I blinked, and suddenly it was October 31st, Halloween, and the first year I can remember in which I’ve not dressed up or attended a single party. This has always been one of my favorite holidays…I guess you can say it’s like a part of me has died*.
So as I sit here in pajamas at 8:30 p.m. on All Hallow’s Eve, eating homemade pumpkin peanut butter balls (that I made myself!), watching re-runs of Friends, I think it’s important to put some words to the internet page about what it’s like to be the 30 year old me.
Five Truly Scary Realizations About Being 30
1. My dessert-defying metabolism days are over.
I mourn this lost the most. It happened immediately and abruptly, while I was still on Thassos celebrating my birthday. “Two birthday cakes?” my grumpy new metabolism said. “Ha! We’ll see about that. Good luck conquering more than one bite of cake #2,” and in fact, I had to secretly pawn it off to Niko, the singer of a band with no name.
2. Energy. What’s that?
Prior to turning 30, I would run up the mountain near Archodissa, sprint downhill on this 7-mile loop, often on only 4 hours of sleep. But after I turned 30, I would get mayyybe half-way up, dragging my leaden feet, trying not to dry heave, and I would think, “Maybe I should turn around before it gets dark.”
Not to mention: sleep. I want to sleep ALL OF THE TIME. I’m getting an unprecedented eight hours at night–can you imagine?–and I’m still tired! I will fall asleep at 11pm and struggle to get out of bed the next day at 7am. I tell myself it’s because the mornings are dark. And it rains a lot. And it’s starting to get cold and winter is on its way. So maybe when I turned 30, I actually turned into a bear and this is my season of torpor.
3. I became domesticated. Sort of.
Part A: Cleanliness
I now have a weird sense of urgency to wash dishes after I use them instead of rinsing them off and leaving them in the sink. And I wash my sheets with regularity (in the two months I’ve been back from Greece, I’ve already surpassed last year’s count), which is notable because I find it INCREDIBLY CUMBERSOME to deal will sheets. I hate them! They are large and resist folding and are not easy to change. And yet, there I go, monkey climbing on my mattress to get the fitted sheet stretched out evenly into the corner of the bed.
The struggle is real.
Part B: Cooking
I would be lying if I said that boiling water was one of my skills when I was 18. I remember having a minor breakdown in high school when my friends wanted me to make macaroni and cheese on the stove and I had no idea where to start. Not a lot has changed over the years, something that surprises most people when they also find out I am a food writer.
The beginning of the transition into cooking (“cooking”) happened last year after my first Writing Workshop in Greece. My workshop leader showed us how to mince garlic and taught us when to add it to a sauté (the last 30 seconds!) and other incredibly useful tips that I’d never known. So I came home from that trip feeling empowered and motivated to cook, only to realize I’d spent months of living in my apartment and didn’t have a cutting board or a proper knife. Baby steps.
This year, I’m a new woman. Granted, I’m not baking lasagna or tossing together chicken vovousalos, but I use my stove and/or oven on a weekly basis. And because it’s so remarkable, I took a picture as evidence to send to my mom.
4. Enter pills and ailments.
I don’t yet have a pill box, a long plastic storage case with compartments for every day of the week, but I’m getting there. My kitchen and bedside table look like a pharmacy, with all the vitamins and supplements and immune-boosting additives I must take JUST TO STAY NORMAL. And suddenly I desire to attend evenings at the yoga studio where I can listen to a “sound bath,” and this weekend I bought calming essential oils. Thankfully, I’ve not yet resorted to discussing my ailments as dinner conversation, but the friends I talk to regularly have gotten used to me saying, “This is probably TMI, but…”
5. Socializing is hard work.
Hence my being at home on Halloween writing a blog, having cancelled all of my plans with other humans.
(In my defense, I did intend to apply for a writing contest, but I waited too long to start.) I will rally to go out for one or two nights a week, but beyond that…well, please refer to #2 above. And because of #1 and #4, I’m *trying* to eat healthier, and that makes going out to restaurants only a fraction of the fun. Who wants to sit at a bar and sip diet ginger ale with a side of hummus? Where are the pumpkin pie martinis and chocolate cake!
This “new me” has scared many of my friends.
6. But behold: Life anew
After all these horrifying realities of no longer being in my 20’s, there is, I must admit, a light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s a bright light, the morning sun rising over a new decade, full of promise and possibilities.
But you’ll have to wait for it because the details are pending. Stay tuned.