Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Big Three-Oh

It's here. My thirtieth birthday. I am handling it in my patented mixture of grace and anxiety with which I handle most of life's events. Yes, like everyone who has come before me, I'll admit it snuck up on me. For awhile I was experiencing the existential crisis that many 30 year old women in my position experience. The feeling that I should have kids by now. I should own my home by now. I should be driving a car that is less than ten years old. Okay, some of these goals haven't been met. Some are barely on the horizon. Sure, ten years ago this definitely is not what I had in mind for myself. But in a lot of ways, this is better than what I had in mind. So instead of dwelling on what I don't have today, I'm going to put together a short list of all the things I've experienced that I would never have imagined doing by the time I was 30.

  • Eloping in Vegas.

  • Getting a Ph.D. In Physics.

  • Going to Europe. By myself.

  • Living in 3 different states, just a few weeks shy of moving to my 4th.

  • Seeing baseball games at Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, Miller Park, Nationals Stadium, Pro Player Stadium, Tropicana Field, and the Metrodome.

  • Publishing 15 papers in academic journals and one book chapter.

  • Eating beignets at Cafe du Monde.

  • Looking out over the Grand Canyon, hiking in the French Alps and the Great Smokey Mountains.

  • Walking along the shores of the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and Lake Superior.

  • Listening to jazz music at the Village Vanguard.

  • Sterilizing over 30 cats and placing about 15 cats and kittens in loving homes (including Dixie, Sauvi, and McLovin).

  • Teaching Girl Scouts about Astronomy and how to find the North Star.

  • Seeing Canada and Mexico.

  • Giving talks to magnetism experts in Los Angeles, Denver, New Orleans, Baltimore, Boston, and Montreal.

  • Meeting a Munchkin.

  • Bombing a job interview.

  • Owning a three-legged cat.

  • Having a little sister.

  • Seeing two presidents speak in person.

  • Eating lunch with a Nobel Laureate.

  • Climbing the steps to the Bell Tower at Notre Dame.

Now it's your turn. What were you proud experiencing when you turned 30? For those youngsters, what do you hope to experience by the time you're my age?


fermicat said...

That's an impressive list!

My 43 year old brain may be biased, but thirty doesn't sound old in the least. :-)

Happy Birthday!

Christopher said...

Me? A whole lotta driving. Mostly with you in the back seat listening to Smurfs on Parade through your “Walkman.” My god, where did the years go! Happy Birthday MB!!!!! :D)

Christopher said...

BTW - the timestamp on your post was intentional, right???

Moe said...

You turned 3-0 on 7-8-9! cool! Happy birthday! Hope you got really really drunk.

Missyah...see you again soon.

Natalie said...

Thanks. It's just a small hurdle. I knew you were about that age, but you seem younger. I hope I follow in your footsteps.

I know! Have you ever asked Emma if she even knows what a Walkman is? Part of the reason this has been tough on me is that you and mom are so young. I was ten when mom turned 30, so I actually remember it well and have used it as a benchmark. I need to remember I am doing things differently. Not necessarily better or worse.

I know, my dad had to point out the funny number thing. Didn't get really drunk, that will come tonight in Cape Cod. We had a lab lunch for me, but it wasn't as awesome as my hamburger cake last year. ;)

gabrielle said...

What an amazing year! (I forgot the part about meeting a munchkin.)

All the best laid plans gracefully fall away so that the unexpected may tickle us to delight. Congrats on all your accomplishments and joys. Eating beignets at Café du Monde would top my list any day!

Enjoy the tangy spray this weekend and please say hello to the ocean for me.

dr sardonicus said...

Dang, you got to see two presidents speak before you turned 30? I only got to see one!

Happy birthday, Natalie.

Anonymous said...

Happy 30th birthday Natalie. Thirty great years behind you and many more ahead!

Beth said...

I really have to say I was most proud of being a mother because it was never what I wanted to do and I was pretty good at it.

All the other stuff was just stuff till they came along.

Mom said...

I Remember as dumb kids when our parents brought take out Chinese food home, we would look at our fortunes in our fortune cookies and finish the sentence with "between the sheets", or "with no pants on", giggling ourselves silly. I bring this up because if you took any one of your great experiences and added the sentence "with a 2 year old" or "with a 4 year old", none of them would probably of never happened.

mom said...

uh-oh, sorry about the double negative

Scott said...

My initial impression was that never would have thought when you were sixteen that at thirty you would be a doctor of physics. When the other things like kids happen, all that business of needing them before thirty will go poof. I was over thirty when I met my eventual wife, and thirty five when our son was born.

Nice list. I don't want to compile mine; I'd rather just enjoy yours.