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I have felt the heat of my 30th birthday, breathing down my back like a dog in the backseat of a car, since the day I turned 29.
I know, I know, “age is just a number.” I’d love to ignore it completely, but I can’t help but feel impacted, just as I do by so many other numbers; there’s the number on the scale, the numbers in my bank account… There are expectations that I have had for myself—partially self-imposed, partially from societal norms/pushy family members—upon reaching this milestone. I assume once that date I’ve been dreading, April 8th, comes and goes, it will end up being like every other big event that I get all worked up about—not as painful as expected, short-lived, and insignificant in all aspects of my life going forward. Basically, my 30th birthday will be like the first time I had sex.
Set aside marriage, children and a career. I hope that in my 30s, I can truly become confident in who I am and what I hope to achieve. I want to speak without fear of judgement and do without fear of failure. A lofty goal, I know. And of course:
As part of the many writers fellowships and programs that I have applied to since I set out on this path, there is always those questions along the lines of “why are you diverse?”, “what makes you different?”, or the least creative, “Write a one page biography” (Okay, that last one is not a question). I am always stuck staring at a blank page in Word, and then usually, stuck with my head in the fridge, looking for distraction snacks. Damn you parents for always being so supportive and giving me a normal childhood!
I am 30 days shy of turning 30, and I am still trying to figure out the answer to those questions (I came up with some sort of answer for those writing programs, but they must not have been acceptance-worthy). When I moved to Los Angeles 5 years ago I thought, “this is amazing. I can totally be whoever I want. I can be the better, more confident, Dyana.” As I learned, I can’t fully reinvent myself. But that’s okay; I instead, want to feel good about the gal that I am. I thought that if I shared stories from my life in honor of my impending doom—I mean, birthday— maybe I’ll find some clarity. And if not, I’ll at least have a record of events as my memory starts to deteriorate on account of my old age.