I'm currently 31 years old. A million years ago, when I was rapidly approaching my 30th birthday, I tried really, really, really hard not to succumb to any of the cliché pressures that can cause a full-blown 30-something meltdown. I thought I had mostly succeeded in this quest until I found myself, on The Big Day, out to dinner with my parents and their best friends inwardly freaking out about the fact that my life was surely crumbling to pieces. It was an awesome night. I also had gnocchi and way, way, way not enough wine.
Turning 30 will never not feel like a huge deal. That's because it's a milestone that isn't about joyous firsts – you can already vote, you can already drive, you can already get slammered, and you can legally and consensually put stuff in and take stuff out of other adults in a sexy fashion should you so desire. The only thing left to celebrate is that fact that you can't run for President yet (because who needs that stress, amiright?) Instead of firsts, you start to feel the mounting pressure of all the shit you're meant to have done by now, all the life skills you're supposed to have amassed.
30 means being an adult, and being an adult means work, responsibility, and having your shit together. Well, surprise: That doesn't magically happen when you turn 30. I'm 31 and I still maybe sometimes eat food I find in my own trash can and have YouTube karaoke parties by myself. I'm an adult – but my own kind of adult. And it's really unfair for any of us to put crazy expectations on anything to happen just because the calendar hits a certain mark. Things are never that clean and simple, and it's not at all productive for us to bash ourselves for not achieving certain things along a certain timeline. And spoiler: the timeline is nonsense anyway. Here are 15 of the many things that you probably won't learn by the time you turn 30 (and that's totally okay).
1. How to Eat Vegetables
I know that eating vegetables is good for me because I exist in the world and am not a complete idiot. That said, it still takes a massively concerted effort for me to ingest them regularly. Because they taste like vegetables. And candy tastes like candy. I will probably be this way when I am 80. Barf on your kale chips.
2. How to Appreciate Working Out
Blah blah endorphins blah blah metabolism blah blah peace of mind. Look – yoga is boring, I am a terrible runner, and water aerobics is run by a veritable aqua dictator. I'm not saying I refuse to exercise. I do it. But let me be very clear that my motives are not at all mature. I exercise for one reason and that is not because I have become enlightened about physical fitness; I run so I can eat more.
3. How to Go Grocery Shopping
You'd think years of watching your parents do it and then living on your own would have you be a veritable master of all things grocery related. I love the grocery store, but I barely know how to shop. Sure, I could come home with staples like bread, milk, or eggs. But the odds are just as high that I will come home with a flight of different artisanal fudges. Because fudge is delicious.
4. How Eyeliner Works
I started applying black eyeliner when I was 14. "You look like a raccoon," my mother announced. She was correct. In fact, if it weren't for the miracle of "smudge-able" eyeliners, I would probably look like a hot mess e'eryday. I still sort of mostly do. Because eyeliner HAS YET TO REVEAL ITS SECRETS.
5. How to Clean Your Stove
I can and have cleaned almost everything there is in a place of residence that ever requires cleaning. The stovetop gets me every time. I have NO IDEA what gets stuck on it, what flecks randomly ignite or why strange remnants insist on hanging out in every nook and cranny. I go to a friend's house and their stovetop is spotless whereas mine looks like the tar pits. I have sprayed, scrubbed, hacked and prayed but to no avail. You with your clean stovetops – wizards, the lot of you!
6. How to Relish Getting Up Early
If I could sleep 10 to 12 hours every single night and still be considered a functioning and "not depressed" member of society, I would. The fact that anything happens before 9AM is frankly proof of the decline of culture and civilization.
7. How to Talk to Members of the Opposite Sex
The guy I'm dating is trying to lose weight. This is his thing. I care not about his size, but I do care about his happiness, and if trying to lose weight makes him happy, then okay, I'll support that. I noticed that he'd dropped a few pounds, and, knowing he was working hard on this, I thought it appropriate to acknowledge it by saying, "I can really see some crazy definition in your cheekbone-al regions." I was that awkward...with the person I sleep with. He glared at me for a full minute before saying, "If you're saying I'm doing a good job on my diet, then thank you?" I rest my case – In my 30s and still can't be smooth with someone I want to sleep with, even if I'm already sleeping with them.
8. How to Put Your Career First
I want to be crazy successful! I want to have a book deal! I want a million Twitter followers! I want to be a writing queen! But there is also so, so, so much TV to watch and a lot of cats that I need to snorgle with sooo....I guess I can't have it all? BUT I WANT IT.
9. How Laundry Works
Sure, I've done my laundry. I've washed it, dried it, folded it and worn it again, getting new stank on it. But that doesn't mean I'm happy about it. In fact, I would be lying if I said that at the age of 30 and beyond I have not (on multiple occasions) simply bought NEW clothes rather than washing clothes I already own. That is not how clothes work, self.
10. How to Have Just One
I was in Orlando for work this weekend (You caught me – I am Mickey Mouse). There was an open bar and bowling. I started the evening with no friends, I ended the evening doing the moon walk and chugging white wine from a goblet while people chanted my name. I always thought that knowing my limit booze-wise would mean adulthood had arrived. Thankfully, that has not been the case.
11. How to Save Money
Every time I get a paycheck, I should be all "and this goes to 401K". Instead I'm all "TURN DOWN FOR WHAT" and I order 17 pizzas, some gold chains, and some rare vinyl. In penance for my poor fiscal management, please bury me with all my things, like the Egyptian Pharaohs of old.
12. How to Be Cool. Ever.
Today I walked into a coffee shop and, clapping my hands together, asked the 20-something clerk behind the counter, "What's crackin'?" I thought for sure by the time I hit 30 I'd have mastered the secret art of cool. I also thought we'd all have space-cars and be immortal, so clearly I've been wrong about a few things.
14. How to Walk in Heels
I own so many high heels. They are beautiful and great. They make my ankles look tiny, my butt look pert, and my thighs like weapons of pants-destruction (lololol did I just make that up?), and they make my feet bleed like a slasher film. I thought with each purchase of each pair, that someday, when I was grown-up, I'd be able to wear them on the regs. That day has yet to come.
15. How to Act Your Age
I thought being 30 meant wearing a fitted suit and barking "BUY! SELL!" into my phone while arranging orchids in my minimalist apartment. Instead, I've got a job where I can wear pajamas all day without fear of shame and if I had even one orchid, my cats would eat it, throw it back up and then eat it again. I could act like what I think a 30-something is supposed to act like, or I could keep doing me. The latter has worked, like, 76% of the time so far, so I'm sticking with it. I at least know enough to know that's not a bad percentage of success.