How does it feel when you hit 30? Hear it from the writer who just celebrated her 30th birthday.
I thought 30 is something I will not be. Ever. It was like a distant relative who didn’t know my address so I never expected its visit. I thought 30 will never find me.
It is like 30 is a powerful entity, sitting on me, its weight is suffocating me and I cannot breathe. Or is it just gas?
I always wanted to be a citizen of a faraway land where I will never be 30, where the denizens once they reach 29 will remain so all their lives or maybe better a place where age would not be a factor, where ‘age’ is no different to ‘ega’- some random letters put together which makes no sense. Age? What Age? What does that mean?
I wasn’t ready to be 30 and there I was on my 30th birthday turning 30. I wanted the world to collapse-not exist-forget dates-wanted the date certificates to get mixed up-wanted everyone to become amnesiac. My mother had three babies by the time she turned 30 and I, her daughter am unmarried and 30. So by the time I get married I will be in my mid-30s and by the time my son/daughter goes to school I will be in my 40s and when they are in college I will be what dead?
But now that I am 30, I cannot escape it. When I had to blow the 30 candles in my birthday cake, it hit me hard that I was growing old. And the cake was etched with a gigantic 30 on it. The realization that the growing old process is irreversible is distressing. It is not just the wrinkle, it is more than that. The problem runs deep. You are constantly reminded of being 30. Every kind of forms requires you to fill in your age. Couldn’t the person in the ophthalmologist’s clinic just write my name and since he was partly deaf, I had to say it loud. At first it was a hush t-h-i-r-t-y and because it was a muffled 30, almost inaudible to myself, he asked again. So the second time I said it, it was a very quick and loud thirty like a sound. He didn’t hear it since it was just a sound produced by the turning and twisting of my mouth more than the enunciation of a sensible digit and he assumed to hear something but the number didn’t register in his mind. So there I was saying the most hated word in the longest manner possible. My pronunciation of 30 lasted for 30 whole seconds but I felt like it reverberated and stayed in that hospital corridor for 30 whole minutes.
My enemies aged, my mother and grandparents and my neighbors aged- not me. I believed 30 is something my friends and seniors and relatives are and my enemies were/are/ will be; but not me. 30 is like near death age. What can you do after you become 30? Nothing.
Should I climb mountain, should I change my job, should I go bald, should I go have sex with a stranger or kiss a female, should I hitchhike and travel the whole of Asia, should I withdraw all my savings and start my own business, should I marry, should I adopt kids, should I go out and shout and finally declare to the whole world that ‘I am 30’? I can never acclimatize to this notion.
What is required of me? Why can’t I treat it like a number? What is the fuss about 30 anyways? Do men have the same problem? And surprisingly they do. “I always felt young at heart and so when I turned 30, I didn’t realize it. There is a saying in Newari which when translated means that one becomes more responsive when he/she turns 30. And I feel the same. I feel more responsive now that I am 30,” says my male friend. Many of his friends got married immediately after turning 30 but he has been spared so far. So does that mean that 30 is the age to get married or it is the late marriageable age after which you can’t find a suitable partner? Or should I conclude that 30 is a mystical age, self-questioning age, or you are supposed to get revelation once you turn 30 and I am yet to find mine.