Yes, the spelling is intentional.
In the film Logan’s Run, every person in society gets to live to the ripe old age of 30. On their final day of life (cleverly referred to as ‘Lastday’) they enter the ritual of Carrousel and, with the promise of being reborn, are vaporized. Pretty grim, right?
Now, I know that my life should play out a little differently than that as there is no Carrousel ritual in the UK (although if Iain Duncan Smith could find a way to make it happen and monetize it, I bet he would), but I’m 29 and a half years old (at this point, the half matters). For me, the Big Three-Oh is approaching and it has already arrived for a number of my friends and loved ones. And although I don’t have a flashing red lifeclock in my palm (not yet anyway), it feels like this birthday will be a little bit different.
I have this theory that there are several milestone birthdays. These are (in no particular order except chronological) 18, 21, 25, 30, 40 and every ten years after that (people argue that 25 shouldn’t be included but it’s a quarter century, so it stays in). Now here we are and 25 was four and a half years ago, passing with little fanfare or excitement. Saying that, I did go to Amsterdam for my 25th birthday… on my own. It was a fantastic city to visit, but when you’re there on your own everyone looks at you like you’re some kind of filthy sex tourist. So don’t do that (unless you ARE a sex tourist, in which case go for it). I digress.
It’s the the final months of my twenties and I have the fear that the allocation of a new numerical value will change me somehow. I don’t think that I’ve seen any real change in people that I know who’ve already hit 30, but I’m concerned that it’s a more personal change. Something about the way you think or the way that you’re perceived once you’re out of your twenties.
Maybe the worry is present because I’m leaving my twenties and I haven’t really done many of the things that other people have done by this point on their personal calendar. I didn’t do a lot of drunken, hedonistic partying. I didn’t finish university (with more of the associated partying). I didn’t take a grand world tour or see parts of the world that took me far from my comfort zone.
But is that really missing out?
I made a web series and a comedy feature film with some of my best friends. I’ve written stories and scripts and acted in front of my peers. I met the woman of my dreams and she agreed to marry me (despite how many opportunities I’ve given her to change her mind). These are not small achievements.
Are any of the things that I’ve missed better than any of the things that I’ve done? They’re different, but they’re not better. In fact, had I done the things I mentioned, I may not be where I am now. I definitely wouldn’t be who I am.
Perhaps I don’t have to approach this milestone birthday with apprehension or fear. Maybe I’m going into my thirties with a set of experiences that differ wildly from some of my peers. Maybe that will make me a better person than I otherwise would have been. Maybe the change in personality or perception will be a good thing. I don’t think I ever thought of it that way. It could be that the change is brought on not by age, but by experiences. I think that’s the way I need to look at it from now on.
Someone far more clever than I am probably said it first, but I think I have a new mantra starting with this birthday: I’m not getting older. I’m levelling up.