Sally: I'm difficult.
Harry: You're challenging.
Sally: I'm too structured, I'm completely closed off.
Harry: But in a good way.
Sally: No, no, no I drove him away, and I'm going to be forty.
Harry: In eight years.
Sally: But it's there. It's just sitting there like this big dead end.
The first time I watched “When Harry Met Sally,” the classic romantic comedy with Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, I was 14 years old. I recall watching the film and thinking something along the lines of “Sally is old.” Today marks the day that the thought many years ago of Sally’s advancing age comes back to haunt me. Solving the simple mathematical word problem presented in the script above, Sally had her age breakdown at 32; the same age I turned today.
Meg Ryan’s onscreen breakdown is not the only reason this birthday is a little less sweet then the prior 31. A few weeks ago while on the phone making a chiropractor appointment I overheard one of my coworkers planning his friend’s 21st birthday party. Here I was suffering through unbearable neck pain, the aging process deteriorating my vertebrae, and he was determining which bar to begin the all night binge fest at. When was the last time I partied all night? After years of actually being one of the young ones in classes and at work, a freshmen taking classes with seniors and an associate working side-by-side with partners, I was now a veteran player wondering how I was going to keep up with the rookies on the team.
Being surrounded by people nearly 10 years younger then you has serious side effects. Their very youngness amplifies your own aging process. Being older and wiser is fine, but looking older and wiser sucks. I still look young for 32, but I definitely look older then the new hires and interns with their perfectly smooth, wrinkleless skin and lightning fast metabolisms. The only time I get carded these days is if the dirty old man behind the counter wants to know my name.
My wallowing in self pity will eventually pass and I will begin to appreciate all the wonderful things that are symbolic of being in your thirties. After spending most of your twenties trying to figure out the meaning of your life, you begin actually living that life in your thirties. You appreciate who is important to you, realize what direction your life is going and understand that you will forever be a work in progress. Most have stabilized their careers, their relationships and their living arrangements by their thirties. I welcome being taken more seriously at work and in conversations and enjoy being able to afford extra luxuries in life like surf and turf and exotic vacations that seemed impossible straight out of college.
There is nothing wrong with turning 32 and in the eternal words of the great Frank Sinatra “the best is yet to come,” but I still just can’t help but think that I’m going to be forty… someday…