This won’t be the last post about 30, but it is the first
I’m turning 30 at the end of this month. I didn’t think that needed to be a big deal, or that I would feel any significant feels about it. I didn’t think we should do a big celebration. I didn’t think 30 meant much to me, until it crept up like ages tend to do. And it started to feel like something big.
Overserved: the idea that age is anything but a number.
30 is not the new anything. It’s just a box I’ll check soon.
I met a new running buddy a few weeks ago through the Oiselle team. She lives down the street, wanted to run trails, and jumped in to join us for a race after meeting me once. She’s new to the area, a fresh college graduate in a very new-to-her-world, exploring this new home on her feet. That’s my kind of runner — the same blend of internet finds and risky behavior gifted me with my best friends in DC. I was 23 at the time. That feels like it could have been last year, but it was seven years ago. She’s speedy and adapting to the adult life quickly. I feel an urge to show her my city, to explain through running and friendship that somewhere new can feel like “home,” because I want us all to properly meet the District before making a judgment (though I know we don’t love it all the same). I had such an incredible first year that I feel like everyone else should, too! But especially running people. (I wouldn’t be surprised at all if you’re reading this and thinking “Yes, yes, she is very into group running and miles around the Mall…” with a thinking face.)
As the senior showing the freshman around town, I felt 30 creeping up on me. I felt the maturity that has aged through my 20s into a flavor that’s bolder and saltier, a texture that’s a little crunchier on the outside, but much softer underneath. A maturity that is more comfortable on its own, minimal or no seasoning needed. One that can be okay if you run with me in DC or San Francisco and still decide the city isn’t for you. I’ll get over it. (As long as you come back to visit and tell me, so we can run together again!)
During a recent podcast recording (we’re working on it!), Molly expressed her umbrage that anyone is “too old for” anything, but especially to be curious about the world. (If you’re curious: in this specific case, the “world” was Snapchat, and thinking it’s just for the “kids.”)
During the last week of June I was in San Francisco, soaking up every ounce of low-humidity air and California sunshine. The soundtrack to my Sunday run was a podcast, of course, that literally stopped me in my tracks. There was a bench right there — waiting for me to pause and process, as they do, but didn’t cry this time. I stood on it to stare at the Golden Gate bridge for a little perspective, and narrated a note on my iPhone so that I wouldn’t forget anything from this particular flow state. As I thought about 30, three things had to be noted: bravery, failure, and imperfection. A reminder to hide less, and share more. To write less*, and say more. (*But often.)
In the opening of a recent issue of the newsletter Lenny, Lena Dunham credits Sheryl Sandberg with the decision to celebrate her 30th birthday “in style…insisting milestones must be treated as such, that celebrating yourself is a right, not a privilege.” Which sounds way more fun that pretending like 30 is no big deal, and thinking back three, four, or eight-plus years from now unable to answer the question, “How did you celebrate your 30th?” because it was so prosaic.
I still have a few weeks to relish in my latest-of-late 20s, and I will do just that. Because I also want to remember how I wrapped up a decade that has given me marathons, cross-country moves, new family members, career changes, the people who have taught me to be bold and soft, and the experiences that provided the opportunities to do so.