Sunday, February 19, 2012

We got older but we're still young

I turned 30 last week, and if there is a more definitive sign that the good times are over, I can't think of it.

First of all, my smart-aleck family wanted to put 30 candles on my cake. Not candles in the shape of a 3 and an 0, but 30 small fires blazing away on my birthday cake. The result was the largest dessert fire you've ever seen. You could feel the heat coming off of the cake, and when I went to blow out the candles, I singed my eyebrows.

At first I thought it was funny, but when I realized, “Your birthdays candles can heat a medium-sized room,” I got a little sad. In some ways, turning 30 makes me feel weird.

For one, I am admittedly not in the best shape of my life. I went to the store to buy a shirt but all the stupid shirts were “Athletic Fit.” I wanted to grab the store manager by the lapels and yell, “What if I'm not athletic? This is America, and I know I'm not in the minority. Where are the rest of the shirts?”

Also, I'm cranky. I complain incessantly about how much stuff costs. I tell the same stories over and over. I talk about how bad I used to have it and how hard I worked to get where I am.

And then soon after my birthday I went to a punk show with my sister, who is 11 years younger than I. I've been going to shows for years but this time I felt out of place. Do you know what an outlier is? The bands were great and I had a good time, but I felt so old surrounded by all these younger people. Then I had a revelation.

Everyone there was trying so hard to be cool, and I realized that I don't have an interest in being cool anymore. It was replaced by the need to survive. Paying bills, coordinating schedules and the baby's temperature are taking precedence over cool things, and it's nice to be free from that pressure.

They were wearing clothes that were really stylish and only a little bit comfortable, and I was wearing clothes that were really comfortable and only a little bit stylish. They were flailing around at the front and I stood at the back because taking an elbow to the face isn't as novel as it once was.

Ultimately I ended up feeling pretty good about turning 30 because I'm pretty satisfied with how everything is going. I have a wonderful wife, a healthy baby who is starting to sleep through the night and the three of us have big plans. I am happier now than I have ever been. I may be old, but I'm doing ok.

You may think that last paragraph was cheesy, but I'm 30 now, and that means I'm old enough not to care.