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On Turning 30

On Monday, May 20, I turned 30-years-old. But I’ve been celebrating this new decade for days.

Last week, I found a playlist of the top hits from 1994, the year I was born. We ran through it dancing and laughing to some familiar (and unfamiliar) songs. It was so much fun that, a few days later, I decided to listen to the top songs of 2004, the year I turned 10. From wherever I was in the apartment, I would periodically stand up incredulously—”This song came out when I was 10?!” Often, the horror came from my adult brain realizing that I had absolutely no business singing that song at age 10. 

On the 2004 playlist, an Alan Jackson song came on, “Remember When.” (Fact check: the song actually came out in 2003.) I hadn’t heard the song in years but I made my partner stop everything until we got to the line I most remembered hearing on the radio growing up.

Remember when 30 seemed so old // now looking back it’s just a stepping stone

I don’t feel old. And yet here I sit, the oldest I’ve ever been and the youngest I’ll ever be again. And here I sit with surely some faint memory of what childhood Liz thought 30 would be. And almost certainly, childhood Liz thought 30 was ancient. 

On a roll, I figured why not one more. Top songs from 2014. Age 20. Before I began, I thought about a love song that was popular then and when it was the first one that came up I felt instantly transported back to my last year of college. What did I think of 30 then?

All week I’ve been unlocking memories, reflecting on time, and telling my loved ones how genuinely excited I feel for this new decade. There is so much rhetoric online and elsewhere about what timeline we should be living on. What we should have by certain ages. What we need to do by a certain time because otherwise “it’s too late.” 

There are whole industries built around promoting anti-aging. 

It’s a mainstream joke to talk about turning 29 over and over again. 

After all, who wants to keep growing up, keep aging? 

Oh but isn’t growing up a privilege? And isn’t it unjustly denied to so many?

I am not just excited to turn 30. I am humbled. 

I am grateful for everything that got me to this point. There are seemingly endless turns where things could have wound up differently. And yet, as I type this, I can sincerely say that life is good. That I didn’t just turn 30… I turned 30 with joy.



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