I actually didn’t believe the time would ever come that I’d write that number and mean it, having anything to do with me. Despite the fact that I am happily married, we own two homes and rent a third, there’s a baby on the way, and medical bills mounting … in my mind I am nineteen years old forever. Young, free, with absurdly sculpted thighs, bleached-out hair (okay, that wasn’t a great idea), and a propensity toward misbehaving just a tiny bit. My twenties seem to have gone by in both a flash and an eternity at once.
Birthday dinner with my wonderful brothers. September 2007.
I remember my 20th birthday vividly (brown Lily Pulitzer polo shirt, green faux pearl necklace tied with a pink ribbon, very clear skin, gifted a Chanel bangle from Mom and a serious amount of alcohol from brother Jacob). The 21st brought with it some disappointment. I finally had friends at Middlebury and felt loved there. I was so excited to go to a bar with my real ID and get in. The bartender at the only spot in town wouldn’t let me through the doors because my license had technically expired that day. Come on.
September 11, 2009.
22, Pookie had to bring coffee to my dorm room and drag me downstairs to class because I was so sad about inching closer to thirty! At 23, I was living in a beautiful apartment in Rosyln, interning at ELLE and babysitting in the mornings to make rent. My most vivid memory from that day is sitting in my navy Volkswagen Beetle convertible listening to an old voicemail of my deceased grandparents singing “Happy Birthday” to me, and crying. Today, I would give anything to still have that voicemail, that got deleted a year later by mistake. 24 was gluten-free pasta on the Upper East Side with a friend and a boyfriend who have since been cut out of my life. 25 was revelry in Brooklyn with family coming to visit. What a great party!
Lunch with Mom on #26, 2010.
26, a rooftop soiree I threw myself. I wore a navy Elie Tahari jumpsuit and chic platforms and I have to say, I looked adorable. I would be laid off from my job at the Journal just two days later. 27 fell in the middle of Fashion Week, as this date often does. I covered backstage makeup at some shows and got a comped pedicure and facial before dining al fresco with friends and my Joshy in DUMBO. What a great day — and an amazing year to follow. For 28 we were in Dallas, I was isolated and a bit sad, but Josh took me to Nobu and I was newly engaged and it turned into a beautiful chapter.
Another snap of #26.
And then last year — number 29. I really did my 20’s proud with that one. We were in Italy. Josh chartered a boat to take us around Lake Como and drop us in Bellagio for an afternoon of shopping and eats. That evening, we changed into our birthday splendour and had an elegant dinner at the fancy restaurant inside of our hotel, the Grand Hotel Tremezzo. We shared a cigarette (rebels!) in the back gardens and then retired to our room to drink prosecco in bed. I was a newlywed with an incredible tapestry of experiences behind me, and a life of promise ahead.
28 in Texas.
So, what of thirty? There are goals I’d set for myself along the way that I haven’t reached yet, like publishing my first book. But on the other hand, I am married to the man of my dreams and 7 1/2 months pregnant with our daughter, so I have plenty to be proud of. Is it the impending wrinkles that freak me out? Not really, I suppose, because I take care of my skin and I have a few anyway, which haven’t stopped me from living. Is it the general idea of aging, and the fact that reaching a new decade is in itself a grand old reminder that I’m going to die eventually?
29 in the dress I dream about and can’t wait to whittle my waist back into — Lago di Como, Italia. September 11, 2013.
I haven’t quite figured out my aversion to thirty yet. And I’m sure in ten years I’ll read this and want to bonk myself in the nose for even whining when I’m about to approach 40! But I guess for me, just like I’ve always felt I was born for summer and the color pink, an age that starts in twenty- just feels most comfortable. What needs to happen next, I believe, is that I keep my spirit intact. That I sing aloud in front of my little girl, that I let loose and have the second glass of wine when I want it. That I remain spontaneous, planning surprises for the ones that I love. That I continue to push my own boundaries and step outside my comfort zone, like I did a year and a half ago when I attended my first yoga class, terrified and filled with self doubt. In the next decade, I want to learn to play guitar despite my family’s incessant teasing that I have no musical skills. I want to travel to Asia, and of course, to finally publish that first book. I am okay turning thirty with my man by my side and a baby girl on the way. I have a lot to teach her, and I wouldn’t know any of it if the last thirty years hadn’t played out the way they have.
Pregnant is the new black… sliding into 30 with a gluten-free bun in the oven. Dress courtesy of Pink Blush Maternity.
So, this morning I’ll head to my Thursday yoga class and meditate on all of the blessings in my life. I’ll then get my nails done, succumbing to fall colors. And tonight I’ll get dressed up in the red maternity dress I bought on Gilt about 90 seconds after finding out I was pregnant, and I’ll pair it with my favorite towering platforms, because that’s how you have to go out — with a bang. We’ll head over to our new town and sign the lease on yet one more new apartment, the first home our daughter will know. And then I’ll have a quiet dinner with my husband, who reminds me every day that I’m not only beautiful, but forever young.
Thirty isn’t looking so bad, after all.