On turning 30…

Make a wish!
Make a wish!

I turned 30 last week.

It’s one of those things I sort of never thought would happen — much like winning the lottery or meeting John Mayer — but, it turns out, the unbelievable can happen, and we’ll all grow old and turn into our parents.

Well, maybe.

I grew up believing that age was just a number; life is completely what you make it. And I really did feel that way until my 25th birthday… 26, 27, meh, okay, then 28 hit and I was really starting to feel old. When I turned 29 last year, I was REALLY feeling it.

I was feeling so old, in fact, that I used the space in my weekly column to talk about it:

And it’s not about crow’s feet or what’s on my driver’s license (I still get carded, so that’s a positive), it’s more about what I’ve accomplished.

In Baton Rouge, we judge people on where they went to high school, and then we judge them on their wedding, their spouse, and their kids.

With none of those things (I didn’t go to high school in the South), I start to wonder about my checklist. [Read the entire column here.]

In the weeks leading up to my 30th, I was really feeling the pressure — more than I’ve ever felt it. There were days when I woke up hopeless. It was difficult getting out of bed (more than usual) at times. I felt the regret from financial woes that I felt should have been resolved by 30.

I felt embarrassment that I still haven’t found a good “career job,” and often, I still feel like a kid. I wish I had more in my savings account and less debt. I wish I could actually get a fucking handle on doing laundry and keeping up with the dishes. I long for a day when I can actually relax; perhaps read more for fun or work on the tan (it was looking great last summer).

At 30, I pictured myself living in a place that was at least put together — you know, where the things match, the dishes aren’t from Wal-Mart, and my house wouldn’t be in complete shambles every single day.

But that’s not my life, and sometimes, I don’t know if it will ever be. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t breakdown and cry more in the 14 days before turning 30 than ever in my life. I questioned a lot of things about my journey, and was really looking for answers about the turns I know are coming.

I get a lot of flack for being a diehard John Mayer fan, but the truth is, I feel such a connection to his music. I started listening to his debut album, “Room for Squares” when I was 16. He was 25, and his stories about high school, college, and finding himself hit home for me.

With each album of his, I feel we’re aging at the same rate — so many of his songs hit my heart right when they need to. And no, I don’t need any religion other than that. So, while right now I’m incredibly living by his track, “Stop This Train,” one from his latest album, “Born and Raised” is also describing my life right now:

“If I ever get around to living, I’m gonna put my things away, in the drawers and in the closets, and there I’ll stay… If I ever get around to living, it’s gonna be just like my dreams” (If I Ever Get Around to Living)

In my head, I know that my life is taking the course it was meant to take. But I just have to get that through my heart and soul. I know I can’t compare my life to that of my parents’, my colleagues, my friends, or really… society in general. My path is my own.

Each week for me brings new adventures, new challenges, though my schedule is always quite packed. This week, I’ve got 40 hours of my retail job, two “career” interviews, and three freelance deadlines. Perhaps I’ll hit the gym; maybe I’ll get some sleep, or read a few pages for fun.

So, what did I do for my 30th birthday? I’ll save that adventure for a post later this week. But I’d love to know how YOU felt at 30, or what birthday made you get the FEELS?

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