My birthday, which I have blasphemously referred to as KRISmas is fast approaching. This is going to be a big one; KRISmas XXX (that’s thirty in Roman numerals for those of you who didn’t grow up watching WrestleMania and in case you have a dirty mind…). The thought of thirty has been looming for a while now. I have had a few friends who joined that club already and it has been in the back of my mind for the last few years; in fact, I’ve been struggling with my age since I hit a quarter century. My friend, the blossoming YouTube star that I wrote about earlier this year turned thirty in January and shared thirty things she learned on her journey and I sort of rediscovered the song “30 Something” by JAY Z in which he reminisces about his past and celebrates how far he’s come and how much he’s matured. I decided that was the outlook I wanted to have going into KRISmas XXX and I came across around an article from VICE, entitled “The VICE Guide To Turning 30 For Men” which I thought would be a helpful piece of advice to get me ready for what was to come. Sadly, it wasn’t. I felt like it was a lot of “You can’t do this anymore because you are thirty” so I’ve decided to use this forum that I have been given on Tint Of Ink to respond to this article by Robert Foster, and give my own thoughts about turning 30.
Foster starts his article very abruptly and doesn’t really introduce what his topic or approach is. He starts with the First thing to remember: Movie remakes are not ruining your childhood, you fucking baby, and you know what? I wholeheartedly agree. I’ll be the first to admit that I was not thrilled, and still hate the idea of a fake, genetically engineered Indominus Rex wreaking havoc in Jurassic World, but I get it. (I was also more than thrilled when the less fake, genetically engineered dinos we have come to know and love teamed up to lay the Smackdown on said big bad). Jurassic World was actually cool but it didn’t replace the love I have for Jurassic Park and that is OK. It is an extension of something I loved and still do; and it’s pretty fucking cool that I can now enjoy new movies, as well as the old ones with my nieces, family, and friends.
Foster hits home in his second paragraph when he mentions that we often sit around talking about how we are getting old, and how hangovers are getting worse. This is definitely something I do when friends of my age get together. (My hangovers have gotten worse. Those headaches and fatigue the next morning seriously make me question my life choices. To be fair though, I try to be a“ Smart Drunk” and drink lots of water before bed and know the appropriate level of as a friend once called it, “slight to moderate tipsy” before I stop. Having a hangover the next morning feels like a failure, which is something I’ve always felt.) I have friends that are a few years younger too where I often make jokes about my age with them. In fact, when I get IDed at the liquor store I always reply with “But I’m old.”)
The first proclamation that Foster makes is that Social Media Is Now A Place For Quiet Dignity. This is one idea that I can definitely get behind. Those of us who are hitting 30 or have been hanging out there for a bit certainly came of age at the dawn of social media. Do I need to bring up searching for the perfect song lyric for your MSN name that fit your current mood and angst level? Does anyone else remember Windows Live Spaces? It was where I had my first blog and basically vented about how no one loved me and I was sad. Thank God that doesn’t exist anymore and I don’t have access to what I wrote. That was also back when I tried to get into Death Cab because I thought they were singing about how I felt because I was “emo”. In actuality, I was just being an angsty child who could furiously type a status like nobody’s business. I would never dream of doing something like that now. (Though perhaps you could argue that that is exactly what I’m doing right now?) and neither should you. Ever. I sometimes can’t help but make a thinly veiled shade Tweet but for the most part, I don’t rant about how shitty my life is (and it kind of is) on social media because no one cares. Foster calls this behavior embarrassing and I’d have to agree.
Then Foster goes in on the movie remakes again. OK? You already did that… and I agreed with you on it. Why are you bringing it up again? Perhaps there are some journalist friends out there may want to send some pointers along to this Vice writer?
