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Life Happens: Turning 30: It's better than the alternative, right?

June 9, 2011 at 1:09 a.m.


By Aprill Brandon

You never think it could happen to you. Oh sure, you know it happens to other people. You've heard the stories. It may have even happened to some of your closest friends. And yeah, you feel bad for them.

But you?

Impossible.

That is, until the day you wake up and realize that you, too, are on the cusp of your 30th birthday.

Yes, dear readers, I am about to turn 30. I have officially been alive for three decades.Three decades.

Three decades?

Three decades!

If I were clothes, I'd be considered vintage. If I were a boy band, I would already be staging my pathetic and ultimately doomed comeback. If I were Scotch ... well, I'd already be drunk by me in order to help me cope with turning 30.

Oh, how I want to be one of those women who approach 30 and aging in general with grace and confidence. But no. No, I am one of those women who approach it kicking and screaming and clutching my anti-wrinkle cream to my chest as I rock back and forth in the fetal position (and then burst into tears because I just did the math of how long it has been since I actually was a fetus).

Oh sure, I know that people say 30 is the new 20. And deep down I realize that 30 is still incredibly young in the grand scheme of things. But certain ages are considered milestones in our society and 30 is by far the most notorious. It is the unofficial age when youth ends and "serious" adulthood begins.

Like, "401k and watching Charlie Rose" adulthood.

Granted, there is some good news. With age comes experience, and experience translates into wisdom (although that equation isn't completely universal judging by the number of times I've given myself orange hair highlights). As much as I've tried to fight it, my three decades have given me some valuable insights.

For example, my first decade was spent as a child of the '80s, in blissful ignorance of just how bad I looked in neon, mismatched socks and permed poodle hair. But in between amassing permanent scars from Slap Bracelets and reading Judy Blume, I took away some very important life lessons.

Lessons learned:

Tomatoes are icky (but Elmer's Glue is delicious).

Becoming Maria from "Sesame Street" is not a viable career option.Your face actually won't stay like that.

Cursing in front of your grandmother is NOT advisable.

Getting sent to go stand in the corner on your first day of kindergarten is highly traumatic and something you will still be bringing up 25 years later.My second decade was spent as a teenager of the '90s, in blissful ignorance of just how jaded I really wasn't, despite what my uniform of purple lipstick and facial piercings projected.

Lessons learned:

Parents just don't, like, get it.

The really deep thoughts you have that no one else does (and no one else understands, man) need to be written down in really lame poetry form in a notebook covered in Nirvana stickers surrounded by scribbles of Fiona Apple lyrics.

Being a poser is totally the worse crime you can commit.

Sometimes people are just so ... ugh.Boyfriends come and go, but the Ramones T-shirt you stole from them lasts forever.

And my third decade dawned at the age of the Internet takeover and blonde, gyrating, interchangeable pop stars. But despite the inexplicable rise in popularity of former Mouseketeers (and hobbits), I slowly became an adult, learning some of the most important lessons of all.

Lessons learned:

Tomatoes are still icky (but now, so is Elmer's Glue).

Your face may not stay like that, but evidence will be left behind in the form of wrinkles.Any lame poetry you kept in a notebook as a teenager should be burned, else your husband discover it one day while spring cleaning and then continue to quote it back to you for the next six months ("There's a calm over the rage/In the burning hollow of my bloodshot eyes/Eternal blue haze forever in the way").

Speaking of husbands, (with hope) they don't come and go, but regardless, at least they are legally required to share at least 50 percent of their Arctic Monkeys T-shirt with you.

Turning 30 means you now officially have 10 years to prepare for turning 40.

Aprill Brandon is a columnist for the Advocate. She plans on getting her first 401k any day now. ... as soon as someone explains to her how to do it - and, more importantly, just what the heck a 401k is.

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