I'm 30 years old. It's official. That milestone birthday's been lurking, and when it finally arrived I welcomed it as I'd welcome a never-ending nacho platter—drunkenly and without fear.
The big 3-0 doesn't feel all that big, but I still celebrated its arrival by hot-boxing a hotel bathroom and getting drunk on Kirkland Signature brand alcohol with some of my favorite people. If there's one thing growing up has taught me, it's that becoming an adult isn't as boring or scary as you thought it would be when you were a kid. You don't actually change all that much; you just evolve into a smarter, bill-paying version of the asshole child you once were. At least that's been my experience. Even so, five of us ended up napping at 6 p.m.—a sign of true adulthood.
Ten years on, I'm 25 pounds heavier and OK with it, in a functional relationship, living alone in a 600-square-foot apartment, working four jobs and currently not wearing pants. The other day, I set up automatic payments for all my bills, knowing that when they were deducted from my account, I wouldn't have to hit up Buffalo Exchange with a bunch of ratty Forever 21 clothes in the hopes of getting $15 so I could buy enough wine to forget what a loser I am. It was one of the proudest moments in my life: So this is what it's like having it all! Someone get me a multivitamin and a savings account, because I'm finally an adult.
These major birthdays have a way of making you #tbt on your life. You look back and think, Did I accomplish anything worthwhile? I was hit with this bout of nostalgia particularly hard after finding my high-school notebook buried in an old box.
It was filled with god-awful poetry (the word "despair" made way too many guest appearances), drawings that someone could easily interpret as coming from a serial killer and collages of and lyrics by artists like The Stone Roses, The Smiths and Fiona Apple. Before I undeservingly give myself too much hipster cred, I found a Korn lyric in there, too. Yikes. Also, there were a few quotes from the movie Steel Magnolias, though, that I am proud of. Clairee Belcher is forever my spirit animal.
While flipping through this embarrassing teenage angst, I found a list: "Things to Do before I Die." I'd completely forgotten that I'd done this. The list is a snapshot of what the 17-year-old me aspired to, and for the most part it's fucking stupid and ignorantly lofty. However, it made me happy to see that I'd actually accomplished some. Here's that list:
1. Sing in front of a large audience. Check. I sang in a Misfits cover band called The Mistits. My friends / bandmates and I played only one show, Halloween 2008, to a packed crowd at Bar Pink. We dressed up as the Kennedy assassination and had a human sacrifice on stage that left every face in the front row splattered with fake blood. It was awesome, and I'm sure my teenage self would be impressed.
2. Learn to play a musical instrument. Tried and failed several times, so now I just date musicians. It's easier.
3. See the world. This one is going to take a while, but I've slowly made some progress.
4. Become independent from my parents. See No. 3.
5. Be rich and famous but never forget who I am. I was very concerned about character in my youth but clearly not enough to stop myself from fame-whoring. As I'm an adult with strong moral fiber now, I'm willing to forego fame and integrity if I can have an increased taco fund. I really love tacos.
6. Give money to my high-school drama department. Get in line behind my mom, my ex-boyfriend, Chase Credit Services, Nelnet Student Loan Services, my divorce mediator, AT&T, Netflix, Hulu Plus and about 14 others, Montgomery High School.
7. Write a book. Working on it.
8. Learn to dance ballet, tap and/or jazz. Fuck off. Too tired. I'll just watch Dance Moms.
9. Do a show on Broadway. I live on Broadway in Golden Hill, and I perform a regular show around 2 a.m. called "Try Not to Get Murdered Walking Home from The Turf Club." That counts, right?
10. Become a cast member or guest on Saturday Night Live. Ah, that was my dream. I've settled with becoming an almost-award-winning columnist who writes tons of dick jokes.
11. Find the love of my life and keep him. Keep him? Like locked up in a cage? What a creep. Anyway, my divorce is in the works, and I have an awesome boyfriend who'd probably let me lock him in a cage if I ask nicely. I'll take it.
12. Win an Oscar, Tony and literary acclaim. Can I change it to winning some sort of eating contest? I mean, I haven't won one of those yet, but it seems more likely.
13. Get a tattoo and piercing. No piercings; multiple tattoos. Sorry, Mom and Dad.
14. At least once, do something I'd usually never do. Not only have I already done this—I made a career out of it. Air-punching in triumph right now.
15. Get into a fist fight. No thanks. I've been in a pillow fight and might be Jell-O wrestling soon, though.
16. Paint and draw. Man, I must have been running low on ideas. These hobbies have been replaced with "watch TV" and "watch more TV."
17. Keep a best friend forever. I love my friends and look forward to growing old with them, grabbing hot, young dude butts at restaurants until all the wine we drink finally does us in on the same day, The Notebook-style.
Good work, me. May the next 10 years bring even more fun and productivity—and, hopefully, a bit more sleep.