Earlier this year, I tried to sit down and think of 30 things I wanted to accomplish by the time I turned 30. This was actually a much harder task than I had initially thought it would be. Luckily, some things that were already planned for this year could be used such as going to Brazil, or seeing a World Cup game live. Other things, such as finishing the novel I’ve been working on in my free time (which I don’t have), I was just trying to put a deadline on. Eventually the list made it to about 12 things before I set it aside and ended up too busy to revisit it.
Well, last week, I turned 30, and apart from the fact that it’s a hell of a lot harder than the last time to get back in marathon shape, so far I haven’t seen much difference. I’m still too busy for my own good, spend way too much time thinking of new ways to teach students about quadratic equations when they still use their fingers to add, and basically wondering what I’ll do when I grow up. So of course, it’s a little depressing when I’m planning my month and trying to find a smidge of time to go see Mockingjay when it comes out to find that Jennifer Lawrence is only 24 and kicking my ass at life. Although, that said, I’m happy for her. I like her. She’s funny and witty, unlike some of those other 24 year old stars who probably still use their fingers to add.
Still, at 30 I thought I’d be a bit more grown up, mature, cultural; Not that spending the Saturday night before my 30th at home with Fern dining on pizza delivery and Mountain Dew while watching the Avengers again isn’t cultural. It totally is. But still, I decided to give myself a boost by doing a bit of research. As I started, I realized that there are tons of men who make a name for themselves later on in life: Harrison Ford, Samuel L. Jackson, Dustin Hoffman, Dr. Seuss, Stan Lee. The list goes on and on, but the women I found who became stars after 30 gave me great hope–Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe winners (Kathy Bates, Jane Lynch, Lucille Ball), media moguls (Oprah), globally known artists (Vera Wang, Julia Child), and some of the best comediennes of recent years (Melissa McCarthy, Jenna Fischer, Kirsten Wiig)–but there were three that were like beacons to me and my crazy, off-the-wall dreams: Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and J.K. Rowling.
I love these women. One of my presents that I received for my birthday was Poehler’s new book Yes, Please. They are everything I strive to be as I stand in front of middle school girls everyday who worrying more about how tight their pants are rather than how to pass a class. They’re smart, funny, talented, and damn it, I want to hang out with them. (So Amy, Tina, Jo–if this gets to you, call me. We’ll grab a beer.) The best part about what I found was that each of them didn’t even begin to make their marks on their field until after they turned 30, and look at what they’ve accomplished since then!
I definitely walked away with a renewed sense of hope about anything I want to do, and who the hell cares if I didn’t cross it all off my list before I hit 30. I’m still well on my way to achieving what I want to, and age is just a number.