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Blast Los Angeles Bureau

I'm very surprised that I'm 30. Quite honestly, I never thought I'd make it this far and used to think how glamorous it would've been to die young. Now that I've resigned myself to living out a normal life span (I'm assuming), I actually will enjoy this new decade. Being in my 20s was okay, but I was doing a lot of learning and not enough living. Now I feel like the smart, savvy hipster chick I wanted to be ten years ago.

I'm trying to convince myself that it will be a good thing. So far, I've noticed that my body's starting to fall apart. All my joints crack whenever I shift position, like standing up from slouching in front of the computer. Occasionally my muscles ache dully for no reason, or if they're not aching dully, they're the targets of some sharp, mysterious pain.

I'm also losing that youthful glow that I took for granted and abused. Now my skin is that much drier, and my hair has become like a scarecrow's overnight. Bring on the intensive hair treatment -- no more shampoo and conditioner 2-in-1 combos for me. And I think yearningly of my bed with the cranberry-colored, heavyweight cotton flannel sheets at all hours of the day -- at work, at the movies, while shopping. Sleep has taken over my social life. Gone are the days when I would get home well past dawn. Now I'm angry if I wake up in the middle of the night because I've been robbed of a good night's sleep.

Physical changes aside, it's a good time to be in your 30s. I wouldn't have wanted to be so during the "thirtysomething" era. The baby boomers are now middle-aged, and they've taken the pressure of being perfect with them. It's OK to slack a little. It's OK if you don't want to be married and fruitful. I know more single people than married couples. I know more people who are free to make changes in their lives, career and otherwise, without having to worry about a family. Do I sound like I'm endorsing selfishness? Maybe I am. But I only point out that societal norms should not dictate your life if you don't agree with them.

I am fortunate to have friends who are in their 30s and show no sign of acting their age; I look up to them. I don't mean they're jobless and irresponsible -- quite on the contrary. Within the past couple of years, they've all made some changes in their lives, like moving to another city, quitting a 9-to-5 job to freelance, going back to school, and generally taking chances. I like that.

My big fear is that I'll become complacent, that I'll be afraid to do anything new because it would disrupt my comfortable life. I've seen too many people like that, and I don't want to join their ranks. I can't imagine what it would be like to become closed to the possibilities. Not that I'm going to start stunt flying or fire walking soon, but if I had a chance to go to Mars, I would. And bring the family with me.

See how I've tried to convince myself that turning 30 is going to be this great life-altering experience? A part of me still says, "Who're you trying to kid?" While I do want to believe what I'm saying here, I also have regrets. Sometimes I wish I did have a family already, especially since I've been surrounded by fertile, pregnant women all year. I wish I didn't do many things that probably have prevented me from living up to my full potential (a phrase used in conjunction with my name during parent-teacher conferences). And I really, really wish I wasn't so afraid when I was younger. If I didn't want to fit in and be "normal" so desperately, maybe I would've been an astronaut.

The one crisis-inducing question I asked myself is, "What would I do differently? Where did I go wrong?" If you're like me -- not famous, not wealthy, not married, and not settled -- you're going to ask yourself that question. After experiencing overwhelming anger and bitterness for ten minutes, I'm fine. Why should I let an arbitrary age decide whether I've made it? I'm bigger than that.

Because, like the song says, age ain't nothing but a number.