Last year, I turned 30. That’s supposed to be one of those “big deal” birthdays. People attach certain things to it. If you haven’t graduated from school, found some kind of career, gotten married and/or had children by the time you’re 30, you have undoubtedly been bombarded with a ton of annoying loaded questions about the status of these alleged milestones. These days a lot of those things are no longer thought to be a given or even necessarily desirable (check out this NYT story), but nonetheless, people still feel the need to be nosy and let you know you may have failed in some crazy netherworld where their opinion of your life counts.
The next big birthday after 30 is 100. Yep. Of course each and every birthday between 30 and 100 is significant, but it’s really not until 100 that you have that next “big deal” birthday. Sure, 50 is big for anniversaries, but for birthdays, it’s just kinda “eh.” People don’t expect you to be so different than you were 10 years earlier or be laden with boundless wisdom. Random old ages get a little shine, but 100 is really the goldmine. That’s when no matter what your life was like, you are the wisest of the wise and everyone wants to listen to you not just because you might have something useful to say, but because it might be your last words. You can also get away with being extraordinarily rude because, hey, you’re old. You deserve to spew a little venom.
I turned 31 today. Last year, I wrote a post that was an imagined conversation between my 30-year-old self and my 20-year-old self. On my 30th birthday, I got lots of jokes about being old and tons of questions about whether I was at a place in my life where I thought I should be at 30. This year? I got lots of messages from family and friends, but no “old” jokes really and nobody asked if 31 looked like I thought it would. I mean, it’s 31 not 30, not 100.
It’s fine though. I’m okay with my birthdays being less and less important for the next 69 years or so. I treat everyday like it’s my birthday, meaning everyday is special. I don’t need no stinkin’ candles.