Next up, Foster drops the sobering line that Your Body Isn’t What It Was. “By now, Facebook’s “Memories” thing should have made you well aware that you are not the bright-eyed, snake-hipped young thing that took 2006 by the balls,” he says but, in actuality, 2006 Kris only wishes he could look like 2017 Kris. I have certainly struggled with my appearance over the years and sometimes seriously think I may suffer from some slight body dysmorphia but deep down I know that I’m in much better shape than I was 10 years ago. 10 years ago I was a skinny little bitch who would not have pushed himself to beat his Tely 10 time from three years prior. 2006 Kris did not go to the gym 5 times a week, he didn’t swim or do yoga. I know I’m in better shape than I was back then and certainly better than I was as a teenager. I love food and beer, and actually, part of the reason I do exercise is so that I can eat and drink those things and hopefully suppress that 14 year old who got made fun of in the gym change room at school because he had “titties”.
Weddings Seem To Be Happening A Lot, says Foster and that is also not true for me. In fact, last year was the first wedding I’d been to in six years. I also know this isn’t entirely the norm but with some of my friends in serious relationships, I suppose it isn’t completely out there to think there may be more weddings on the horizon. If you are like me and as Foster puts it, “childless and unmarried at the very least, and most probably single, living in a large metropolitan (or some kind of metropolitan…shout out to St. John’s!) area and engaging in an extended adolescence because you are, frankly, not really a proper person yet, “you might feel the same way I felt about the last wedding I attended, and that is jaded. I was single, had no date prospects and certainly down on love. Then I got asked to emcee and I actually kind of did a good job. I looked around that night and saw people I came of age with, people I loved, people I don’t see that often but talked like we’d seen each other yesterday all there to celebrate the love of two pretty rad people, which is actually pretty swell when you think of it.
Foster’s next observation about 30 is that Also, Babies Seem To Be Happening A Lot. I can’t really identify with this one as most, if not nearly all of the wombs belonging to my lady friends have been tenant-free. That said, one of the ladies in the above picture will be welcoming a potential future UFC Women’s Champion any day now (I’d prefer WWE but I know this friend likes the Octagon rightsh?).*** That said, now likely is the time when there will start to be talk of “youngsters”.
*I’m going to skip over the next two sections in Foster’s article and save them for last.*
Some People’s Relationships Are Getting Serious And Some Aren’t, proclaims Foster and he is definitely right. He means this on a strictly “mate” type level but I think you can extend this to all relationships. You never know when a relationship is going to end abruptly. This applies to anyone from an acquaintance, someone you thought would be a lifelong friend, a partner or even close family members. I’ve had all of these relationship breakdowns in my 20’s and have seen other friends go through it as well. My “starting lineup” of potential groomsman has seen steady rotation this decade, and while I hope it doesn’t change anymore (providing the “Wedding” Signal one day flashes in the sky for me), I know it very well could. By and large, I certainly don’t miss the people that aren’t around anymore but their exits make the friendships I still have all the more meaningful.
Foster says Your Parents Are Getting On A Bit, meaning “your parents are getting older”. Mine are certainly not “old”. Some of yours might be though, and the thing is, nothing is promised so age doesn’t always matter. “Bury the hatchet on any post-adolescent nonsense disagreements you might have with them,” suggests Foster “because unless they’re religious weirdos who hate you for being gay, they’re probably OK at their core”. My parents are far from religious weirdos and as I grow older I realize I’m more and more like them, especially my dad. Growing up, I always felt like I was the Lisa Simpson of my family, I fit in but then I didn’t, (though I suppose that just means I was an individual in a larger, cohesive unit). My dad and I would bicker a lot and despite some of our opposing views today, more often than not we find ourselves on the same page. This is the man that I learned how to debate with, he taught me how to drive and I got my wit from him. I’ve always been close with my mom but it was in my 20’s that I really came to appreciate my dad on another level.
With the initial topic of this section, I harken back to the one about weddings; “Anyway. Do you own a suit?” Foster asks. “Maybe you should get a suit. If you’ve been even marginally personable in the last three decades, then the next few years will require your attendance at a number of weddings.” This is sound advice for not only the wedding section but also for the section that on babies, and your parents getting older. I realized a couple of years ago, that a suit was a purchase I should make since weddings, funerals and retirement celebrations might become increasingly common.
