30 is the new 20 (Frankie – 2008)
Are you the one book-ended at the head of your birthday table quietly contemplating the perpetual horror of ‘another year?’ Have you ever caught yourself cornering friends and barking the words ‘I can’t believe I’m
Dreading your 30’s is so thirty years ago. It’s been done, like boots over jeans and amateur plays that don’t go anywhere – it’s time to get all Michel Gondry on your consciousness and grab that paper mache stallion with both hands as you cruise into the cellophane sunset of your own imagination. Author Douglas Coupland said it best “Your twenties are like a car crash. 25 and 26 are statistically the worse. By 27 it gets better. By 30, you realise you’re not the only person going nuts like this. Everyone’s going through the same thing. You think everyone’s having a great time, and no one talks about it because it’s, like, uncool. We should have little cards or something … we can talk about this, it’s okay.”
I was once withdrawing money at a Commonwealth Bank in Canberra, and volunteered to the girl that I’d just turned 23. “That’s a good age” she lamented, before adding “life does get easier the older you get.” I was warmed to my warp core to be offered such profound advice in a capitalist wasteland. Could life really get easier as you went along? What a charming concept. And now, as I sit on the moral throne of my inner-city Melbourne computer chair, adorned in cream collared shirt and effortlessly retro grass-green tie, I can high five my memories with the confidence of someone who’s seen the light of my own computer screen. It does!
We’re trained to look at each passing year with a death-like ritual of things we didn’t achieve, our celebrations marred by comparisons to misleadingly named ‘celebrities.’ I’m always watching the Beckometer. He was 22 when he released Loser, and now I’m currently up to ‘Mutations’ age and gee I wish I hadn’t written that. But put things in perspective and look to such notables as Jarvis Cocker and Peaches who were both the ripe old age of 32 when their albums broke. Julian Barrett of the Boosh was 33, Charlotte Gainsbourg 35 and author David Sedaris 41 when they had their first major commercial successes.
I propose a new-wave view of your thirties as ‘an extra set of twenties where you know what you’re doing.’ By 30 your wardrobe tastes, culinary abilities and general inter-personal skills all seem to solidify, along with the notion that you’ve finally grown into your face. Your 20’s are about going LOL, screwing up your hair and looking nervously over your shoulder for some mystical answer. May we turn to the affectionate men and handsome women with distinguished laugh lines about the eyes, who sit chuckling in back bars, having cultivated their social circle to a glorious form, surrounding themselves only with the people who bring out their best.
Grizzling in the corner, sucking back shots is never a good look. Next birthday, open your mouth like an advent calendar and see what uplifting message lies within. Unless you’re going for the Vogel award, age is just a number. Each year is a complex wine, to be savoured in the mouth and swallowed lovingly into the depths of your merry soul.