You can stop trying to do the math. Just as this post is bound to be, it is just a long winded way of saying that I’m turning thirty. Tomorrow.
So what? you’re thinking. People age every day. It’s better than the alternative. Age is just a number. You’re only as old as you feel. Blah blah more cliches blah.
You’re not wrong. I’ve been aging for the last 10, 597 days, so I am reasonably well-versed in the process. A good number of those days have been difficult, but many more of them have been fun, or comfortable, or beautiful.
For reasons that I can’t quite place, thirty is especially hard for me to come to terms with.
Half a lifetime ago, I was a high school freshman, writing in my diary about turning fifteen and all of the hopes and dreams that were brought about by it. I wrote about switching out of my honors math class and how embarrassed I was because I had never struggled in a class in earnest before. I was hopeful that the new class would bring up my GPA. I wrote about I had just broken up with my boyfriend of three weeks. I didn’t say why, but I remember a huge part of it was that I had developed feelings for his best friend (as I did for most boys who I spent any amount of time with in my adolescent years) and I thrived off the drama of it all. It was okay though, I had assured my Microsoft Word document, written in purple Comic Sans. I had already set my sights on someone else. I didn’t say who, because I was vaguebooking before it was even a thing. I did note that I was wondering if he liked me back, presumably because it was the only question I felt was unanswered. Everything else seemed answered. Known.
I could fill an entire encyclopedia volume with the things I didn’t know on the day I turned fifteen. I didn’t know that mystery boy would not reciprocate my feelings. I didn’t know that I would hate the new math class so much that I would just stop going, choosing instead to wander the halls with a few friends I had recently made. I didn’t know that I would fail the class, and subsequently give up on my grades. I didn’t know that I was already surrounded by some of the most important people I would ever meet.
I mean, how was I to know that the quiet girl who sat next to me in World History and listened to me wax poetic about my sordid “love” life and sometimes talked about weird things like Dodge Neons and black and white TVs would one day become godmother to my firstborn.?
Or that the cute best friend of that ex-boyfriend, who wore his hat backwards and reminded me of Shawn Hunter, would be the person who awaited me as I walked down the aisle, nearly half a lifetime later?
Or that the same ex-boyfriend’s little sister would become one of my dearest friends, help me find my first apartment, and do a reading at my wedding?
Who would have thought that, seven years after I wrote that diary entry, my middle school nemesis-turned best friend would be happily in love with one of the guys who I used to skip algebra 1 with?
Or that a guy I had never spoken to in my French class, who I would eventually coerce into taking me to his junior prom, would later introduce me to the first person I ever fell in love with? Or that, soon after, he would begin dating one of my best friends and that they would stay together forever and ever, amen?
And really, I could not have possibly imagined that the random friend of a friend that I had hung out with once after school would be the first boy to break my heart, the person who saved my life when I believed it wasn’t worth saving.
Back then, I didn’t know that any of these people would leave a lasting mark on me.
Looking back though the second half of my timeline and all of the things that have changed makes me equal parts nervous and curious about all of the things I still don’t know. What am I going to look back on five, ten, fifteen, or even thirty years from now and say “Wow. I never would have guessed.”?
But as my favorite philosopher once said, “The consequences of our actions are always so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is a very difficult business indeed.”
I don’t have any math classes or ex boyfriend’s relations to set the course of my life on a different path as I write this equivalent of a diary entry on the eve of my thirtieth birthday, but I would like to think that my future holds a few more certainties than my teenage self’s did. I guess there’s only one way to find out.