by Veronica Louis

Image: Veronica Louis

This week I turned 30. Three whole decades old! Holy smokes! 10 years, plus another 10 years, and adding another 10 years for good measure… Perfect recipe for age gain (because there is no such thing as age loss).

What is the difference between being 30 and 20? Besides the obvious mathematical answer, for me there now is a real sense that time is beginning to run out. It’s as if I am an hourglass, and at first there was a lot of sand in the top bulb and I was all like “Tra-la-la-la-la, I have all the time in the world.” But then what happened was that I suddenly noticed that the top bulb was no longer full of sand, and that my narrow opening seemed wider allowing the sand to flee at an increasingly alarming rate.

Call me bleak, but if I were to be totally honest, turning 30 is a little scary. Sure, being “young” is relative, but when your age no longer begins with the number 2, all of a sudden you don’t feel so “young” anymore and you’re officially projected into adulthood where important life choices might need to be evaluated or re-evaluated or just made, period, so that you’re at least on the path of leading a fulfilling life before all of your sand ends up in the bottom bulb and it’s game over.

What’s cool about the hourglass is that it accurately shows the present being between the past and the future, unlike other forms of time measurement. And it is that clear visual representation where I can see that the top bulb is what needs to get done, the bottom bulb is everything I’ve been, done and seen, while the narrow opening reflects my current now and since I can’t block that opening, the only thing left to do is try to make every grain of sand in the top bulb count. So for me, there’s that pressure that I should have my sh** pretty much figured out by now, have clear goals and objectives and be working towards something or someone or something.

So in celebration of my turning 30, and in honor of carrying out goals I have decided to make this 30th year the year I write and complete a novel. And guess what the novel is about…

Well, it is only fitting that I’m working on a novel about turning 30. This experience will only come once in my lifetime.  And living it comes in handy as I’m writing my book, The 30-Year-Old’s Guide to Turning 30 (working title of course). I intimately understand the internal existential melee that comes with the whole losing a lot of sand situation. And for my protagonist, turning 30 forces her to re-examine her life and to take a closer look at who she is and where she is heading. Luckily for her, this re-examination takes her on a wondrous journey that allows her to acquire a lifetime of invaluable experience (despite the obstacles).

As for me, deep down I know that it’s just a number. And I’m just grateful that I’ve made it this far, that I’m healthy and have the privilege of doing what I love. I’m grateful that I get to write, I’m grateful that I can write about anything and I’m grateful to be alive.  And while turning 30 isn’t the biggest deal, I’m happy that it makes me think that much harder about my goals in life.

10 + 10 + 10 might always add up to 30, but life isn’t about numbers, it’s about living. Fromage? Just a little bit. But sometimes a little cheese is good for the 30-year-old soul.

So to all of you out there who have just turned 30, or about to turn 30, I salute you for making it to adulthood! And I hope that the trickling mass of sand in your top bulb is saturated with amazing, awe-inspiring, kick-ass experiences.

A toast:

Toooooooooooo 30!

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