I turned the big 3-0 last Tuesday. Damn, I've been on this planet for three decades. Shit.
In the days leading up to my birthday, I didn't think or say much about it because a part of me felt "old" -- as if leaving my 20s would somehow cause me to suddenly turn into Carl Fredericksen. That didn't happen, of course: my life hasn't changed one iota since turning 30. I'm still the same person I was on September 19…same job, same family, same friends, same two tattoos. The Jedi mind tricks I played on myself in order to downplay the momentous occasion did nothing because, well, the momentum of the occasion came and went without much fanfare1.
Ho-hum as the day was, I was contemplating a lot in between changing a (literally) shitty diaper and stuffing my face with cake at work2. The biggest realization was, in spite of all my life's troubles, I actually made it to 30. There were days I wondered if I'd even make it to 20. So yes, big accomplishment there. Another thing I pondered was my place educationally and professionally. Now, I will grant myself the fact that I'm doing very, very well in both places; I've even etched out a successful ten-year (and counting) career as a paraprofessional. And I'm doing well in school too, albeit at a slower-than-usual pace. The bottom line here is, while I'm generally pleased with my direction thus far, I'm not afraid to admit there is a small piece of me that's unhappy at the notion that I'm officially 30 and I don't have any sort of college degree. Contrast that with my younger sister who's 26 and worked like a mad woman to get her BS in Nursing and is now three months into her first year as a bonafide RN. Suzzee>Kuya Steven3 big time.
What really got me thinking about my age, though, was John Gruber's comments on the Netflix split on last week's episode of "The Talk Show", in which he touched on what Netflix has meant to society -- and, more importantly, to retail video stores like Blockbuster. His points were many, but the main one was there's a whole generation of people who only know movie renting via Netflix. In other words, they don't (or can't) wrap their heads around the idea that you go to a store to rent movies and bring them home to watch. That's, like, fucking crazy! Gruber goes on to mention the same is true with music: the idea that you'd go to Tower Records or FYE or The Wherehouse to get the latest music is a foreign concept to the younger generation4.
To Gruber's points, I, too, remember VHS tapes and Blockbuster. I bought a lot of music at Tower. I remember cassette tapes and rabbit-eared TVs, and the closed-captiioning box my parents had hooked up to our 1980s RCA TV. I remember rotary telephones, CRT monitors, and when AOL dial-up was big. I remember life before the iPhone, Facebook, Twitter, and Google before they became evil. I remember Apple when they weren't the most valued company in the world. I remember floppy disks. I remember Boyz II Men when they were, um, boys. And I remember when MTV actually cared about music.
I've lived a lot in 30 years. Here's hoping I'm around for the next 30.
1. 'Fanfare' is relative, I suppose. My co-workers did go the extra mile to recognize the big day, and it was very much appreciated.
2. Not at the same time, of course.
3. Kuya = Tagalog word for brother.
4. Whereby the "younger generation", I mean high schoolers and below.