Thirty on Thirty, or Lessons on Life Without Money Back Guaranteed

On 30 April 2013, I hit that milestone. You know the one. The Adult Coming-of-Age. The End of Youth. The End of Innocence. The Living End. The New Age. The Age of Aquarius.

Okay, maybe I am just using random terms, but you know exactly what I’m referring to (mainly because I referred to it in the title). I am now Thirty. It’s a big deal, or at least I am lead to believe. And to commemorate the occasion, I present to you the Thirty Things I Learned Turning Thirty.

1. I am now older than all of the characters on Friends.

Do you remember when everyone on Friends seemed so old? But they seemed cool because they were in their twenties, living in New York, having relationships, working professional jobs (what exactly did Chandler do?), sleeping with each other, getting married, getting divorced, having babies. It all seemed so adult.

When I watch Friends re-runs now, they still seem older than me. It is because nostalgia sets in and I am watching them through sixteen year-old eyes. Plus some of the actors might actually have been in their thirties at the time (I’m looking at you, Courtney Cox-Arquette).

The fact is that for sometime now I have been sleeping around, having relationships, working a professional job. Friends have been getting married, having babies, and getting divorced.

I'll be there for you.

I’ll be there for you.

2. Thirty is not as bad as it seems.

When I was seventeen, thirty sounded so old.I was lead to believe that when it snuck up on me, I would suffer a gradual mental breakdown, culminating with a visit by an imaginary dancing baby. I blame David E. Kelly for stunting my emotional growth.

The fact is, now that it has come and gone, “being thirty” has barely even registered on my radar. Conceptually, it is a great milestone and a wonderful reason for a big celebration. However, I still feel like the same old me. Or rather the same young me. It’s just an age and you really are as old as you feel (which thanks to Biotherm moisturiser still feels like about twenty-five).

Ooga Chugga.

Ooga Chugga.

3. Thirty is actually pretty good!

Many of my contemporaries see the Dawn of The Thirties as the end of times, and they yearn for their “youth” back. To them I say, do you really want to be a teenager again? Sure there were that elite few at school who had perfect skin, perfect smiles, and perfect metabolisms. Those modern day truck drivers, cocktail waitresses and substance abuses would naturally love to relive their glory days.

But for the rest of us, The Teen Years were a cocktail of grease, bumps, hormones, and shame. It was rejection and embarrassment, betrayal and over-reactions, extreme emotion followed by immense flippancy. It was having no idea about the world, and refusing to listen to those who did. An age governed by fear and confusion.

The Twenties weren’t much better. We moved out of our homes, on from our High School identities, and we grew into our bodies. We were youthful, energised, idealistic, and ready to take on the world. We enthusiastically had no idea about the world, and defiantly refused to listen to those who did. Because we weren’t teenagers any more; we were adults. Other adults were old, conservative, the world had changed, and we had Google.

I remember this because this is my twenty-one year old brother, my twenty-four year old sister, and my twenty-one year old housemate. I see myself in them and remember that roguishly defiant attitude: “I know that you are wrong, because I read on the internet…”

Being Thirty is knowing that life can’t be summarised in a Wikipedia article. Being Thirty is being old enough to learn from my mistakes. Being Thirty is being old enough to have made mistakes. And being Thirty is being old enough to know that others have made the same mistakes as you.

It’s a youthful wisdom. And I use the word youthful deliberately because Thirty really isn’t that old! After all, have you seen how much fun those guys are having on New Girl?

Age: 30s.

Age: 30s.

4. There isn’t any age in life when everything makes sense.

I only need to refer to my parents, my bosses and my past teachers to prove that there isn’t a time in life where everything suddenly fits together. Life can’t be “figured out”. It’s learning how to cope with all the shit that comes your way that is the key.

5. Thirty is the beginning of the best looking years of my life.

Unfortunately ladies, this really applies to the fellas. And lucky for me, I’m a fella!

Grey streaks, wrinkles, thinning, body hair. It can be confronting, but none of it really matters, because all of those factors contribute to men looking like real men. It is the look of masculinity, of sophistication, of wisdom. It’s a band of attractiveness that is appeals to a nation of gals and gays with daddy issues. And if Freud got anything right, it’s that we all have daddy issues.

Just think of all the celebrities that are voted in the Hottest of Year polls. The hottest woman will almost definitely be in her twenties, but the hottest men are always in the thirty to fifty bracket. It may not be fair, but damned if I am not going to relish in it!

My plan is to bathe in the fountain of eternal thirties that Rob Lowe and Paul Rudd clearly swim in every morning. If I can keep up that look for at least the next decade (and let’s face it – I have gay on my side) then I’m in for a comfortable few years.

6. And yet, you are never too old to break out.

I would have proof of this, had I not possessed the most basic of photo-shopping skills.

7. Nothing trumps chocolate.

Except money, which can be used to buy more chocolate. Which, in turn, makes you break out.

8. The thirties will be dirty.

They say that a man’s sexual peak is from his late teens until his early twenties. And by “they” I mean women’s magazines. To that I say: do you remember what it was like having sex at that age?

