So, I’m thirty. Today.
“Drew Barrymore just turned thirty,” stee says from across the breakfast table. He’s got that tone — hesitantly trying to cheer me up.
That’s how many people have approached me over the past week. “Soo…” they start. “Someone has a birthday…?”
Like they expect me to stop them in the middle of their sentence. “Birthdays are cancelled!”
I’d like to reschedule this birthday later in the year. Not because I want to prolong being in my twenties, but because I know this is the kind of birthday where you’re supposed to sit back and really reflect on what it all means, and right now I just can’t. Or maybe I don’t want to. I had a pretty rough twenty-five, so I doubt the next year could crash and burn like that one did. My twenty-nine was fucking fantastic, so thirty should be still riding on those fumes. In any event, this birthday appeared while I was busy and it’s way too close to the last time everybody got together to celebrate me (with stee). Maybe I’ll have a big ol’ birthday party in June. That’s really when I have the time to turn thirty, think about what it all means, and decide what I’m going to do with the rest of my life.
I always wanted to be on one of those Thirty Under 30 lists. So much for that. 35 Under 35? Here’s hoping.
I’m lucky that stee’s making a big deal out of my birthday, as he does every year. I’ve never been the kind of person to throw up my hands and shout, “It’s my birthday! I’m older! Celebrate me!” But stee’s so happy there was an April 4 and thirty years ago it made me. I love that man. “Is he going to make you a cake again?” my sister asked. “He was so proud of his cake.” He really was. It was chocolate, and leaned to one side, and it was iced in pure love. I think it was the first time he’d ever put something in the oven and it came out a different product, because he seemed as in awe with the magic of cake as he was in the magic of me.
Actually, now that I think about it, stee really loves cake. I bet he was in awe of how easy it would be to have cake in his hands at all times.
As my twenties came to an end, many of the touchstones of that decade began coming to a close. From each I learned something, but I assume the real wisdom of the experience won’t come until I’m older.
I went to Aspen, which was a goal since starting this website. You can build something up in your head, the idea of it, until there’s no way it’s going to be what you want it to be. It couldn’t be. When I imagined Aspen, it was a world where I didn’t already live in LA, and I didn’t have an agent and perform when I want to and make a living as a writer. I went there having some of the things you go there to get. Consequently, it was more like a gig than an opportunity. Enough time hasn’t passed for me to know all the things I did incorrectly, but I still have the feeling that something was missing from me or my show while I was there. I had an amazing time, that’s for sure, but I think I should have done something more, or something different, to make the show stand out in a way that it didn’t. It was a great reminder that even when you’ve reached a goal, there’s still more just outside your reach, and that more is exactly what you want now that the rest of the stuff is behind you.
I’ve been seeing that often in my work lately. The Oxygen show is dead. My time with the movie transition of Why Girls Are Weird has come to a close. I’ve stopped recapping Gilmore Girls. Some of these projects have been almost daily parts of my life for five years. They were the things that got me past that terrible twenty-fifth year. It’s hard to let them go, but walking away gives me a freedom I hadn’t anticipated. I’m excited to see what will become the next big thing. I’ve thrown myself wholeheartedly into this book rewrite. Usually I’m working on a few projects at once, but this time I wanted to focus completely on getting this one, to see if it’s different when there’s only one thing that needs to be done. It’s harder, I’ll admit. I’m accustomed to switching from one train of thought to another. My brain still wanders, thinking about the script I’m going to write next, wondering if I should work on that pitch I’ll have to give soon, pondering over the other book I’ll soon be writing. I’m trying to use that itchy desire to move on to push me to the end of this rewrite. I’m older. This is my job now. This isn’t something I’m trying to do with my life. It’s my life. That’s a very different headspace, too.
“How’s married life?” People ask us that quite a bit. We’ve been married over three months now, and it’s truly the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. This man is perfect.
I’m thirty and married and a writer and a homeowner. Some of the things I do would have probably bored the hell out of me five years ago. Some of them are exactly what I would have wished for myself.
I’ll push that crisis of thirty onto thirty-five. I really don’t have time to be disappointed in myself. I’m too busy enjoying right now.