Ruminations on Turning 30
Half-baked reflections about turning 30 and not having accomplished everything I wish I had by now.
This is probably not the blog post to write late in the evening on a Tuesday with the following work day looming large on the horizon. This is a topic I imagined I would spend a lot of time hashing out and reflecting on my life. Instead, I’ll be playing the game of “Which is More Important: Sleep or Writing?” An alternative question would be, “When do I want to be awake: now or tomorrow morning?” These are the dilemmas I face. Nevertheless, here I am: a 30-year-old writer, staring in the great abyss of my word processor filled with endless possibilities of words and phrases and the one thought I can’t escape is that I don’t feel 30. By “feel” I mean that completely in the intellectual sense. If I meant physically, then yes, I definitely feel 30. In fact, on most days I feel like I’m 100. Mentally, however, I’m still a teenager.
Before I blogged, I mass-mailed. It started with just a few friends. I’d email them all a brief summary of what was going on with me, but then my narcissism and egomania took over and I started building a list of readers, which basically consisted of anyone I met who had an email address. My summaries turned into lengthy missives. Did you know that if you compose too long of an email in Microsoft Outlook that the spellchecker will actually stop functioning? Email was never meant to be a tool for writing novellas it seems. Anyway, I bring this up because when I turned 30 I remembered part of a passage I wrote when I was 20, thinking about turning 30.
René Garcia, Jr. 12/18/1999:
I helped celebrate my brother’s birthday recently. He’s 26. In 4 years he will be 30. Wow, that’s crazy. 30. The very number screams “established life.” I dunno, maybe this is just me and my great misconception of life as a whole, but I feel that if you’re not that person you met at Career Day when you were 8 by the time you’re 30, then man you blew it. Unless of course, you’re trying to be a doctor or a lawyer or some other profession that requires obscene amounts of schooling. It suddenly clarifies why so many of my “peers” try to get college out of the way so quickly. They want to get their life underway. Man, thinking this way really puts my life into perspective. I wonder if I’ll be able to make the deadline. Then again, I have no idea what the Hell I want to do with my life. You’re supposed to know these things, right? I mean, you NEED to know these things, right? Because if you don’t, then why do you do the things you do? We need an impetus after all. We need something to strive for. We need a goal. If not, then living is useless. Then there is no point to life. There is no point to my life at the moment. I think that really bothers me, but I carry the burden well.
Well that’s interesting. I was expecting to read that and see how different my thinking is now. I do think differently, but not by much. I agree with having life goals, but I think I’ve relaxed a bit on the timeline. I think that a person should always strive for his or her goals and not feel ashamed or feel like a failure for not having achieved them by 30. On the other hand, am I only writing that now because I haven’t reached my goals yet? The 20-year-old version of me is nodding vigorously.
The last bit of that passage brings back memories. I really did feel like I lived a pointless life at 20. Nothing inspired me. I was working fulltime and only going to school off and on. I lived with my brother who was going through a weird phase of his own, hosting parties in our apartment for his worthless friends night after night. I felt trapped, but not in the fully enclosed, claustrophobic sense. It was more like being on one side of a giant river and not knowing how to cross. So I did what I do best, which is to let my ego and narcissism decide for me. I tried to become a professional actor.
The management team I auditioned for in Burbank was impressed by my performance to the tune of $300 they required to pay their photographer for my headshots. I actually thought I was going to star in movies and press my hands into soft cement in front of Mann’s Chinese Theater and have Leno hanging on to every word on the Tonight Show. That was before I realized that Filipino actors don’t typically get big parts in film. Oh well. I don’t necessarily regret my misadventures in Hollywood. It was a fun experience despite the time investment and financial cost. If someone had walked up to me then and said that I would become a writer, I certainly wouldn’t have believed them. On the other hand, my path as a writer may eventually lead back to becoming an actor once I’m able to write myself into my films as the lead dramatic role, with just a little martial arts on the side.
In case you’re wondering, my birthday wasn’t recent. I’ve purposely held off writing this post so that readers wouldn’t be able to approximate the day for next year. Most of the people I had hoped would remember remembered and the one person I hoped would forget forgot, so overall I was pleased. I am, however, a little disconcerted about how I’m advertised to now that I’m aged. When I use social networking sites, I typically keep my personal information to myself, but I’ve relaxed a little on that rule and have revealed bits here and there, like relationship status and recently my true age. Before, I’d be lightly prodded by ads that asked in bold font, “STILL SINGLE?” Or the ad might simply command me to “GET A GIRLFRIEND!” There’s a special place in the marketing part of my heart for these ads because they’re so ingenious. Not only do they have the appearance of publically ridiculing you for being single, because they appear on your page when you visit it, but they also feature hot girls and marketing copy that makes it seem like all you need to do is click a button to hook up with them. Anyway, as soon as I hit 30, all of the thumbnail ads I used to get me through lonely nights had been converted to “Meet Women in 30 and Older Groups.” Alas. My wild and crazy days of casual sex with teenage girls are permanently behind me now. Bizarrely, I’m also getting ads for Russian mail order brides. I’d be interested to be part of the marketing meetings when whoever decides on the ad packages for different age groups. I wonder if at 50 I’ll be bombarded with ads for young girls again, but placed next to ads for Cialis and Just for Men.
I’m a 30-year-old writer. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I have a few regrets. And I’m not exactly where I want to be in terms of my career goals. Thankfully, I’m not worried. There’s still plenty of time.