All My Friends Are Turning Thirty

Ryan O'Connell
Ryan O’Connell

All my friends are turning thirty and they’re getting married in backyards and at wineries in Santa Barbara and people are giving toasts and crying and I’m trying to cry too, but mostly because marriage means change and it means life is just turning into a series of vignettes, a few pops of Major Events before the ultimate nothing. You can see it now, the crostini you’re nibbling on at the wedding, and then the pita bread you’re dipping in hummus at the baby shower and then the pretzels you’ll be eating alone while you catch up on the phone about how crazy your lives are and yes, we need to see each other soon, girls weekend, reconnect, sounds great, talk to you in eight months.

All my friends are turning thirty and they have decent amounts of money, which allow them to eat $16 heirloom tomato salads once a week, even though no one can afford a house and maybe they never can and that’s okay, sure, sure, it’s fine but wait, I’m sorry, will we ever retire, just kidding, don’t tell me, I want to be surprised on my deathbed.

All my friends are turning thirty and their lives are getting busier and smaller and all the clichés of a year going by in what feels like a second are true and I wish it wasn’t, I really, really do. Because it means that everyone was right about everything.

All my friends are turning thirty and they’re happier than they’ve ever been and if they’re not, they hide it pretty fucking well or, at the very least, wait to have three glasses of wine before they start talking about this permanent low-grade sadness they’ve been experiencing. There’s no culprit, no asshole boyfriend or terrible job to pinpoint the blame on. It’s just called “paying attention” and it will probably be this way forever and I guess this is just how people feel and no one ever talks about it???? Like, you’re happy, you’re stable, you stopped destroying yourself, but just because YOU got better doesn’t mean LIFE got better.

All my friends are turning thirty and their parents are turning sixty, sixty-five, and their brains are getting slightly dulled, the mid-afternoon rests are getting more frequent and you know, without a doubt now, that they are going to die, which makes you understand a little bit more why people choose to have families of their own, so that when their parents die, they have something of their own to hold on to and give them purpose. You get it, you get it, you get it, so should you just start having kids now and tell them when they get older, “Hi, I had you so life could make a little bit more sense for me, sorry.” Or is that too cruel?

All my friends are turning thirty and they look good. Their faces are lived in now, they’ve been paying rent on them for probably four years now, and they look mature without looking fried. They’re going to look at pictures of themselves from this time and be like, “Wow I was hot. I hope I knew how hot I was.” But, of course, you never really know anything until you’re forced to live with something different. (Think about this for a second, then quickly unthink it: One day, your child is going to post a picture of you when you were thirty and their friends are going to comment “omgggg they were such a babe!!!!” and you will see it and feel very sad and old. Ugh. If that doesn’t just send a shiver up your (still) sexy and young spine, I don’t know what will.)

All my friends are turning thirty and they love to say the word “no” and they love knowing that they’ll never have to go to something as meaningless as an acquaintance’s housewarming party ever again and they love talking about all the bad things they used to do because it allows them to quietly brag about their own progress. They find comfort in being “boring”, in no longer throwing up in stranger’s toilets or giving their heart to a dick with a great dick. They surprise themselves less but that’s okay. The surprises were never that good anyway.

In short: Their lives are getting better and better.

And harder and harder. TC mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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