Thirty is supposed to mean a lot. The fact that, on this day (and, in fact, as of this very minute), I have officially completed 30 years of life on this planet is meant to be epochal in some way.
I can’t completely disagree 🙂 The run-up to completing 30 has been eventful, to say the least. I finally moved on from being a student. I’ve moved into parenthood. I’ve moved locations in the US.
Yep, those events are each epochal in some way. But turning 30 in itself (and no, I don’t mean the terrible-even-for-me movie)..
The 1st of January that just went by served to remind me quite forcibly of where my friends (and hence myself) are in life, so to speak. Most of the people I pinged to wish greetings for the New Year spent exciting, fun-filled evenings… quietly at home. Hell, more than one person (including me) may not even have realized when the clock actually struck 12: being otherwise engaged in such exciting activities such as changing their kid’s diaper, putting their kids to sleep, sleeping themselves, etcetera. Now, while I can’t claim that I am (or ever have been) a party animal, the sheer calm acceptance of the New Year… the unsaid fact that, in the end, the 1st of January is just a day that succeeds the 31st of December, was very striking.
Everyone is getting older.
Lest I be misunderstood, I still have stimulating conversations with my friends contrasting ‘Bichchoo’ and ‘The Professional’. Last week, I watched ‘Justice League: Doom’, ‘Superman and Shazam: The Return of Black Adam’ and so on. I keep telling G that I have to figure out how to fit in some gaming somewhere (and she, of course, smiles sweetly in reply). Heck, when a 7 year old recently visited our house, the two of us spent an animated hour talking about my Transformer toys. Hallmarks of growing older? You tell me.
So as I turn 30, I can wax nostalgic about 20-year old memories: ‘Jurassic Park’ came out in 1993 and is incidentally one of the first movies I have a distinct memory of watching on the big screen. As of 2013, ‘Baazigar’ and ‘Khalnayak’ will be 20 years old. A.R. Rahman’s ‘Roja’ is 21 years old and is still as mindblowing as when I first heard it. What else.. the terrible 1993 Bombay blasts happened 20 years ago. ‘Informer‘ (another sort-of-first for me) was all the rage on MTV back then. ‘Myst’ and ‘Doom’ debuted in 1993. South Africa’s ridiculous 21-runs-off-1-ball incident was already a year old, and the world was still marveling at Jonty Rhodes.
Y’know who else used to tell me about 20 year old memories 20 years ago (e.g. Sholay and Gavaskar)? Yes indeedio.. uncles, dads, and other old people talking about things that were way older than I was. And now, it appears I am one of those people.
Time has inexorably brought me to this point. And as much as I may try to clutch at straws that serve to keep me connected to being a kid (even though, as G never fails to remind me, I have a kid now), they are but straws. Not anchors to days past. Life is moving on, change will happen… a lot of it well out of our control in any way. Yes, I do have people around me who find this stuff just as inexact and confusing.. which merely makes it a little less scary (or more scary depending on how much of a pessimist you are). When I talk to my friends, it never fails to amaze us how long it has been since we know each other. In some ways, it feels like the 10 or 15 years we have known each other have sped by. In fact, turning 30 will mean that I have known some of these people for almost 20 years. Actually, at this point, I should probably stop keeping count of such things and just bask in having companionship of such caliber.
Hitting this age also means that you really start feeling how those bedrocks of adulthood you have grown up with are now so much older. And with that comes the realization of how frail they are becoming. Of course, they may outwardly appear to be doing great, but it is in the small details that you see the tell-tale effects of age. Which means that ever so slowly, whether you realize it or not, the tables are turning… the bedrocks of adulthood will soon need you to be the bedrock for them (in a manner of speaking). 10 years ago, you may have been living in some form of denial that this day would never come. But it must. And guess what? That day has crept up on you while you were turning 30.
On the flip, I’m watching the little one growing up now (it has been 4 months already!) and I’m seeing her learn the many things we don’t realize that we actually learnt… abilities that seem like you just sort of knew — as far as you can remember. Yeah, it means you have come far, but more importantly, it tells you how very far the little one has to go. A very different, agile, evolving responsibility from any other. Whether you are a parent currently or not (or even plan to be a parent), by turning 30, you are officially setting up a platform in some way for those who are currently 20, 10, or 0 now. Probably going to have to start teaching someone something, maybe even mentoring them. From here on out, you can’t get away from it by saying you’re not even 30 anymore. Because you are.
Last but never least, 30 merely serves as a marker for the completion of 3 years (plus 3 days) of my marriage to G, and a little bit more than that for our relationship. While there are many things we have done together, there is the promise of the many things we have still to do. And therein lies why turning 30 is not as scary as I might have thought it would be when I was 25 or 20.
The hope. The promise. That 30 marks a beginning.
Of a journey towards 40: something to really look forward to.