My wife recently turned 30 years old, and I couldn’t be happier for her. I know it’s considered bad form to ask or reveal a woman’s age, but I think that particular tradition is a remnant of the days when our life expectancy was around 35. These days, I’m not so sure. After all, now we have shows like Talk Sex with Sue Johanson who just turned 78. (Full Disclosure: Sue Johanson is Canadian, and with the current exchange rate, that puts her around Sex and the City‘s Kim Cattrall in American years, but that’s still pretty impressive.)
And maybe it’s different for women, but my 30’s were, thus far, the best years of my life. My 20’s were filled with drama. In fact, they were merely an extension of my teens with the addition of alcohol, which served to turn the “Bad Decision” knob up to 11. Of course, I didn’t recognize that then. It’s only from the lofty perch of my present age that I can chuckle nostalgically at that foolish young man.
But your 20’s are all about drama; testing your capacity for love and mortality, howling at the moon and calling out God. I like to picture God, holding me at arm’s length, His hand on my forehead while I swing away like a toddler throwing a tantrum screaming: “It’s not fair! It’s not fair!” Then I tire and fall asleep and in the morning we hug it out.
In our 20’s, the drama defines us. We fling ourselves against every perceived boundary, hoping for a breakthrough while bracing for rejection. Like visceral cartographers, we use the data to draw the Map of Our Self. Eventually, we chill. We begin to seek balance instead of drama. For me, that happened in my 30’s.
My 30’s offered a drama of their own. My father died at 33, so if his life was any indication of mine, my days were numbered. As it turned out, my timeline was very different from his. While this took a lot of getting used to, gradually, panic was replaced with peace.
Now, I stand in the twilight of my 30’s. In just a few days, I will turn 39, which is the lamest birthday I can imagine. It’s like the last 5 feet of The Green Mile. “Dead man walkin’…still. Still walkin’.”
But I’m looking forward to my 40’s. As a younger man, I always thought that things would get better with age. While this is not necessarily the case for my mid-section, back and knees, it certainly holds true for my head and heart. And also on the plus side, 39 gives me a full year to prepare for the Joy of the Prostate Exam. Maybe Sue Johanson has some tips on how I can make it pleasurable. I also look forward to looking back on this post and laughing at how I thought I had it all figured out.
One thing that won’t change, however, is my sincere wish that, for my wife, her 30’s will be the best years of her life.