Apr 9, 2016

My Best Friend Turned 30 and I Had a Meltdown

     I'll be 30 somewhere in the near future and for the last couple of years I couldn't wait until that day arrived. Looks-wise, I've always been perceived as younger than my actual age and people have since forever been shocked when I gave them the exact number so of course it would simply be a dream to say I'm thirty when people presume I basically just started college — the shock value would be priceless. Although I'm not quite sure just how I've been able to surprises people and hide my age in the face of all the nights filled with alcohol and nicotine and other stuff (sleep deprivation of course, what else??) I've endured. For example, even last week when I went out to eat, the waitress, obviously still in school, brought me a downsized student menu, thinking I still apply for a student discount.
     With a beaming, elated grin, I told her: "Bless your heart, dear, but I'm too old for the student menu, you'll need to bring me the other one," so I can order whatever the fuck I want.
     She seemed a tad confused so I added: "I'll be thirty soon," still with the overjoyed smile in place. She politely smiled back and brought me the menu, but I could see a flash of bewilderment (and maybe even a hint of revulsion) on her face when I so triumphantly said thirty. Yep, the scary thirty surprisingly isn't all that scary to me, although I've known people who were, are and probably will be scared shitless of the big 3-0, but not me, I always thought the sooner the better as I found my impending old age amusing. But then things were about to change a few weeks ago.
     This story actually had its foundation laid way before that, in 1957 to be exact — that's when the part of the house I live in was built. Since the construction's that old, it has a number of issues, one of them being humidity. And when I say humidity, I mean there-have-to-be-places-in-India-during-the-rainy-season-less-humid-than-my-bedroom humidity. Actually forget India, I'm sure there are places under the ocean less humid than my bedroom so no wonder I'm pulling moldy shirts or moldy pairs of pants from my closet on a regular basis which, of course, bugs me profusely but I still manage to joke about it, most often in relation to my upcoming seniority like I did not too long ago.
     "I don't get how come we even have these problems," I told my boyfriend when I tripped over the cord of our dehumidifier for the billionth time. "Shouldn't my dried up old vagina suck all of the moisture out of this place?"
     My boyfriend almost chocked on laughter but eventually managed to say, "That's a good one." And I hindsight, it really was a good and funny one, but maybe it was funny because it wasn't true, which also applies to my other ha-ha-I'm-old running jokes I was constantly throwing around. But then, a few weeks ago, my penchant for joking at my own expense was about to be jeopardized: the first day of spring came and with it one of my favorite person's birthday.
     Naturally I congratulated my best friend for reaching the venerable thirty with a perfect mixture of cheesiness, wit and banter pertaining to her newfound 'old timer status', but had already prepared a pep talk or two just in case the big bad thirty was rough on my friend. But to my surprise, the pep talk preparation turned out to be superfluous as she responded by saying that she felt no pressure whatsoever because she was exactly where she'd wanted to be at thirty: she has a kid, a house and a husband, all that's missing is a decently paid job. And thus my world happily spun along. Until something happened and everything seemed to stop in its tracks. What happened? I saw something. I saw this.
     In case you can't speak Slovene, I'll give you a hand: that ageist piece of pure evil says 'YOUNG AUTHOR'S LITERARY COMPETITION: COLUMN. MC Hiša mladih Ajdovščina invites writers to take part in our column writing competition. The competition is open to anyone under the age of 29.'
     That right there, how they seemingly innocuously paired 'young authors' with 'under the age of 29' prodded something in my brain and I remembered just how my back hurts most days when I get up. And how my eyesight is getting increasingly poorer and poorer. And how my tooth hurts for no apparent reason other than the fact that it's been in use for so many years. And then, for an adorable cherry on top, that frigging text my best friend sent me popped back in my head like a flashing, throbbing neon sign.
     And the sign wouldn't shut off. Not even when I got back to work. Not even when I went to cook lunch. Not even when me and my boyfriend sat down to eat. "What the fuck are you doing with your life, you loser?" it glared. "Your career means shit. Your life means shit. You couldn't even take care of the only thing that really mattered to you, for fuck's sake." And so before I knew it, I was bawling in my risotto and my boyfriend's fork stopped midair as he gaped at me gobsmacked.
     Sure, he tried to talk some sense into me when I calmed down enough to tell him what the fuck was going on in my jumbled mind, but of course he failed — after all, men, at least straight men, are, let's not kid ourselves, ill-equipped when it comes to handling melodramatic emotional messes. So I decided to call in the big guns and contacted the agent contributing to the detonation of my meltdown — the birthday girl.
     After pouring my overemotional heart out in a text way too long for even a roll of toilet paper, I waited with my phone in my hand and the radiating neon sign in my head for her to reply. After only a few moments, the answer came and it said: What are you talking about? You're living your life just how you've always wanted. You have a job, a boyfriend and you moved out of your mom's. Ok? Ok! And you can travel and get drunk basically every day. I can't.:(
     The thing is, though, even if she could, she wouldn't, because she doesn't drink — ever. But the fact that she said it to me in the time of need makes her one of my favorite humans in the whole wide world, because I, on the contrary, value that. I value and appreciate the fact that I can get drunk every day. Not that I do or that I  would  will, but just the notion that I can fills me with extreme calmness. Some call it a love for freedom,  my mom  some call it proneness to alcoholism, but be what it may, that's all it took to put me at ease and I was cheerily back to making jokes about my old vagina and wondering how come it doesn't creak when I walk. But then yet again something fucked up my blissful happiness: Mother's Day.
     Here in Slovenia we celebrate Mother's Day on the 25th of March just before Easter. And again, naturally, I put together a heartwarming, witty text equipped with some cheesy photo and mom called me after work to say thank you — or at least I thought so.
     After indeed thanking me, my mom finally revealed the true purpose of her call and said, "Honey. I have to tell you something. I've actually called you to tell you that ... that this year's the last year you're getting an egg for Easter."
     Wait, what?! "What are you talking about? No, it's not."
     "You'll be thirty this year and thirty is the cut off point for chocolate Easter eggs, I'm sorry."
     "That's a load of ... Where does it say that?! The Chocolate Easter Egg Bible? Even Christ got to live till thirty-three before they crucified him! I don't care if I'm over thirty or over seventy, I'm getting my Easter egg," I said assertively, willing to fight for my right to a chocolate Easter egg. I have the fondest childhood memories of those eggs involving my brother, that shit means something to me, no way I'm giving that up, under or over thirty, fuck this. (And the chocolate's kind of nice too.)
     But as the conversation went on and she insisted on standing her ground, I simply told her, "You know what? You know what, mother? I'm taking my Happy Mother's Day text back!"
     Of course it was all in good spirits (except for the part where I insisted on getting a chocolate Easter egg until she's alive) but after we bid our adieus, my mind got hung up on that thing again, that number. Thirty. I will be thirty soon. Should I be freaking out? Am I already freaking out? What if me dying my hair grey recently is just my subconscious giving the finger and beating getting old to the punch? Should there be a neon sign flashing in my head?
     And as I was mentally reaching to flip that switch and turn on the sign again, I remembered something — some saying. Age is nothing but a number? No, not that one. Something a bit less clichéd: Some people die at twenty-five and aren't buried until seventy-five. And just like that, I forgot about the switch, the sign, the number because you know what? I think I'm still pretty much alive and kicking, thank you very much.
     Although ... My left knee does kind of hurt when I've been kicking for a while ... Drat.

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