This Sunday is my 30th birthday. Send help, or at least vodka.
I’ve been pondering for the past few days on the fact that I’ll be turning 30 in a few months. For most of my adult years I’ve looked upon this date with much trepidation, panic attacks, and hives. I don’t know if it’s the loss of my youth I’m worried about, the toll that aging will take on my body/face, or the fact that I’m going to be dead one day that freaks me out. Probably a combination of all of those things.
I’ve also been saying for years that I’ll go skydiving for my 30th birthday, and seeing as I’m utterly terrified of heights, I’ve been racking my brain for excuses to get out of it. I can just see it now: ridiculous woman falls face first into a vat of pig excrement – oh wait, that’s been done before, by my British alter ego, one Ms. Jones.
I am her in so many ways. Charming on the surface, but utterly disastrous on the inside. Fighting the good fight against weight gain, attempting to quit smoking (again and again and again), trying not to drink too much, and generally making a fool of one’s self while trying to keep the outward appearance of being put together and fabulous. I’ve never ironed my hair or shagged Hugh Grant, but sometimes I do think my life is one giant turkey curry buffet – I’m standing embarrassed in the corner trying not to draw attention to my ridiculousness.
Despite all this, the interesting thing about being me right now is that the closer I get to 30, the less and less I fear it. I’m actually looking forward to turning 30! I never thought I would say such utter nonsense. After all, our lives as women are inundated with dropped hints that the older we get, the closer to that sell-by date we venture, the less we’re worth physically, emotionally, financially and so on.
Eff that, I say. Bring on the expiration date. I might be the only jug left in the fridge but that just means I’ve got more room to dance.
I’m probably the most neurotic woman I know. I’m certifiably insane. I’m a rambling, klutzy, moronic and often kooky kind of dolt. For the entirety of my 20s I’ve struggled with presenting this image of being incredibly put together, without flaw or fault, without emotions, even. When in reality I’m a hybrid of the aforementioned Bridget Jones and Susan Meyer from Desperate Housewives.
Now that I’m getting older I realize that nothing could be more charming than a goofy, creative, somewhat stumbling lady. And that’s exactly what I am. I will say the wrong thing. I will ask the dumb questions. I will tuck my skirt into my tights and walk around with my ass showing. I’ll be the one with lipstick on my teeth, a cliffhanger in my nose, and a longing to be fabulous. I’m Edina Monsoon twenty years early. And I am SO OKAY with that. In fact, I have never been happier to be this clueless.
I think that with turning 30 comes a certain self-awareness that some of us are lacking in our younger years. A certain kind of calm confidence, a settling into ones own skin. Despite the fact that my skin is no longer perfect, I have wrinkles around my eyes, and I look tired more often than not, I feel more attractive than I ever have. I finally had the nerve to go platinum blonde this year, after 20 years of wistfully wishing I had the guts. I finally learned to accept that yes, my weight will fluctuate, yes, having a c-section has forever altered my body, and that no, I will never, ever be ‘perfect’, and that striving to attain that ideal is a waste of my time. Despite knowing all those things, I still manage to look in the mirror and see something attractive. It has taken me many years to be able to do that.
Obviously in the entertainment world and elsewhere it’s still incredibly hard for women of a certain age, specifically over 40, to make their mark without facing extreme adversity, condescension and naysaying. It is incredibly unfair, and I applaud those successful women who don’t listen to the mustn’ts and go about their business with confidence and poise. Despite all the negative, it’s a great time to be a woman, no matter what your age. Our opportunities will never dry up if we don’t let them. It’s just a matter of grabbing every opportunity you can, making your own luck, and working hard at what you care about. Anything is possible with minds like ours!
As for me, I’m just so happy that I have the life I have. It’s not near perfect, but I’ve come to realize that perfection would be pretty damn boring with a mind as restless as mine. I strive on adversity and challenges. I need to have ‘cock-ups’ from time to time to keep life interesting. After all, what would I write about otherwise?
So yeah, I’m the American Bridget Jones. Neurotic, anxious, sometimes annoying (and yes, a member of the Mr. Darcy fan club – ding dong!) and always endearing. Whatever being in my 30s has to offer – wobbly bits, and then some – I’m prepared. Bring it on, 30! This dame is ready for you.
Picture Credit: Bridget Jones Diary, film