I have to share something with you has absolutely nothing to do with travel. Not really, anyway. It’s a little narcissistic. I hope you won’t mind.
Ready? Here goes: It’s my birthday.
I know. I’m positively tickled. I love birthdays. Entire days dedicated to eating cake and wearing party dresses. It’s not unlike what I imagine heaven to be.
I suspect I might be in the minority here. I’ve met a lot of folks who absolutely abhor birthdays, and the inevitable aging that goes along with them, but that’s something I’ve never really minded. Every year I spend on this planet, things just seem to get better. After three decades, I’m really getting the swing of things. I now listen to NPR voluntarily, and not just because I’m trying to impress a boy. I’ve become quite adept at walking in heels. As the years go by, stinky cheeses taste better and better. And the Muppets now hold another level of humor that I never understood as a child (if you haven’t experienced this phenomenon for yourself, I highly recommend you rewatch The Muppets Take Manhattan. The puns! The double entendres! A cameo by a delightfully young and handsome Elliott Gould!) Plus, with adulthood, I’ve found I’ve almost grown into my nose. Not quite, but almost.
Really, I hope the fashion magazines and Hollywood get wind of this, because growing older is fantastic and it’s so easy.
And yet, and yet, and yet … this year, I found myself a little sad. Because 30 was really, really good to me, and I wasn’t quite ready to let it go.
30 was the year when things started making sense. Do you remember those “Magic Eye” posters that were all the rage in middle school? (Or depending on your age, it might have been college/high school/elementary school/infancy. And if you are in that latter category, why on earth are you are reading my blog when clearly you should be napping?). They were a messy pattern of dots, like static on a TV. But stare at them long enough, and you would eventually, and rather suddenly, see an image. That’s how 30 felt to me. Suddenly, amidst all the nothingness, something appeared. In the case of the Magic Eye posters, it was usually it was a T-Rex. But with my life, it was something grander. Like the realization that I could skip an archeological museum and instead spend the day roaming around the city eating chocolate. That getting miserably lost is okay, because my hotel is always a cab ride away. That no matter where I went in the world, as long as Rand was with me, I was home.
30 was the year I stopped shrugging my shoulders when people asked me what I did. It’s when I answered, without too much sheepishness, “I’m a blogger.” 30 was when I started walking around with comfort and confidence (and, okay, fine – a good measure of neurosis, too, because this is still me we’re talking about). Can you blame me for not wanting to let go of such a wonderful year?
But then I thought about 31. Thirty-one. All the legitimacy of the year before, all the confidence and comfort, and then some. The word even starts with thirty! It’s out there in front, leading the charge for all the numbers that follow. 31. 32. 33. All the way up to 40. Forty! Can you imagine? It sounds positively regal. Maybe I’ll even get a few grey hairs. Then no one will be able to mess with me.
“Yes, I AM having cake for breakfast, sonny. I’m forty. I can do that.”
And suddenly, I’m excited all over again.