People always seem to hold such high expectations when it comes to birthdays, be it their own or their friends’. And somehow, those expectations are always heightened by a milestone birthday: 16, 18, 21, 30, 40, 50, 100… It almost feels as though marking the end and beginning of a new decade of one’s life is something that must be met by a considerable amount of pomp and circumstance.
But as someone who has forgotten her own birthday more than once, I think the fact that I have lived to see 30 without slashing my wrists is a good enough accomplishment.
So I was immensely moved when my girlfriends insisted on at least a dinner party to ring in my 30th birthday, which we did two nights ago, because everyone is busy this weekend, and I’m supposed to be packing for my impending trip today. And it was during said dinner that I took a moment to look around and wonder how I could have survived this year without all those people at the table, especially the love of my life next to me.
It was one of the things I thought about on Thanksgiving night. As I sat in my living room and contemplated what I was most thankful for this past year, I realized it was the people around me. And for someone who has never been good at making and keeping friends, that is saying a lot. I went from being a socially-inept misfit to having a small but solid circle of friends who not only accepted me, but supported me in the worst of times — especially in this year — so as far as milestones are concerned, this is something worth celebrating.
A year ago, I was sitting on the 38th floor of the Grand Hyatt, contemplating the unhappy circumstances of my life, while my best friend was one foot away, trying to make me happy at midnight. If that had been any indication, my 29th birthday was the catalyst to what would be a horrifyingly insane year, and at that point, I couldn’t wait to turn 30 so that I could say I had finally left the foolishness of my twenties behind. And now that I really am 30, I realize that while I have definitely left some of that foolishness behind, I’m also left debating what draws that painfully fine line between foolishness and happiness.
As with all the previous birthdays, I’m not where I thought I would be at 30, but looking at everything I’ve lost, gained and learned in this year alone, I’m pretty damned glad to be where I am anyway. So hello, 30. Aren’t we surprised we got here (even if we did get some white hairs along the way)?