i got exactly one hundred phone calls on my thirtieth. people i didn’t even know i knew took the time to dial my number and hold on until they got through. i got phone calls while i was on phone calls and missed call alerts when i turned it off. i don’t know what it was that kept them coming but by afternoon my ear was throbbing, my face hurt from all the smiling and i was beginning to mechanically wish my well wishers happy birthday back. by six that evening i had a raging headache and no desire to do anything other than crawl into bed. i didn’t, of course. i went and had many cocktails and a bitch fight with one of my dearest friends over sms instead.
predictably, i woke up with a hangover that sucked all the joy out of turning thirty. not so predictably, i woke up to a very unsettling accusation. there it was staring me in the face, an sms from my erstwhile friend that insisted i was lesbian. don’t get me wrong, i’m no homophobic but i’m not homosexual either. and that morning, with the vino still galloping through my system and this message from a person who knows me inside out i got my first real sense of ageing. it meant not being able to stomach more than six varieties of alcohol at a time, yes. it also meant accepting that all i had to show for my venerable years was a queasy feeling in the belly and a friend without a clue.
in all honesty, at that moment i had to admit that other than my sexual orientation i wasn’t sure of much else.
the thing that gets me these days is that i was dead sure i’d arrive at thirty. i was as convinced of this when i turned thirteen, eighteen and twenty one as well, but thirty should have been different in my opinion. to my mind it was the end of a decade of adjusting to adulthood and the beginning of the rest of my life as a bonafide member of the club that does not squirm in its skin and can categorically tell its ass from its elbow.
this, i must inform you has not happened. i’m starting to think that maybe the whole point of growing older is not so much about having crystal clarity as it is about being ok with knowing that i don’t.
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