30 Perks of Turning 30

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Several months ago I was caught off-guard by a devastating life event: I turned 30. A smarter man might have seen this coming – 30 has been lurking between 29 and 31 since at least the 1970s  – but I’ve never been great at math. I put turning 30 in the same category as the sun exploding or the Spice Girls reuniting for another album: I knew it was technically possible, but I hoped I’d be dead long before it happened. Much to my dismay, however, my 30th year came hot on the heels of my 29th, and there was nothing I could do stop it. Damn you, sequentially ascending whole numbers. My wife handled the situation better than I did. When she had her birthday several weeks after mine, she went from 29 to 28. Your move, Merlin.
I wasn’t happy about turning 30, but I dealt with it like a man – assuming most men lock themselves in their rooms and cry about it for five days. At the end of my very masculine temper tantrum, I had an epiphany: Being 30 isn’t all bad. Sure, it’s mostly bad. In fact, it’s almost entirely bad. But it isn’t ALL bad because of 30 key advantages I didn’t understand until I was old and dead inside. I started this list on my birthday, but it took me months to finish it because I think slower at my advanced age. Plus I kept going to therapy, which is what I call getting day drunk and watching “Scooby Doo.” Anyway, here are the 30 perks of being 30:
  1. I can give up on my hopes and dreams.
I was under a lot of pressure to accomplish something back when there was enough of my life left to still matter. Now that I don’t have to waste time and energy on goals, I can finally focus on what’s important in life, like watching TV. Or taking naps. Or taking naps while watching TV. The possibilities are endless.
  1. I’m finally as old as I act.
I’ve been a bitter old man since I was 12, but the outside world didn’t respect how ancient I was on the inside. Now the date on my birth certificate supports my charming blend and misanthropy and pessimism. The world sucks, and I have 30 years of empirical evidence to prove it. Hurray for science.
  1. I can’t help people move.
In my 20s, I naively made friends based on common interests and goals instead of apartment location and furniture weight. I ended up moving about 200 suspiciously heavy couches into third floor lofts in buildings without elevators. Now that I’m 30, though, people finally understand I have the arm strength of a T. rex and the cardio of a 60-year-old smoker. If someone puts a heavy couch in front of me, the only thing I’m going to do is  sleep on it. As an added precaution, I screen people before I become attached to them. I won’t even make eye contact with someone now unless they live on the ground floor and decorate solely in wicker furniture.
  1. I don’t have friends anymore.
The easiest way to avoid doing favors for friends is to not have friends in the first place. By now, I’m old enough for everyone in my life to have naturally drifted away without drama or hard feelings. High school was 12 years ago, college was 8 years ago, and none of my current coworkers can remember if I’m alive or dead. At this point, there’s no expectation that I’ll fly across the country to stay in touch with an old roommate. I won’t even walk across the living room to get the remote.
  1. I can hate teenagers.
A few years ago, I was young enough to recognize a little of the slang used by kids between the ages of 13 and 19. Now there’s enough of an age gap between me and them that they might as well be another species. My first guess is mule deer, but they might be elk. Every generation thinks the next generation is the worst one ever. The difference is this time it’s true, and I have the proof. Exhibits A through C are “bae,” “swag,” and “YOLO.” Exhibit D is Justin Bieber.
  1. It’s fine for technology to confuse me.
My great grandparents grew up without electricity, my grandparents grew up without indoor plumbing, and I grew up without Internet. Obviously my life was the hardest of all. We didn’t get web access in my house until I was in eighth grade, and even then it was AOL dial-up, which is one step above sending bits back and forth by carrier pigeon. Technologically, that’s my peak, and I don’t have to pretend to understand anything that comes after that. It’s OK for routers and fiber optic lines to confuse me, just like my ancestors were bewildered by the witchcraft that is flushing toilets and incandescent light bulbs.
  1. I don’t have to care about my physique.
I put my metabolism in the same category as Big Foot: It’s probably real, but I’ve never seen any proof. Activities that make me gain weight include eating food, smelling food, and seeing food on TV. When I was a younger man, I fought back with dieting and exercise, but I don’t have to worry about that anymore. Now if I get the urge to run on the treadmill, I simply remember I’ll be dead in a few years anyway and go back to eating Pringles.
