit of stark relief in that comparison.  I am now a person my 18 (or even 25) year old self would never recognize; I don't necessarily have to be different because I already am.


That left me to my manifesto on why I value being unrecognizable, but it seems Charles Bukowski already has.

I'm glad I'm 30.  My life doesn't have to begin now, it just has to keep going.  The majority of it fits, in ways my 30-year-old self wants and my 18-year-old self would not have understood.  And it does because I have spent every day of the last twelve years fighting to not simply empty out.

1 comment:

schmonz said...

Amen. We are what we repeatedly do. If you like what you're doing, keep doing it. Welcome to 30, wish I coulda been there (wherever "there" was) for it.

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