Here’s where Foster loses me for a minute, in the next section of his piece, he proclaims, No More High-Top Sneakers, Tight Shirts, And Tight Jeans. To quote an album cut from The Beastie Boys, with all due respect Robert Foster, “Hey fuck you!“ While I’ve been with you on the tight jeans since JAY Z proclaimed that skinny jeans were impractical for men, (and really…why do you want to wear a tight shirt?!) The bigger issue here is wearing what you freaking want. I spent a large portion of my 20’s in a relationship where I was slightly emasculated and spoken down to and sort of “expected” to be proper so if I wanna wear a Snapback and some Nikes at 30, I’m damn well going to do it. Also, I’m way more confident now than I used to be so I’m going to wear what I want. Foster does say “…as always, do whatever you want…” though and does make a point about wearing clothes that fit your body type; I’d argue that my Jordans still are applicable from time to time.
Foster also warns earlier on in his piece that Your Band Might Not Happen, Sorry; this can be applied to any wild dream or illusion of grandeur one might have. I gotta say that I’m somewhere in the middle on this one. While I feel that if mega stardom success hasn’t hit you before thirty you might not make it, I still kind of feel like you should never give up as long as you are realistic and rational about it. I’m too old now to be in a boy band, but maybe that U2 cover band I always joke about could be a thing someday. I’m not going to be rich and famous, but I have always wanted to get involved in politics which could still happen. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and my gig here at Tint is helping me amass a body of work. If you feel stuck in a moment you can’t get out of, let me direct you to the book Killing Bono: I Was Bono’s Doppelganger by Neil McCormick. This is a sometimes heartbreaking story about a guy who tried real hard to be a rock star but also happened to grow up with Bono and U2 as classmates. Things don’t work out exactly the way Neil wants them to, but he eventually does sort of make it in his own way. A friend of mine once said she doesn’t have a Plan B, just an ever evolving Plan A, which I think is a great outlook to have.
Your 30th Birthday Party Isn’t A Big Deal; you’re wrong about that Robert Foster. Whether we want it to or not, 30 means something. I’m sure we have all had preconceived notions about what 30 might look like. I’d also be willing to wager that most of us aren’t where we thought we’d be. Not to be a downer either, but some people don’t even make it this far. Why shouldn’t it be a big deal? I want to kick KRISmas XXX off with a bang and as much as I’d love it to resemble a rap video with countless drinks, cool lights, and throwing money around, I’ll settle for a few drinks, a SnapChat filter, and my favorite people. Also, because I have an affinity for graphic t-shirts, I designed my own to wear, take that Robert Foster. The thing is, I really feel like my life is going nowhere. I have no job prospects and my financial situation is laughable. I feel like I’m mediocre all around, so if I can at least kick off thirty in a good state of mind, why not?!
Finally, Foster says If You’re Sad About Getting Older, It’s Because You’ve Had A Good Time. “If you didn’t engage with youth culture and got a straight job and only listened to Drivetime radio (is that the same as 99.1 HitsFM?) and never did drugs and never had dramas and never stayed up all night and never wore weird clothes, never got in fights or fought the power in any way, then 30 is the same as the other 29 years, so be thankful that you had the youth you had, and use it to inform your adulthood,” he says.
Oddly enough, Britney Spears’ “My Prerogative” has been part of the soundtrack to my year, starting with a belated birthday celebration for my friend Courtney Mona’s own 30th. We ended up requesting that song at Lotties and have continued to do so on repeat visits. Your life really is your prerogative, and you should focus on your goals and relationships, without as Ms. Spears says “all of the things that people say, oh oh”. Thirty really is just the start of a new chapter, or it can really just be the day after the 365th day of your 29th year. Make it what you want, you (or I) don’t need permission, make our own decisions; after all, it is [our] prerogative.
*** Lumen Grace Crawford arrived three days after writing this piece.