These were my thoughts at this milestone. I should be in a loving, committed relationship. I should have an excellent job reflective of my own abilities and ambition. I should be healthy. I should be self-sufficient. Instead, I am alone, not working my ideal job full time, tossing back twenty-five pills a day to try to stop the havoc that goes through my sick body, making a fraction of my worth and rubbing pennies together.
Gosh. How depressing.
I guess that's why people don't like turning thirty. These expectations charge at you like a bull to a matador. Whenever I talk to my friends, none of them feel good about thirty. No one is looking forward to it. They're just trying to get through it unscathed. Which made me think, as difficult as it is sometimes to celebrate one's own life, I am going to look at my life through that lens. The one that allows me to see what I have done with my life, rather than what I have not.
Six Accomplishments in my Nearly-Thirty Years of Life
1. I have endured through a life-threatening illness that could have taken my body on several occasions. I have been strong through the countless doctor appointments and tests. I continue to do what is right for my health.
2. I have loved. Even though my relationships have not always played out ideally, I have experienced the near-jouissance of love. I regret nothing.
3. I am compassionate. I cannot and will not contribute to the suffering of animals. I am not perfect, but I make conscious decisions on a daily basis to abstain from consuming and using animal meat and byproducts. I do not support the unethical treatment of animals in terms of animal testing and animal showing (including certain zoos and circuses). I have an unfaltering belief in the decision to not murder, use, or abuse animals for my own gain.
4. I am smart. I will not ever stop learning. I don't want to. I love to learn about a wide range of subjects. I pride myself in my vocabulary and writing skills. I have excellent cognitive functioning, adore reading and writing, and enjoy debating with friends. After I completed my bachelor and master's degrees, I went on to teach at universities where I was only a few years older than the students taking the classes. I inspired students, and helped them gain an interest in a subject that has brought me such joy.
5. I maintain excellent relationships with those people I hold dear to me. Despite differences in religion and ethics, I have an incredible amount of love for so many friends and family members. I could easily dismiss them because they are not the same as me, but I prefer to learn from them. I think the mark of a respectable person is that they maintain a wide spectrum of friends. I show friends and family the absurd measure of love I have for them. They give it back, and it holds me together.
6. I stay true to my passions. Writing, teaching, majoring in English, maintaining a vegan lifestyle, living in a city away from family: these aren't easy choices. I could have gone for a profession that has great earning potential. I could live a lifestyle that isn't on the fringe, and questioned by everyone. Life would be easier with the closer proximity of family, but I would have to discount my dedication to urban living. I make choices based on what drives me. I hold steady.
I will be thirty in just a matter of minutes. I am grateful for this life, for the past thirty years, and for whatever may await me in the future. Come at me, thirty. I'm ready for you.