on turning thirty-

-like a lady. In thirty easy steps.

1) Wear black.

2) Then make everyone else wear black.

3) Then hang black streamers from the chandelier of your parents’ house and have your mom buy a black cake. A haunted house. The black napkins and black paper plates are too expensive. Make do with what you have.

4) Drink maple old fashioneds.

5) Throw your niece up in the air again and again and again, do not stop until you are sure to wake up with sore shoulders tomorrow.

6) Reflect back on the past year. Make yourself decide on moments: the happiest, the saddest, the silliest, the weirdest, the heart-stoppingest.

7) Wonder, idly, if your plants are still alive. You have been out of the apartment for so long.

8) Get stressed out about things that you absolutely should not be thinking about now and cannot possibly do anything about in the current moment.

9) Lock yourself in the bathroom like you used to do when you were younger, when your mother sent your brothers upstairs to fetch you and you had to pretend like you were just peeing forever.

10) The ball drops and some people are already sleeping, some people have chosen the wrong moment to leave the room, but most people shout some combination of happy new year and happy birthday. When you were younger you dreamt of having a boyfriend to kiss when the ball dropped but after you got that wish and then he cheated on you two weeks later with his ex-girlfriend he would eventually marry, you learn to care a little less about it.

11) Don’t expect everyone to call you. Some people forget. Some people choose to forget.

12) Go to the first city you ever lived and spend one freezing cold day walking around with your best friends in the whole wide world.

13) Forget your phone in an uber for the first time ever and feel like the worst adult.

14) Get your phone back thirty minutes later.

15) Eat brussel sprouts and fries for dinner.

16) Go back to your hotel that used to be a jail.

17) Eat more fries.

18) Go to sleep.

19) Wake up from sleep quickly and painfully- with a swollen and bruised finger.

20) Roll off the bed onto the floor and cry a lot and rock back and forth and think to yourself- I must certainly be the first person in the history of the world to break their finger while sleeping. 

21) Go to the hospital. It is right next door. Have your boyfriend- half-asleep and feeling too guilty for being the one to roll over on your outstretched fingers- put a coat around your shoulders.

22) Go to the wrong emergency room. There are two.

23) Get directions to the right emergency room. Go there.

24) Get x-rays. Be in pain. Learn that it is a very bad sprain, but happily not broken.

25) Go back to your hotel. Let your boyfriend help you into pajama pants.

26) Sleep. For only a couple hours because is now 4 in the morning.

27) Wake up and take a one-handed shower. Put makeup on with one hand. Pull jeans on with one hand.

28) It is now the day after your thirtieth birthday. Examine the impressive, purple/grey bruise that has formed on the palm of your hand. Feel tired and unsure.

29) Go out to breakfast and eat the best breakfast sandwich you have ever had in your life.

30) It is so cold. Start to feel sorry for yourself, start to wonder if this might be a telling portent of your year to come, Is your sprained and swollen and bruised pinky finger a crutch you must carry forth with you into the great unknown of 2015? Is this a great ditch from which it is impossible to pull yourself out from? Is this just the way things will be from now on?


31) But, no. Because life is random and in its randomness is where you will find the true meaning, the true beauty- in that nothing has meaning unless you choose to bestow such meaning upon it. So give your sprained finger no meaning at all. Give it advil and cold packs and a brace from the hospital. Give it those things, but do not give it anything more.

Happy 2015- and keep your meanings for the things that really matter.


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