A lot has been going on in the last few weeks. Phil and I got married and, within two weeks, so did the rest of our head table. KR, my former roommate and friend of the last seven years turns 31 today (happy birthday, miss!), and while at dinner earlier this week to celebrate our other former roommate announced that she and her husband will welcome their first child in January. Phil’s best man and his wife welcomed theirs yesterday: a beautiful seven pound girl.
When I told Phil about our friend’s news, he delightfully replied, “They’re growing up!” That sort of resonated in the last few days, particularly as Kim, the newly minted 31-year old, approached her birthday with the same anxiety she does every year, as though 31 or anything close to it is ancient. (And Kim isn’t even the oldest among our friends!)
Age used to be a big theme in my blogs. In our mid-20s, we would have all echoed Kim’s fears about celebrating another birthday and (gulp!), getting older. Funny, how you’re in a rush to do that when you’re much younger. In a hurry to grow up. But when you’re in your early and mid-20s, just out of school (and for most of us, grad school), and still new in careers, you’re in a hurry to fulfill all these (probably unrealistic) expectations you and others carve out. In careers. In relationships. In just being. And any trouble in getting there makes you feel like you are just endlessly spinning your wheels (hence, all the drinking), and another birthday is just a reminder of how much older and less successful you’re being. Ironically, it was our other roommate, The Other Mrs. C. who, when we shared a house together in Virginia seven years ago, expressed fears that at 30, she would still be single, broke, and living with roommates. Now she is happily married and expecting (wee!).
We’re only a few years older now, but damn if a lot doesn’t happen between the time you’re in your mid-20s and your late-20s/early-30s. Things start to feel more… manageable. There’s a recognizable sense of stability in at least some of life’s major markers of personal achievement. Like mobility in a job (or… a sense of career!). Satisfaction with relationships. Permanence in place. Whatever. Even Kim, who’s trepidations about birthdays may be largely rooted in her worries about being perpetually single (a pain in the ass at any age), still has a decent job (and actually related to her degree!), financial independence, and a close-knit family and group of long-time friends. 30 isn’t infinite bliss, but it’s a hell of a lot better than being 25.