Certain birthdays have significance. 10, for example: Double Digits! Any elementary schooler knows that the difference between a schoolyard Sally and the Queen of the Concrete is that oh-so-essential bump into the next tens spot.
But all being 10 really means you’re that much closer to being 13. Bar and bat mitzvahs! Boobs! Pimples! Periods (although let’s be real – the last girl who didn’t get her period until she was a teenager was Marcia Brady)! Your parents cry because they are aging! Teen angst! A feeling of being trapped that lasts Five Whole Years!
Truly, a gem of a birthday.
Then there’s the slew of rights and responsibilities that come as you dive from your teens into your twenties: 16 brings driving, 17 brings the age of consent, 18 the ability to buy cigarettes (if you can figure out where they’re hidden in the drug store these days) and lotto tickets, as well as to vote and join the military, 19 brings something in some Midwestern state, and, of course, 21: the right to legally subject yourself to a decade of embarrassing Instagram pictures brought on by your desired alcoholism.
After that, though, the only real big birthdays are the ones that are multiples of 10, anniversaries of that first important entry into double digits. At 30, we transition from Hot Mess into Minimal Stain, and hopefully have established some semblance of civility and cash flow. At 40, women run their fastest marathons, so there’s always a silver lining within the menopause and the inevitable divorce. 50 is halfway to 100, although let’s be honest: The halfway mark of most people’s lives happens in their 30s if they’re lucky. In short, if you make it past 33 amd you still are that much about your birthday, you’re either sexually frustrated, a customer that I’ve inevitably waited on during Restaurant Week, or both.
(Important to note: 25 is and will always remain the most traumatic birthday of my life, for reasons I don’t think I knew then and certainly can’t recall now. Plates were broken, tears were shed on the camión from Tacubaya to Santa Fe, a watch was purchased at the Swatch store, and I distinctly remember the creation of cupcakes that may or may not have ended up with porcelain shards as topping. I still cringe, and apologize again to the ex who bore witness. #QuarterLifeCrisis.)
Cutting to the chase, since I’m in Charles de Gaulle Airport and they’re calling my connecting flight to Geneva, all this dramatic backstory is meant to frame the fact that, five days ago, I turned 30. There were far fewer tears (none, in fact) and many more oysters. I feel pretty legit, what with the job (#LameButLucrative) and the boyfriend (#LongtermLove) and the Pinterest apartment (#IkeaChic). However, thirty is thirty, and no amount of DOE money (seriously, though – people want to pay teachers MORE? Greedy, greedy assholes.) can change my innate makeup, a.k.a. the need for transatlantic speed in times of turmoil, or, at the very least, times of impending wrinkles and gray hairs. It can, however, aid it immensely, specifically with the purchase of airline tickets.