In two days, I'll be 30 years old, which, in the hierarchy of happy birthdays is supposedly a pretty big deal. Typically, the narrative around this milestone involves comments like "wow, do you feel old yet?", "say goodbye to your best years", and "Ah, the beginning of the end."
As I've limped towards this birthday, I've heard of all the above from friends and family, but despite their efforts, I've not been too fussed. The only real worry I've had about exiting my twenties is that some fashion choices are no longer available to me – farewell, flat brim caps.
A toast to maturity
But outside of that, I've been pretty good and, until recently, adopted the glass half full (of Metamucil) approach to aging. Over the last few years, I've had a severe salt and pepper situation developing, especially on the sides of my head. Rather than dye-and-deny, I've chosen to embrace, convincing myself it gives off a Young Clooney vibe.
Similarly, I've started to accept my physical limitations, instead of pushing the limit to prove that I've still got it. In my last column, I wrote about how hiring removalists was a rite of passage, and since the move, the reality of getting older has been a recurring theme.
Our new place has a bath, and when my fiancee, who is three years my junior, spotted it, she smiled and said "Nice bath." The tub is hideous, but what she really meant was – "Let's have sex in it later."
I immediately started to panic. At the best of times, I don't like baths, but every time I see someone having a bath in a film or TV show, I want to like them. They look so peaceful – the heat, the candles, the steam, what a vibe!
But the minute I get in everything is a little off; the water is too hot, so the first few minutes are spent dancing in the scalding heat, my ankles on fire. Eventually, I submerge my body, only to start sweating moments later. Am I relaxed yet?
I'm burning up at this point, so I'll dampen a washer and drape it across my head like an old lady having a spell. Now I'm both sweating and shivering, and Kate hasn't even gotten into the bath.
Down the drain
She arrives and enters gracefully, sliding in opposite me. Where I am big, she is small, and her petiteness only makes me more aware of my large limbs. I try to readjust, my appendage swish-swashing about, desperate for somewhere to rest. Are we ready to get intimate yet?
To make matters worse, every move is met by an overflow, making the floor a definite slipping hazard. Can I afford an injury at my age?
Then comes the actual act of bath sex, which, despite being quite wet, is actually pretty dry. I'm convinced I'm going to tear a hammy or strain my groin. Let's pull the plug (literally) and jump in the shower for an hour (haha, OK, 20 minutes) of power.
In your face, 30
And that my friends, is proof that thirty has come crashing in. Now that I've started to think about turning 30, I can't stop. It's the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon in full swing, where you notice something once and then suddenly it's everywhere.
I switch the TV on, and Friends is playing, a scene where Ross and Rachel are discussing what their lives will be like when they're 30. I'm older than the characters on Friends.
I finish the book, Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney, and text my whole family, instructing them to read it. "Did you know she's only 28 years old?" my sister replies. I did not.
Sitting in the waiting room at the dentist (I need two fillings, this is 30), and the only thing to read – Forbes 30 Under 30 list. I've always known making that list was a long shot, but it's now officially off the table.
There's always 40
I've spent hours this week reading articles like "10 CEOs Who Made It Big After 30," looking for proof that there is hope on the horizon. Side note: Jeff Bezos launched Amazon at 31.
Ultimately I know this is crazy behaviour, and looking in the mirror I ask myself: What would Clooney do?
The answer is obvious; he'd have a Nespresso and accept that this age, much like my salt and pepper hair, is not going anywhere. Time to embrace 30 with all that it offers, and if that means never having a bath again, well, I can live with that.
After continually being told to "use his words" as a young boy, Thomas Mitchell took that advice on board and never looked back. Since then his words appeared all over the place, including in the Sydney Morning Herald, Time Out, The Huffington Post and GQ. Thomas spends his days observing the unique behaviour of the Australian male, while trying not to overstay his welcome at the local cafe.
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