A charitable person told me a few days ago that “your 30s will be your best years yet”, citing financial security, stability, health, and wellness as just a few of the perks of being marginally closer to death, qualities befitting the world’s most livable cities.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m told that I’ll soon become the Zurich or Calgary or Copenhagen of humans. The only problem is I don’t need nor want to be Copenhagen, with its clean air, low crime rates, mature infrastructure, and competent governance. I’d much prefer a city messy, edgy, and high-octane. I’d much rather be Berlin, Tbilisi, or Tel Aviv. I’d really much rather stay in my 20s.
I do not want to cross this demarcation line. I do not want to start practicing “self-care”, get enough sleep and eat vegetables daily. I want to stay a kid masquerading in a young woman’s body, reaping the benefits of both.
I do not want to admit I hate clubbing. I want to continue stuffing my body into polyester minidresses and four-inch heels, shouting loudly inside the DJ booth while hating it secretly. I don’t want a mortgage, or friends with mortgages. I want an endless supply of social capital and endless means of appropriating it, that means being 20.
I don’t want to start taking care of my aging parents, I’m not done making them take care of me. I do not want a 401k or IRA. I’d rather spend my money recklessly on handbags and champagne.
I don’t feel like building long-lasting relationships with men of maturity. I’d prefer to attract those who are emotionally manipulative while seeming totally intentionally authentic, because that’s what I’d rather be.
I don’t want to write blog posts about finally feeling “whole”, having “strength”, being “less bothered by societal expectations”. I simply want to stay extremely f%$kable.
I don’t want to learn to “love myself”, because in my 20s others lined up to do it for me.
I don’t want to be one step closer to becoming one of the ladies on “Sex and the City”, going on random dates with any willing New York man, laughing at their boring jokes with my last five eggs in tow. I don’t want to start meditating, go on yoga retreats in India, or dole out feckless maxims that only women in their thirties use, like “age is just a number”, or “the 30s are the new 20s”, no they are not, you’re thirty.
Because being in our early 30s, it would seem, is to be nearing the end of our feminine delectability, when playful becomes desperate, determined becomes shrill, and free-spirited becomes crazy. When making careless jokes or finding new dalliances stop being benign activities.
It’s no longer kosher to keep up the performance of our 20s, a performance that was demanded and drilled. A performance that — after taking 20 years to hone and a few more to perfect — is expiring.
I suppose some of us will find our way back to the positive adjectives by having a baby, when “haggard” is glorified into “selflessness” and “emotional” into “nurturing”. But for now, what was once interesting and intoxicating in the 20s is suddenly too much, too loud, too trying. In the 30s, women start disappearing off the “cool” dinner tables and into their hibernation holes, leaving only the patina of their 20s. Those who disguise themselves with heavy makeup, botox, and other provisions to stay don’t seem like girls in their 20s so much as caricatures of them.
Because as a woman, we’re either girl-gone-wild at 20 or biologically-ticking at 40. What the hell is this in-between?
Note: this is an attempt at angry satire. I have always been a terrible clubber.