Earlier this year I commented to DOB: "It seems like an awful lot of people are turning thirty this year."
"Well," he said, "Remember all those people who were twenty back when you were twenty? Guess what! Now they're turning thirty!"
Aging is the opposite of accidents. It never happens to other people. They remain pristinely the age they were when you first met them, which is why mothers are such an annoying species. You may be working on your second PhD, but to your mother you're still the child who refused to have anything to do with the potty until the age of five, and if you were so foolhardy as to introduce her to your faculty adviser she would undoubtedly repeat the tale to him.
But somehow ten years have passed and all those college students I used to know and used to be are real grown-ups now, not just pretending as we all were a decade ago. Jobs happened. Marriages. Children. Mortgages. Above all, Time. I find myself saying things like, "I haven't done that in twenty years" and stopping with horror to realize my memory goes back twenty years.
Articles promise me "Age-defying secrets for your skin at 30!" and "What not to wear after 30." (I checked my closet and I never had any of that stuff in the first place. I seem to have missed my frivolous youth and it's too late now.) On top of that still inescapable feeling that I brought the wrong body home from the hospital, this is not what I want to hear. La la la la la. La la. I don't need age-defying skin secrets, thankyouverymuch.
There's really nothing to complain about in being thirty. I don't feel old and creaky yet and I haven't found any gray hairs or wrinkles (though I haven't looked very closely, la la la). It's just so final. This is my last day to ever be in my twenties. Even thinking optimistically, a third of my life has passed.
To the people I see regularly, I'm the quintessential stay-at-home mom, unshakably responsible and with little time for anything but dishes and child care--but this is still such a small part of my own life, only one-sixth. In my head I'm just as irresponsible as ever, propelled by a kaleidoscope of ever changing new ideas and completely indifferent to when the dishes get done.
I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I still don't really know what I'm doing, but I've faked it for so long I'm beginning to fool myself. I still have a lot of dishes to wash today.