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Credit: Ryan Shea

When you get to the age of 26-27, you start to realize that your Facebook and social media accounts become flooded with “I’m engaged!”, “We are getting married!”, “We are having kids!” and so on and so forth.  It can be alarming, a bit consuming, and can make you analyze your life in terms of progress with the typical “societal” factors of where you should be around that age.  For myself, I just turned 30 on Friday, and happen to not be in a relationship, somewhat overweight, and openly gay.  Should I be concerned that these things aren’t happening for me at this time in my life?

Credit: Twinkletotmom
Credit: Twinkletotmom

Turning 30 can have a myriad of reactions depending on the type of person you are.  For example, my best friend turned 30 two years ago, and she became a volcano of emotions which erupted when the cake her mom was making came out a different color than it was supposed to be.  This led to her admissions of hating that she was single, not in the best shape of her life, bad job, and so on and so forth.  The cake wasn’t representative of her anger, but it was the catalyst that made her think that everything in her life is wrong.  But do all of those things really matter just because of a number?

Yes, you can stay friends with an ex.
Yes, you can stay friends with an ex.

Normally when someone turns 30, you either start or are in the process of wanting to find a mate for a relationship.  For me, personally, dating in and out of the NYC bear & gay scene has been interesting, funny, pathetic, and so many other ways to describe dating in general.  In my 20’s, I had one long term relationship that lasted for a year, and a couple 3-4 month ones that didn’t work out for its own reasons.  Do I regret any of them?  No, they are all life lessons that I have learned from and do my best to not make the same mistakes in future dating/relationship scenarios.  When you are in a city like New York, your career is somewhat put at the forefront, especially if you are a go-getter like myself.

Me and Seth Meyers last month.
Me and Seth Meyers last month.

Seven years ago, I couldn’t find a job in this economy after college and just last month I was the sole reporter at The Tony Awards for a major print/digital publication.  Clearly, my 20’s were about building my brand and myself, yet in the back of my head, I do wonder that if I put the effort that I did with my career into a relationship, would I be further along with the latter like I am with the former?  I’m not sure at this point.

Me currently.  I love Chipotle. :)
Me currently. I love Chipotle. 🙂

Another thing that people seem to always hone in on is weight.  I have discussed weight in several related articles, as mine has yo-yo’d up and down for years.  Due to being a food critic and traveling all the time, it becomes hard for me to make time for the gym, which then leads to a ton of excuses why I have not gone.  In the past three years, I have put on a good 40-50 pounds, and can definitely feel it.  Yes, I have to go to the XL and XXL section sometimes, and I’ll try to make time for the gym, however I have built a big confidence in myself over the past couple of years where people see me for me and not because I’m textbook “overweight”.  I’ll have another piece of cake if I want it, thank you very much.

Last picture I took with my mother, October 2004.
Last picture I took with my mother, October 2004.

I woke up this past Friday morning to a bunch of messages, texts, voicemails wishing me a Happy Birthday, yet didn’t feel different about turning 30.  For me, turning 30 was more of an accomplishment as I have been through quite a lot in my life.  I lost my mother to cancer at 18, got diagnosed with HIV at 25 (became undetectable a year later), survived the economy and am doing pretty well for myself, given the scenarios.  So, for me, instead of dwelling on what I don’t have, I try to focus on what I do.  So many of us are focused on what we can improve that we aren’t happy with, but don’t sit back for a second and see what we have actually accomplished.  So the fuck what if I am single?  So what if I’m fat?  So what if I would rather spend my nights with an order of Steamed Dumplings and my Roku than perusing the bar scene until 2:00 AM?  Stop focusing on what you think society wants out of you and focus on what YOU want out of you.  Doing so will make the number 30 just that, a number.