It's my 30th birthday today. While in reality, this is just a day not too different from either yesterday or tomorrow, there's something about this new milestone that feels resonant.* In a culture that worships youth as much as America (nay, western culture) does right now, it's almost ingrained within us to view aging with some combination of contempt, curiosity, and/or cheerlessness. This attitude was underscored in this week's episode of Mad Men where the young character Ginsberg, after doing some good work, proclaims, "Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!", to which Rizzo retorts that Ginsberg should really read the whole poem (which is about how even the greatest fall into obsolescence).**
Even so, I'm not one to mourn the passing of age (even as I realize that I'm now closer to 40 than I am to 18...gross) because I think that each new season of life offers advantages that each previous season did not (though there are also negative trade-offs, to be sure). In particular for me, I've always looked a bit older than my age said that I was, and so now that my age and my looks are a bit more similar, I think casting directors will have a better idea of what to do with me as I continue to audition.
Further, I'm happy with where I'm at in my life, and my life will only get more fulfilling come the fall as I start work on my Ph.D. While I don't think that further schooling is an end when it comes to happiness***, I'm actually excited about the work that I will be doing. I say "actually" because, oddly, in the last few months, I had become kind of burnt out on the ideas of deep analysis and art criticism, but in the last few weeks, I've found a couple of great, contemporary writers of long form criticism that have re-sparked my fire and reminded me of why I want to pursue this path.
In short, I feel that I, like Milhouse, can proclaim that everything's coming up Bryan.
*My wife and I were talking about going to see a play tonight as a birthday present, and I realized that she could still qualify for the "Under 30" ticket discounts that some of the theatres in the area use as a ruse to get younger people into the seats, whereas I would, obviously, no longer qualify. I wonder whether I will now enjoy the show 2-3 times as much as that's how much more my ticket will cost. What a difference a day makes, eh?
**I also found out that I'm younger than Kim Kardashian, which makes me profoundly happy for some reason.
***It has become something of a tradition with my friend group to hold roasts for the birthday boys when they turn 30. To paraphrase a line from a friend, "Bryan was recently accepted into a Ph.D. program in theatre, which is pretty great, because if the theatre needs anything right now, it's more doctors."
Photo by Aih.