  1. My fat pants are now my regular pants.
Owning two entire wardrobes took up too much space. I can now safely throw away all the clothes from my skinny days since losing weight at this age is as likely as finding a family values politician who doesn’t cheat on his wife. Purging half my clothes should free up just enough space in my closet for me to curl up in there and cry.
  1. I’m so old my outdated clothes are back in style again.
I’m not sure which ones, but my wife assures me that some of the fat clothes in my closet are fashionable again sheerly by accident. Of course, if I ever actually put them on, I’ll immediately make them uncool just by wearing them. The entire fashion world is basically just a bunch of people trying not to dress like me.
  1. People stopped pressuring me to have more kids.
When I was young and childless, my parents thought it would be delightful for me to give them grandchildren. Now that I’m 30 with a house full of kids, everyone realizes letting me procreate was a mistake. Thanks to my my wife’s high fertility and low standards, my genes can continue destroying the earth long after I’m dead.
  1. I don’t have to waste money on spices anymore.
There was a time when I didn’t feel any adverse effects from eating a sandwich layered with hot sauce, ghost peppers, and actual fire. But now that I’m 30, the list of foods that gives me heartburn includes marshmallows, bread, and water. I save a ton of money at the grocery store now that the only flavor I can safely handle is cardboard.
  1. I have a bedtime again.
Being old means I don’t have to put up a pretense of enjoying the nightlife or life in general for that matter. There’s no way I’m staying up until dawn, and honestly anything past dinner time is kind of dicey. The best way to cope with being 30 is by being unconscious for as much of it as possible.
  1. I can admit I can’t hold my liquor.
This isn’t college, when I was in a race to see if my brain would end up filled with knowledge or killed off by alcohol. Now that I’m 30, it takes two beers to make me feel pretty good and three beers to make me feel like I was hit by a truck. At least I’m a cheap date – and likely an unconscious one.
  1. People don’t hassle me at the liquor store.
Sure, I can’t handle booze anymore, but I can still buy it. Now that I’m 30, the clerk asks for my ID, but he doesn’t really look at it. He can tell by the dead look in my eyes and the “Finding Nemo” stickers all over my back that I deserve a drink.
  1. All the stuff I loved as a kid is being remade.
The franchises from my youth are roaming the earth again like reanimated corpses. It’s hard to look anywhere without seeing the Ninja Turtles or G.I. Joe shambling into theaters. These movies are just as good as they ever were, which is to say not very good at all. Nostalgia is just another word for forgetting how much things used to suck.
  1. I can abandon even the most basic grooming habits.
As a younger man, I wasted literally minutes a day showering and brushing my teeth. I was guided by the insane notion that I could make myself less repulsive to the opposite sex. Now that I’ve already locked in my wife with multiple children, I don’t need to worry about whether or not I remember to shave or wear pants. Like any good wife, she’s ashamed of me no matter what I look like.
  1. I don’t have to come up with stories about myself anymore.
In those unfortunate moments when I accidentally get stuck in a conversation with another human being, they don’t ask questions about me. It’s understood that I’m too old to have worthwhile experiences. Instead, they ask about the countless topics that are more interesting than me, including my kids, my pets, everything on C-SPAN, and gravel.
  1. All of my bald acquaintances finally look normal.
In high school, the weight room was basically just a support group for guys with receding hairlines. Even the most glorious triceps in the world won’t make a cheerleader date a guy who looks like he should be selling used cars in the lot next to the strip mall. But now that my follically challenged peers have hit 30, they’ve grown into their ugliness. Everyone else’s lives are easier because the bald guys have nothing left to compensate for, except for ball shrinkage from years of steroid abuse.
  1. I have hair in new and different places.
I don’t need earmuffs since my ears now look like they belong on a Wookiee. It’s great at fending off frostbite, but I must admit it’s not as much fun in the summer. Apparently ear sweat is a thing.
