Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The relief of turning thirty..

(Or self-indulgent rambling as a gift to myself)

I'm one of those people (and by those people I mean nearly everyone) who is prone to finding myself choking on thoughts of my own mortality at three in the morning on any given day that I stay awake too late without a real distraction (you know - like Xbox). Two years ago, the idea of the "Big Birthday" was enough to tie my belly up in knots for a couple insomniatic hours. Despite this fact, when the BB actually rolled around, I woke up feeling calm and content. I haven't been one of those people who gets excited about birthdays for years - I've never been one to throw or attend birthday parties for myself or anything like that - a nice dinner is more than enough. The thing about my birthday that has always made me the happiest is that I share it with my mom - a fact that I feel has always made us just a little bit closer and made birthdays seem just a little more special in their own quiet way.

So I woke up feeling warm with contentment - and why shouldn't I? My best friend and the most fun person I've ever met was curled up warm against my back, the sun was just starting to pour over the Alps right outside my window, my bedside table was littered with amazing novels I've finally had the time to finish, and an ice-cold glass bottle of fruit-flavored black tea sweetened with brown sugar was waiting for me in the refrigerator. This is a far cry from my life four and a half to five years ago, when my boyfriend (not my future husband either though a very nice guy in his own right) was living far from me in another state, I was moving from a crappy job to a stressful one, I was leaving a gross city for another gross city and I was living with barely one month's rent in my bank account at any given time. Doesn't sound like much fun, does it?

Well, a lot of it wasn't, which is why turning thirty has come as something of a relief. My life now is so much calmer, yet more fulfilling than it was in my twenties. I feel like I have a much better sense of who I am and I'm more comfortable with that person - bizarre sense of humor, still-mainly-black wardrobe, big butt and all! I'm getting to the point that I feel like I have some experience to write from and things look a little clearer than they did five to seven years ago. I would like to think I worry a little less about what other people think - their opinions certainly aren't as paralyzing to me as they once were. Despite the calm that has come to some parts of my psyche, I still find myself getting completely enraged over things that would best be blown off and ignored - maybe that level of calmness is reserved for the 40-plus crowd. I still overthink things and probably always will. I still have a tendency to become overwhelmed by guilt when I've done nothing and I'm still too much of a perfectionist. Despite these facts, I feel like I'm aging well physically and mentally. Sure I have streaks of gray - and have had them for at least five years - but they're laced through huge handfuls of coarse blond hair and pretty much invisible to everyone but me. No wrinkles or anything like that so far - no doubt thanks to a combination of my black-clad teens and twenties, my late-night and overnight work schedule, and my obsession with sunscreen - not to mention some good genes (thanks mom and dad). My brain is stuffed full of books and ideas and feels much more productive than in my food-and-drink-slinging restaurant days. Even better, my painting seems to be slowly improving.

Exactly four years ago today, I was on the cusp of massive change and completely unaware of this fact. For anyone who reads this and doesn't know, I met Mr K on his birthday four years ago in four days.... or on 18 May 2004 to be less confusing. Nothing was supposed to come of it - we chatted online and I thought it was sad he wasn't doing anything for his birthday, so I suggested we meet up and go out to dinner - tacos, of course! I remember sitting next to what passed for a duck pond in Northern Virginia - really just a muddy hole next to the highway that someone thought would be improved by the addition of some over-wrought-iron (ha ha - did you get that?) benches waiting for him to arrive. We had a nice dinner and a fun chat but nothing out of the ordinary. Within two weeks, the details of which we won't be disclosing, we had become pretty much inseparable even though it took us both five or six months to realize what we had. Exactly two years later we were too busy worrying about our wedding (23 May 2006) to get into the whole birthday thing. Mr K had his BB just five days before we got hitched, leading to several weeks of "if you're not married by the time you're thirty, you wanna marry me" jokes. One year ago today, Mr K was getting ready for his first trip to Fribourg to check it out and decide if we wanted to move here.

When he opened the door to leave for work this morning, Mr K found a thick white envelope with my name on it - a birthday note and a tin of chocolates from our sweet neighbors! Things like that remind me of how wonderful this move has been for us. Two years ago I told Mr K I wanted to take a trip to Europe for my BB - today, as the BB arrived, I live here and I'm thankful for it everyday.


Carl E said...

I think the BB isn't all that bad. Most people tend to think of it as some sort of turning point, and the light switch to adulthood will turn on. Morons I tell ya, all of them!! :-) Just kidding!! Take it fom us, the older folks, you're only as old as you feel!!

Kahuna1 said...

Happy Birt-day birt day, happy birt day day birt day birt day

We love you

Mom and Dad

SquidViscous said...

Happy birthday! Welcome to the 30+ club.

Miz K said...

Thank you thank you thank you! Happy to be here!

Jen said...

I know exactly what you meant with your title - after all the buildup, endless jokes and nervous nail-biting, turning 30 ends up being almost a non-event, and it's certainly a relief to be done with it! HAPPY BIRTHDAY though, and welcome to the club!

Ars said...

Haha, we're old!