Thursday, February 7, 2008


Today I am two months shy of my 29th birthday. That's fourteen months away from thirty. As I careen towards the big three-oh, I have suddenly taken stock of my life. Perhaps it is the recently passed New Year, and my blatant lack of resolution. Perhaps it is the fact that the many aspects of my adult life that had been unsettled for so long are finally settling into place. Or perhaps it is the new-found maturity that comes with approaching 30 (ha!).

In any case, I realize now more than ever that am not the person I thought I would be half a lifetime ago. This in itself is not a bad thing necessarily, however I am not sure I am the person I want to be at this point in my life either. In the last six months I have started a new job; gotten married; and moved out of my Manhattan bachelorette pad to a residential neighborhood in Queens. By settling into this stable life, I have eliminated the chaos and variability that permeated the majority of my twenties.

The last time I probably felt this settled was back, that half-lifetime ago, when I was ensconced in the safety of my childhood home. The disparity of my lifestyle then and now is glaring, and brings questions racing through my mind. That fifteen year-old girl was ambitious, active and accomplished. What happened to cause me to become lazy, cynical, and under-achieving? Why am I underemployed, broke, fat, messy and careless? Sure I am happy in my new life, but could I be happier?

While out to dinner with a friend the other night, she was talking about her recent computer crash. The computer technician asked her if she had recently backed up her hard drive. She quipped that she wanted to tell him, falsely, "Yes," as one does at the dentist when he asks if you floss. It's the kind of thing you know you are supposed to do, but for some reason never get around to doing.

I found this anecdote particularly pertinent seeing as I recently went to the dentist for the first time in several years (one of the perks of getting married is the insurance!). Of course my teeth were in pretty bad shape, and I was asked that same flossing question. My answer, in an attempt at full disclosure, was, "Not as much as I should." Of course what I really meant was, "Never, unless I have a very visible and/or painful piece of food lodged in between them; and even then I may only floss between the teeth harboring said food particle."

Why is it so easy to spend hours in front of the TV or playing on the internet but so difficult to floss? In other words, why is it so hard to do the things that I know are good for me, or even the things that I used to enjoy so much? How do days, then weeks, then months pass while the same tasks linger on my mental to-do list?

Then in one crystallizing moment I decided. It’s time for a change. What better occasion than my thirtieth birthday to reveal the new and improved me? April 7, 2009 is a Tuesday. And by that day I hope to have gone from nerdy to thirty.

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