  1. No one expects me to try new things.
New experiences are a young man’s game. Nobody is going to ask me to try that that trendy sushi bar downtown. I’ll eat at the same burger joint I’ve been going to my entire life, and when my heart explodes I’ll go back to the same hospital where I was born. I’ll be sure to die quickly so I don’t go over my deductible.
  1. I’m forced to try new things anyway.
Life after 30 is filled with new and exciting health problems. Every day when I roll out of bed, it’s a surprise what will creak, pop, or break. It’s a good day when I make it out the front door without crying, or at least it would be if it ever happened. Maybe it’s possible.
  1. I finally get my money’s worth out of my health insurance.
When I was young and healthy, I paid into the healthcare pool without costing the system any money. I was subsidizing the survival of the unhealthy, and it made me sick. Now that I’m 30, I’m done being a sucker. I might throw out my back during a leisurely game of H.O.R.S.E. just for the hell of it. I look forward to a cushy hospital stay and an ongoing addiction to painkillers.
I know which of my old friends succeeded and which ones didn’t.
I used to waste lots of time being nice to everyone I knew on the off chance that one of them might become an eccentric millionaire. By the time they turned 30, though, they all settled into dead end jobs like mine, so I can blow them off without ruining a chance for future financial mooching.
  1. All the high-pressure milestones are out of the way.
I’ve graduated from all the schooling I can handle and I already have a wife, a house, and kids. The next personal milestone I have to look forward to is death, and that’s still at least a few dozen Big Macs away. I can coast from here on it. The only milestones in my house now are the ones my children achieve. It’s time to sit back, relax, and put an insane amount of pressure on my kids so I can live vicariously through them.
  1. I’ve finally achieved mental tranquility.
There are no more sleepless nights where my mind races a mile a minute. My brain can’t even pull off a slow jog anymore. Most of the time, it takes a few steps and then sits down to wait for someone to bring over a mobility scooter and a snack. Now that my brain can’t jump to quick, rash decisions, I make my choices more deliberately. They are all still wrong, but now that I make them more slowly, I can’t fit as many into a day. I make fewer bad decisions by default.
  1. My memory is going.
I finally have the perfect excuse for forgetting birthdays, anniversaries, Christmases, and most of my children’s names. Every time something important slips my mind, I just shrug and remind everyone I’m 30. They still hate me, but I quickly forget about that for some reason.
  1. I get to bask in the desperation of others.
By the age of 30, most people I know are in a committed relationship with a spouse, long-term romantic partner, or horde of cats. The people who don’t fit into one of those categories are now madly scrambling to lock in a life-ruining decision before it’s too late. There’s been a new wave of weddings as people grab anyone who is left standing, which is great because it combines the two great loves of my life: open bars and impending train wrecks.
  1. It’s impossible to disappoint my parents.
It turns out if I let down someone 30 years in a row, they finally catch on. At this point, if I told them I was a male escort with a clown fetish, they’d shrug and start talking about sports. That doesn’t mean I’ve given up. I continue to aggressively search for new and different ways to disappoint them.
  1. I’m amazing at running errands.
Going to the grocery store or taking the van to the mechanic used to be an inconvenient interruption of my life, but now those trips are my life. My existence is just a series of mundane tasks broken up occasionally by equally mundane tasks on the other side of town. Scheduling wise, my life is much simpler when I don’t have any actual living to do. I don’t have time for that. I have to buy stamps.
  1. It’s OK not to finish the stuff I start.
Nobody expects me to buckle down and complete projects. I’ll be dead soon, anyway, and younger, more competent people can simply pick up where I left off. Seriously, I wanted to write 30 perks of being 30, and I only made it to about eight. Then I repeated them over and over again with slightly different wording, and I didn’t even notice because I have the short-term memory of a pot-smoking goldfish. Getting old is amazing.
This list of perks makes one thing undeniably clear: The only thing better than being this age is literally anything else. If I could go back and do it all over again, I would have cryogenically frozen myself until science came up with a cure for being 30. But in the meantime, I’ll continue getting older at a steady rate, and it looks like the condition is terminal.