I can assure you it was awful. It was weird and awkward and confusing. You didn’t know what to say, how long to touch things, which things to touch, where to stick things, or what things to stick in them. It was fumbled and messy and quick and it ended with one or both (or more) being relatively unsatisfied.

Over the years I feel like I have pretty much figured things out. The more comfortable I became in the bedroom, the more I was willing to explore new realms. The taboo becomes the norm. Places and positions that were once out of bounds were now acceptable. With the benefit of age, I have been able to relax into my own body and be able to use it.

Look. I am not saying I am some kind of Casanova or Fabio. But I have seen Blue Velvet, if you know what I mean. I know what goes on behind closed doors.



9. Climbing an active volcano is an excellent alternative to a Thirtieth Birthday Party.

Like a boss.

Mount Etna.

Mount Etna.

10. And when your boyfriend is your best friend, he can do a pretty good job filling the void.

Cue the “aaawwwww”s. And the unintended double entendre.

11. You are never too old for presents.

JD tried to absolutely spoil me this year and let me tell you, it really is the thought that counts… Poor JD. He actually did do very well, and I loved every second of it.

12. It is perfectly acceptable (and rewarding) to buy presents for yourself.

And if you buy them online, then you can pretend that they have been sent to you by a secret admirer.

13. You are never too old to return to your homeland.

Even though I couldn’t spend my thirtieth back in Australia, I wanted to try and make it special so I decided to take a week-long trip to Sicily.

I originally planned to go with a group of friends, however these plans unfortunately fell through. This was originally disappointing as I wanted to make the trip special and it meant a lot to me to spend the time with people I love. Plus I was excited to play tour guide and show my friends my “origins”. However, I decides to make the most of it with JD and we ended up having the time of our lives.

We started in Palermo and we drove across the island to Catania over six days. We passed through Ucria, an isolated mountain town that was my dad’s
birthplace. On the way, we stayed in picturesque Taormina, visited Bar Vitelli in Savoca – made famous by the Godfather, swam at Isola Bella, climbed Mount Etna and partied with Sicilians in gaudy discotecas. We practiced our Italian. We ate way too much food. We drank even more wine. We absolutely spoiled ourselves.

It was the perfect holiday. And even though I am only half Italian and I have never actually lived in Sicily, there was something about returning their that felt like home. Or at least the closest thing to home than going all the way back to Australia. Maybe I just needed a bit of sunshine and beach time.

14. Gelato should always be eaten out of a brioche.


15. There is a limit to the number of arancini that one person can comfortably eat in one day.

That limit is three.

16. Ryan Gosling was in the Mickey Mouse Club.

Crazy, right?


17. Life’s too short.

Most of my adult life has been lived based on other people’s expectations. Or rather, based on my perception of what other people’s expectations were.

University, my career, my relationships, my coming out. It was all considered through other people’s eyes.

Being in London, isolated from my influences, has allowed me to really clear my mind. I have truly learned that if you know what will make you happy, you need to do it. Life is too short to be living another person’s life. Important people in your life might disapprove, get upset, or feel hurt. But at the end of the day, it is your life.

This sounds obvious (and surprisingly deep for my usual blog posts) because it is. But being obvious doesn’t make it easy, because we can’t help but feel obligated to the people that are important to us. However, if they truly love you, they will accept you.

And if they don’t? Boot ’em!

18. But Life’s not that short.

They say that if you haven’t bungee jumped by the time youre thirty, you never will. At least, I heard Ricky Gervais say that.

I call bullshit.

There are so many places an things that I haven’t seen or done while in the UK. Things that I won’t be able to do before I leave. We all have a lifetime to fill and it is always good to have things to come back to.

19. There is always money in the banana stand.

banana stand

20. Nothing in life is guaranteed.

You didn’t really think I could come up with thirty lessons for one blog post did you? I think twenty is a pretty good effort. Even if there was a little padding.

Until next time!

~ Expatria


5 thoughts on “Thirty on Thirty, or Lessons on Life Without Money Back Guaranteed

  1. happy birthday!!!

    I haven’t had the chance to read your blog lately (I am planning to catch up, don’t you worry about it) but I am reading this one while running late on checking out of a motel and I absolutely love it. I had no idea you were 30! I also have no idea how people in the UK can afford to vacation so often (not that you don’t deserve it). I also had no idea I loved parentheses so much.

    But seriously, happy birthday and congratulations on your life being what appears to be, utterly bitchin’.


    • Thank you! Is it because of my youthful good looks? Or is it my immature writing? Or did you think I was older….. Awkward…

      Yes, I am pretty lucky, but don’t get the false impression that everyone in the UK travels as much as we do. It’s the joy of the transient resident! And don’t be jelly – your Americana extravaganza.

      As for the posts, lucky for you I have been really slack with my writing lately, so you probably have nothing to catch up on. Lucky you’re writin enough for the both of us.

  2. Pingback: Ten Out of Thirty, or How to Finish What You Started | Ex-Patria

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