2007 – this is the year that all my friends of a certain birthyear – and me – will turn 30. Thirty years ago the world saw Star Wars, Apple II computers, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, the last case of smallpox, and the first Talking Heads album. My birthyear friends and I just missed the legends Anaïs Nin, Joan Crawford, Vladimir Nabokov, Elvis Presley, Groucho Marx, Maria Callas, Bing Crosby, and Charlie Chaplin (all in one year?? I know, I’ve always wondered at that, too.)

I’ve never really thought of 30 as any sort of milestone… but in this hyperspeed, inverted culture of ours where size 6 is the new 14 and 40 is the new 20, it seems that 30 has become the new 50. What does age really mean, if anything? Just look at the birthdays of the past week — David Bowie, hipper than all y’all, has turned 60, while George Foreman, with all the hallmarks of a grandpa, has only turned 58!

This train of thought leads me to Gloria, a woman I worked with in a little office job after high school. That is, I was just out of high school. Gloria was nearing 60. She had a copy of a photo on her desk, Elvis leaning down from a stage to touch teenage Gloria’s chin. She was radiant and Elvis was still handsome. For her 50th birthday, Gloria went skydiving. So if 30 is the new 50, I want to do something for my birthday and I have several months to plan for it. Make that… train for it. I don’t know what “it” will be yet, but it will require a lot more physical strength than I have right now, and it will be outdoors, and it will be very challenging, and it might last about a week. Fantasies include hiking in a redwoods forest or volunteering for a fence-building project in a national park or doing an outdoor survival class or just plain going somewhere. Hmmm….

Oh, and to all my Oregon friends – send us some of that snow!!!

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