I’m not sure if you can tell, but I’m writing from an entirely new decade. I don’t know . . . maybe my font just looks more mature, or my commas are clearly that of a sophisticated thirty-year-old, but to say that thirty has been a game changer is an understatement.
Instead of being anxious about the impending milestone, I had the great pleasure of marching right up to Thirty and saying:
“Look here, Thirty., You will not intimidate me. I am the happiest and most fulfilled I have ever been in my entire life and you signify leaving my twenties behind. Let’s get a few things straight: there will be no talk of my aging ovaries, my new investment in expensive wrinkle cream, or the fact that I was practically giddy about the interest rate I got when I refinanced my house. Thirty will be sassy, sexy and independent . . . so get on board, put your party pants on, and let’s get older.”
And get older we did.
Now I won’t tell you that the transition to thirty was not completely painless. Of course, there were moments when the thought of being thirty made me want to die.
For instance, my DC Birthday Bash planning started where all amazing events destined for greatness begin: on Pinterest, of course.
I went to the trusty little site to get ideas of a witty and clever name for my party and see what Pinterest had by way of creative ideas for a 29-year-old celebrating saying “good effing riddance” to her twenties.
Well, turns out that Pinterest is the worst. This is a screen shot of the auto-populated search results when I typed in “30th Birthday”:
The algorithm that Pinterest uses to help streamline searches paired “30th birthday” with “cougars,” and then the cruel final punch line of “wedding hair”?!
I think their algorithm is grossly mistaken . . . so I made up my own.
In spite of Pinterest’s sarcastic little outburst, I will say that my birthday was epic. I had some of the most important people in my life all in DC with me, and although my 500-square-foot studio smelled like hangover and eggs, it was an absolutely amazing way to ring in the new decade.
Now, as a reference back to one of my very first blog posts, you will remember that my goal written on my chart with my personal trainer was “build me an ass.” The second goal, immediately under the primary and most important goal of ass-building, was “to be in better shape at 30 than I was at 20.”
These goals followed me to DC and now exist on my chart with my trainer here.
So as I have worked with a trainer for close to 5 years now, and as thirty came and went, I began to wonder if I had achieved either one of the goals, and how could one quantify such a thing. I was thirty now, and it was time to assess, but how?
The confirmation of success came in the most unlikely of forms.
It was a Sunday, and I was leaving work. Sunday evening is not a particularly busy time for the metro, and as I was the only person on the platform commuting home from work, I was somewhat aware of the attention my heels and pencil skirt were garnering from the folks who had clearly been enjoying a Sunday Funday.
Now, there is a very specific place I stand on the platform when I am commuting home. My apartment is close to the National Zoo, which means my metro stop is generally clogged with angry, sweaty parents, screaming children and double-wide strollers. It also doubles as a fashion hot spot to observe the latest and greatest fanny packs of the season.
I know this sounds picky, but my escalator is one of the longest in DC, and one double-wide stroller can literally ruin your day and add 10 minutes to the commute home.
See for yourself:
So, all of this to say there is a strategy about which car I board in order to bypass the strollers and make my way home.
But today, there was a little hiccup in my walk to my strategic place on the platform.
There was a gentleman who was sitting on the floor, having a very enthusiastic conversation with himself. We’ll call him the Enthusiastic Metro Gentleman, or EMG for short. He was clearly in a heated debate with an invisible person, and it seems that he was having difficulty getting his particular point across. DC residents are great at ignoring everything around them, so all people on the platform were giving him some space, but otherwise pretending he wasn’t there.
I slowed my walk.
I had two choices: walk in front of the hand-waving, passionately-yelling EMG to get to my spot, or just stay put.
In this moment a toddler wailed, “But you said we could see the PANDAS!”
And my decision was made.
So the click of my heels echoed through the platform as I walked in front of the EMG, and as I passed him, without warning, he shouted,
There was no one around him except for me, and it was clear that the butt he was referencing was my own.
I tried to ignore him and kept walking, but he shouted it again.
“FAT BUTT!” echoed off the walls of the metro corridor as if this man had magically obtained a megaphone, and I did not have the typical crowd coverage of anonymity that one would have on a Monday rush hour.
Every single person is now looking at the EMG, and looking at me. More specifically, at my ass.
I am now red, sweating and trying not to die.
He shouts it again, and again, and again.
Many are looking at me with sympathy.
The Sunday Funday crowd is audibly laughing.
In the moment, I’m sincerely not sure which reaction from the public is worse.
He has now, full-on erupted into a repetitive chant of “Fat Butt,” and there is literally nothing I can do to stop it.
Finally, a metro cop walks my direction, smiles at me and says, “I’m sorry.”
How does one respond to the metro cop’s apology for the EMG screaming about the size and shape of your ass?
I just smile and say through the veil of red blotchy hives, “Thanks?”
He then has to physically subdue the EMG and tell him he can’t shout Fat Butt anymore.
During the week, the trains run every 5 minutes, so this particular brand of awkward torture would have been short-lived. However, the metro comes far less frequently on the weekend, and I had no choice but to stand on the platform while the entire scene played out.
Once safely on the metro, my hives subsided and I had calmed down, and I found myself experiencing a strange feeling associated with this incident.
Yes it was horrifyingly embarrassing, and yes, it is just the type of awkwardness that continues to plague my life, but do you know what?
That EMG came out of his invisible heated debate to make an out-loud observation on the size, and apparently shape, of my ass.
I was ashamed at first of being a little flattered by this situation, but then I realized that this EMG was of the objective opinion that I needed to know that at thirty years old, I had hit my goals. While you could argue that the fact that this man was discussing the coming apocalypse with his invisible adversary would somehow lessen the value of his assessment, I actually argue the opposite.
My new friend the EMG exists in a land of stream of consciousness and invisible friends. He has no reason to lie to me. In fact, his opinion probably ranks among the most unfiltered and objective available.
And he thought I had a fat butt enough to shout it at the top of his lungs.
I’m not sure what it says about your life when you are somehow empowered by strangers in the metro, but this feeling trumped mortified (which I had been feeling only seconds earlier), so I went with it.
It was in this moment I texted both of my trainers with these words:
And it was with this that my EMG welcomed me to Thirty.
This piece was originally published on Tara’s blog-Redefine Single