On Turning Thirty

Today I found myself thinking of something not entirely unusual for someone my age; I found myself thinking of Mr. Rogers.  More specifically I was remembering his sand table. How he stood, peacefully building bridges and pyramids with his hands. It came to me as I potted plants atop our table, spilling dirt everywhere. That same quiet. Ah. Nostalgia, recognition, and all that.

Not that thirty, for the two weeks since I’ve become so, has been all reflection and serious learning. Unexpectedly it has been a riot. Surprises after surprises, courtesy of D + family + friends, that I can’t speak of without vigorously shaking my head. Instead, I’ll simply say that the people I find myself surrounded by at 30 make me feel more accomplished that I thought I was. This is the most apparent thing – that somehow small successes throughout my life have added up to me being thirty, beloved by some.

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birthday dinner

Less apparent is why I mysteriously abandoned the blog that is largely defined by turning thirty. A blog faithfully written for three years. A list whose promises I had endeavored to keep. It is a question I’ve tried to answer often, before changing my mind. A question that no longer needs to be answered, not really, after all this time. But I write you because I want to, today. Today we finally, properly say goodbye to trentechoses, and hello to something new.

I will start with the truth.The list remains incomplete. I never rode a hot air balloon. I didn’t read 30 favorite books of 30 favorite people (more like 15 or 16). And I never did figure out how to run into someone famous, much less invite them to tea. Revisiting the list for a moment, and asking what I expected to accomplish, we can wonder at who I had hoped to become. I’d be fluent in French, Brazilian Portuguese, an expert pianist and violinist, who ballroom dances on the weekends, steals all your money in poker, and can sew your wedding dress (or bake your cake) in case of an emergency! Basically James Bond, international bridesmaid. And I guess more truth would be that I don’t really feel the loss of this person.

Perhaps this is a cop out. But I must concede that the 19-year old who wrote this list was a consummate people-pleaser. And, while I haven’t completely outgrown this habit, I do see where its boundaries are. The limitations of my “dream” self.

And what is keeping me from completing some of these same goals in my thirties? Likely I thought having these talents would only be impressive when young, when I wrote the list. Now, impressing people aside, more interesting is whether or not they are useful. Edifying.

Of course, I didn’t have it all wrong in my twenties. I miss the patience I had for things. The exuberance. And though it came at the expense of his health, caregiving for my father taught me some of the most important lessons of my life. The lesson I am most grateful for? Learning how much I genuinely enjoy my parents. I savor time with them (and Gigi) completely.

The list was also good to me. Though nonsensical, the pursuit of it brought creativity and beauty to days otherwise filled with bleak hospital visits and endless frustrations. I also caught a fish, wrote many love letters, grew gardens, and gave away art – and felt the joy of these personal accomplishments. The list started conversations, involved my closest family and friends. And maybe this is why so much time has passed between my last post and today – because the life this list helped grow is so fulfilling outside of the Internet, I couldn’t resist enjoying it.

One last illumination? In my twenties, I did manage to meet and marry the hottest man on earth. And when you’re married to the hottest man on earth, it’s really hard to concentrate on typing.

All this said, I want to thank you for reading and listening. It has meant a lot to me, and I will miss writing to you in this way. If you are ever interested in reading more, I now write with a different purpose. In July, I was published in Hippocampus Magazine, and have appeared more recently in 100 Word Story. More work is not far away. You can also follow me on Instagram or Twitter @e_letters, to say hello and share my life in California!

As for turning thirty, it surprisingly suits me. Fits and flexes. I am enjoying the little bit of confidence that comes with it, its peace. And does it deserve its own list? Yes, I think it does. I can tell you some of it. Write every day. Bake a perfect mille-feuille. Continue learning music, languages. And most importantly, work harder, building in the sand with a head bent so low only the bridges and pyramids can be seen.

Goodbye my friend, and good luck with all your endeavors.

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4 thoughts on “On Turning Thirty

    • Thank you friend!! And of course you are a great part of why 30 is a blessing! Think we will have more fun in our thirties than we had in college!!

some sugar

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