Friday, July 29, 2011

Turning Thirty

I don't remember turning 30. I remember turning 40. I had a large pot-luck birthday party at the big yellow house I shared with two other single parents and our three kids. I remember turning 50. I had an even bigger party, outdoors, in a county park with a contra dance band to play for listening or dancing. I had not one but two scrumptious cakes from the Prolific Oven, chocolate fudge and orange-almond. I have not yet reached the big 6-0. I have time yet to plan for that one. I'm thinking smaller and simpler. Maybe just a party for one, someplace I've never been, Greece perhaps.

The summer I turned 30, Jim and I did not have a permanent home address. We were house-sitting for various friends, with a five month old in tow, moving from one gig to another with motel stops in between. I was still on crutches, having broken my femur six months before. For most of that summer, I was hooked up to an electro-magnetic stimulation device for twelve hours a day, taking care of a baby while Jim worked on building our cabin. For one month of that summer, before I found out I needed to be connected to the grid twelve hours a day, we camped out on the land where we were building our cabin, up in the hills above the peninsula, all three of us, in a large tent, with running water from a spring. We drove to town five days a week for work. I don't remember what we did for showers. A quick plunge in the cold creek probably sufficed. We had no phone in case of emergency, just an hour long ride into town.

It didn't seem daunting at the time, as it does now when I look back on those days and wondered how I coped. We just did it. We were young and strong. We were willing to take risks.

So today I have been thinking of my friend Sarah, who turns thirty tomorrow. During the past year, she has uprooted her familiar life in LA and moved to an Israeli kibbutz with her husband and two young pre-school age children. She has started a new life in a new land, with a new language and new culture, a new life far from her LA home, her family and friends.

And I wonder...when Sarah looks back at her 30th birthday thirty years from now, what will she remember?

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