Thoughts on Thirty

by MW Cook

     It happened.

     I’ve been dreading it for five years. I never thought it would come, but it did. I’m thirty.

     I think about death a lot. Most spiritual people seem to be fine with the idea of dying. Not me. Hate it. Rage against it. Thirty feels like a hefty victory for the Dark Stranger.

     And while the icy talons of my own mortality are certainly gripping tighter now, I was surprised to find that thirty greeted me with some very positive realizations.

     The first was the final end to a worldview that had been dying for a while. Since leaving high school, I’ve had reoccurring dreams where I find myself wandering the halls of Centennial Secondary School, lost and late for class. When I finally get to my class (always some kind of History with Mr. Oliver), I discover that I didn’t do any homework. And the rest of the dream is filled with shame and embarrassment as Oliver stares me down.

     On the night before my thirtieth birthday, I had the dream again. But it was different. I was still kinda lost and I still hadn’t done my homework. But I didn’t care. It was my homework to do, after all. It was my learning to get. I was not under the authority of the teachers in this new dream. The school was my place.

     So as I stand in the world, an excitable thirty-year-old, I realize I am not a child. I am no one’s ward. I am a man. An adult. And I do not think that man needs men to govern him. I am free. Under no one’s authority except for those who I chose to look up to. It seems simple enough, and the concept has been coming to me for a while, but it finally hit me hard on April first.

     The second wonderful gift of being thirty was the newly-discovered fact that I am now legally able to be ridiculous. You see, like alcohol and smoking, being ridiculous requires a certain amount of wisdom to enjoy responsibly. I did not realize this, but it turns out thirty is the age at which you may indulge in ridiculousness as will. Excellent. Thanks to the local seller of Prem for pointing this out.

     So, as a responsible ridiculous person, I have decided to sit down and plan out my ridiculousity for the coming year. Here are the ridiculous things I hope to complete before I turn thirty-one:

  • Write another novel. It will be my third. Stories are the best, most accessible and primal way of viewing and explaining the universe and the human condition. Every good story is true, even the ones that never happened.
  • Learn Calculus. Mathematics are the other way of viewing and explaining the universe. It’s less earthy and accessible, but I’ve been told it’s higher and more spiritual. And I’ve wanted to learn math for a long time. It’s nice that I’m finally allowed, legally.
  • Fix my body. Not that it’s broken, of course. But it could work better. And now that it’s getting older, I need it to function as best as it can.
  • Fix my soul. That one is a bit broken, though not as much as it used to be. And there is nothing–NOTHING–that does the soul better than throwing love around in every direction.

     What are you going to do when you get old enough to be ridiculous?