I honestly did not expect to feel apprehensive about my 30th birthday. I’ve never considered 30 to be old and after a few decades of people consistently underestimating my abilities because of youthfulness, 30 seemed to represent a legitimacy of adulthood I expected I’d embrace with open arms. But as my birthday drew nearer I felt the dread mounting. Now, I’ll be honest, I’m kind of known for being a bit negative about all of my birthdays, but this year my level of enthusiasm was abysmal. It didn’t help that my birthday fell on Black Friday – it just didn’t seem like a good omen. To try and feel better about it I looked up countless lists about what’s so great about being 30 and came to the conclusion that I am not your typical 30-year-old. It should have made me smug and confident that I apparently have my life more together than the average 30-year-old, but then I mistakenly googled “great things about being 40” and I related much more to those lists. I’ve always been very proud of my general maturity, but suddenly worried it had cost me the carefree youthfulness everyone else my age supposedly spent the last decade enjoying. A few days later when I couldn’t remember my debit card pin at Costco and had to write a check I mentally saw a woman twice my age fumblingly in her purse for a pen. My soul felt old. The only young thing about me was how childishly moody I was being about my birthday.
I don’t know if everyone could sense my dread (they probably could, I’m not great at hiding my emotions), but my family really pulled through to make 30 be a celebration. My mom made some of my favorite foods for breakfast and then watched the kids so Noel and I could go to the Brigham City temple with my sister, Hope, and her husband, Joe. My dad grilled salmon on cedar planks for dinner and Noel made a delicious S’mores cheesecake for dessert. Everyone’s gifts gave me a good laugh. My parents gave me 30 gifts, some serious and thoughtful (new running clothes) and some weird and hilarious (care bear folders and a wristband proclaiming, “Band against porn”), and Hope and Joe gave me a bunch of things in quantities of 30 (pennies, lbs of flour, cough drops, etc). To cap off the day, Noel whisked me away on a surprise getaway to the inn in Cache Valley where we spent the first night of our honeymoon almost nine years ago (if that doesn’t make me feel dated). I’m still feeling a little ambivalent about turning 30 and thus far have not been overly impressed with what this new decade has dealt me (an awful cough and my first real job rejection), but I’m glad that I have a good support network around me that will stick by me and love me unconditionally until I come to terms with my age, real or perceived.