Friday, August 13, 2004


The Big 3-0

Yes, it's true, folks, this weekend I shall turn 30 and my twenties will come to an end. I believe this is an auspicious time for me to review the past ten years, so here's a recap:

20 - I broke up with my high school/college first love, whom I'd been with for almost five years. I broke up with him because he wasn't making time for me - I later found out it was because he had a secret girlfriend on the side for the last months we were together. NICE.

20-22 - On sabbatical from boys after the debacle with FL, I focused on work. I graduated from college, got my MA, and basically was a workaholic. Sometimes I think that if the thing with FL hadn't ended I would never have gone to graduate school. I go back and forth between wanting to thank him and wanting to strangle him for his role in my career path.

23-25 - These were the glorious first years of my PhD program. I moved to the northeast, got a great group of friends, and sowed many a wild oat with musicians and bartenders during these years. It wasn't all pretty, but oh, was it fun. I was under the impression at this time that I was getting all of my oats sown because I would need to settle down in the next few years. As you all know, this didn't exactly come to pass.

25-28 - I took my qualifying exams, wrote my dissertation and defended it, went on the job market and got a job, and moved back to the midwest. Work-wise, it was a very productive time. Part of this was possible because of most-recent ex, with whom I moved in about three months after we got together and whom I thought I would marry. Yeah. That didn't happen. Thank God.

29 - Well, it was my first year on the tenure track, and it was intense in a way that I hadn't imagined it would be (the 4-4 load will do that to one) but also rewarding in a way that I hadn't realized it would be. I realized I really like the mid-sized city that I live in, I became good friends with some of my colleagues, and I generally settled into the professorial life. And then, well, you know the basics of my activities of the summer.

Looking back, I notice some patterns. First, the ebb and flow of my personal life often follows the ebb and flow of my professional life. I settle down with a boyfriend in order to do work. I break up with boyfriends in order to do work. Relationships, generally, have been secondary to work. If I'm ever going to make a real commitment to somebody, I think I've got to stop using guys in this fashion. Second, if this summer is any indication, I'm repeating the post-FL break-up pattern of screwing around as a way of staving off really getting involved. I think this is a natural part of my healing process, but it's still interesting to me that this is what I do. That I go into sowing wild oats mode, elated to be free to do so. Maybe I'm just not meant to be with one person? Because when I think about the times I've been happiest in my life, those times do not include when I've been in a serious relationship.

It's all very strange, this turning 30 business. When my mom turned 30, she had a 10-year-old. My experience is so different from hers. I'm lucky because most of my friends are also single - both new friends in my new city and my pack of friends that I've accumulated along the way - but what's interesting at this point is that I'm starting to get the pressure about getting married/having babies from people who are not in my inner circle and from family. I've always thought that I would get married and have babies, but now that I'm at that age when I "need to start looking for a husband," I don't feel like that's something I'll ever want to do. Relationships are hard. It is easier not having to think about another person. And my one close friend who got married is currently separated from her husband and I would rather not get married than have to go through what she's going through. I've been through one divorce - my parents' - and that was bad enough. I just don't want to do that again.

Yes, so these are my reflections related to the big birthday.

In other news, I went out with my separated friend, I'll call her Naomi, last night for a late dinner and some drinks. She's about to begin a PhD program at a nearby university and we've been friends since we were 14. It was a great time. Don't you just love those friends whom you've known forever and who you can fall right back in with even after years of not hanging out or talking to on a regular basis? Those friends whom you're always in sync with no matter what different experiences you've had? She's just awesome. I just wish that things weren't so fucked up with her hubby.

Before I went out with her Freud called me, but I couldn't talk to him because (a) I was on the phone with my friend Jezebel, who's coming to town for the birthday, and I was discussing when she would arrive, etc. and (b) I needed to leave in 5 minutes to meet Naomi. I only mention that he called because I had told him that I would call him at week's end when he called on Monday. Doesn't he realize that when the other person says they will call you that you should not call them? Isn't that like the first rule of telephone use? Over on the comments at Sharleen's blog there's been some discussion about Mr. Right-Nows, and Profgrrrl noted that with her Mr. Right-Now Cuteboy she feels very much in control, and she suspects the same of me with Freud. That is definitely the case. I feel like I don't have to do anything to make him like me or to finesse the situation. I imagine this is what many of the guys that I dated pre-most-recent-ex felt in relation to me. It's a nice position to be in for me at the moment, but at the same time it's only possible because I don't really care what happens with him. If I cared, could I be so casual about the whole thing? I suspect not. And so what it also means is that with my past beaus, they didn't really give a shit about me. That's not so nice to think about, and it ruins my fantasy that all guys I've ever dated think of me as their "one who got away." I must put these negative thoughts from my mind.

At any rate, I'm not sure whether I'll include Freud in my birthday celebration, although he is aware that there will be celebrating. I told him I'd call him this weekend when I rushed him off the phone last night, so I guess I've got to do that. I don't know. I'm not sure if I want Freud to meet my "real" friends, and I'm not sure if I want my "real" friends to meet Freud. That said, if he wanted to chauffeur Jezebel and I around while we get hammered tonight I would like that a great deal. Hmmm. Must consider if enlisting Freud in such activity is wise. I definitely don't want him around on Saturday night because my friend Glover will be in attendance, and I think that Freud would cramp my style with him, which generally includes much flirtation and innuendo that we never act on (well, except for the one time when I frenched him when he went in for his usual chaste kiss goodbye, but can you blame a girl for random acts of kissing banditry?).....

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