Being 30

As opposed to turning 30, is a peaceful experience. It’s a hard feeling to pin down, but being 30 has put a calm and steadiness over me that is about the last thing I’d expect from aging. The best way that I can describe it is that as a 30-year-old, you have a license to be an adult, in the best way possible.

I think my entire young adult life, I had this driving compulsion to be flighty or irresponsible, immature as a badge of honor. Which isn’t a bad thing. There is certainly a value to such a way of life, and I adore my 20s. But now, it’s like I can exhale, rest my bones.

I was having this conversation with Mary, and she was asking about how long I’m going to live in Denver and stay at my job. I told her I didn’t know, but at least a couple of years.

“So you’re taking your commitment (to the job) pretty seriously?” she asked.
“Well, yeah. But it’s not just that. I think I’ve hit a point in my life where two years goes by so fast that doing anything for much shorter than that doesn’t seem to make sense. Which is totally the opposite of how I used to be. It was hard for me to envision doing anything for more than a year.”
“Yeah, I used to be like that too. I used to dictate my life based on that,” she said.
“Yeah, me too. Like if I ever faced a choice of sticking with something versus moving on, I’d always cut and run. It was like an assumed rule of life.”
“Oh, totally, like the whole world is this wide open place for you to explore at will,” she said.
“But not anymore, because you realize there are millions of places and things you’ll never have time to experience, so you might as well try to experience a handful of them thoroughly.”
“And the older you get the less attractive it seems to leave something behind every year,” she said.
“Otherwise, you would live a life made up of dozens of tiny lives, all left unfinished,” I said.
“Wow Tate…”
“I know, I’ve grown wise in my old age.”
“And your hair is thinning,” chimed in Phil.

All of this isn’t to say that I sit around in a lazy boy with a pipe and robe, and go to bed before nine. Quite the contrary. And I think too often we confuse youth with an enthusiasm for life and new things. That never has to go away. Unfortunately the energy and resiliency does.

I was talking to my mom about this on my birthday, and she concurred. “My whole life I’ve wished I could have the perspective I had when I was older, but the health and energy I had when I was younger.”

And that’s the fucking bastard of it, right?

And also, I feel like I can wear Converse now, and be the cool older guy who wears Converse, instead of the guy in his late 20s pretending he’s younger than he is.

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