On Turning Thirty
Last Saturday I turned the big 3-0
It wasn’t as awful as I expected.
I really feel no different, other than having these dark circles under my eyes that were caused by neither staying out too late nor drinking too much. Apparently, they are just part of who I am now. Oh well! Other than having these insufferable dark circles, it was a nice day, all in all. My mother-in-law kept Chase, and Allen and I went out on a date. I got dressed up, did my hair and a full makeup. We went to my favorite shops and I bought myself some new clothes and some fancy, high-end makeup. We finished the night with dinner and drinks at an expensive restaurant- all things my twenty-year-old self enjoyed.
It was nice to have one night that kind of embodied my twenties- care-free indulgence, mojitos, and prestige cosmetics.
It’s Not *that* bad…
If my twenties were fancy dinners, nice clothes and mojitos.. my thirties will likely be debt repayment, laundry piles and sippy cups. But it isn’t all bad… and while there are a thousand other things I should be doing right now, I really wanted to write a new post, so, that’s what I’m doing. I *really* need to straighten up the house, pick up the toys, finish the dishes. But, sigh… they’ll just regenerate overnight anyway. They always do. While I won’t say I’m plagued by ennui, I am certainly visited by it from time to time. It isn’t that I am unhappy, quite the opposite,I am happier than I’ve ever been. It’s just that from time to time the daily routines of domestic life can become overwhelming in their insipidness.
Oddly enough, my boss’s boss perfectly captured what it means to be thirty in this hilarious, if not somewhat depressing, little anecdote. Paul is my boss’s boss. He is “Italian by way of Brooklyn” (his words, not mine.) He’s eccentric, a masterful baker, intimidatingly-intelligent, hilarious (often without meaning to be), and occasionally… quite terrifying. I ALMOST didn’t take my current job because I was so intimidated by Paul but as it turns out, I actually really like him. He doesn’t mean to be terrifying, I’ve figured out, it’s just… being from Brooklyn and from an Italian family, well you get it. Sometimes he blurts out non-sequiturs, or goes off on a political tangent. His frequent diatribes are expected and often amusing.
It Only Gets Worse…
So, we always celebrate office birthdays and upon hearing that it was my 30th and that I have a toddler at home, he says to me, “When I turned 30, I said to myself, ‘Well, this is it… the rest is just shit.’ and you know what? I was right! Congratulations, you’re entering the galley-slave years! Do you know what I mean by that, ‘galley-slave?'”
I’m sure the look on my face was a mixture of shock and bewildered amusement.
“I, um… well, not exactly…” I stammered, as is my graceful way.
“See, when you turn thirty, and especially when you have kids. All you do is work. It’s just work. You wake up and you go to work. You come home and you work. You know? Back in the days of the Romans, and the only was to get around was by boat and these boats were powered by people… you know, down in the galleys, just rowing and rowing and by the time you reach thirty, you know. You’re not exactly in your prime anymore, and so you’re sent down to the galley to row. So you’re a galley-slave at thirty. I’m telling you. It just goes to shit. Thirty until sixty, it’s just shit.”
At this point, I’m laughing so hard that tears are starting to trickle down my face. But also, partly, I was crying because it is SO TRUE.
It’s Not ALL Shit…
While I keep thinking back to Paul’s story all week, especially as I do my evening chores, hoping to have maybe an hour to myself each evening to exercise, read, or tackle some writing… I try to remind myself that it isn’t ALL shit. It isn’t ALL work, and while most of it is work, it is work that I enjoy. I like my job. I love my family. So, while I am just rowing, rowing, rowing, day after day after day…there is some pleasure in the journey. There is the occasional quiet evening with lavender tea and a good book, or a rare moment of absolute cherubic sweetness bestowed on me by my child, lazy mornings snuggled up on the couch with my husband. All of these things make the rowing worthwhile. It isn’t all shit….