On the fourteeth of October 2011 I turned thirty years old. The six weeks or so previous to that, as my friends, family and work colleagues will attest, I was at the very peak of my diva-ishness. Constant tantrums, flouncing around at work, I was absolutely petrified of hitting, as they say, the big three-oh. I’d always been so hung up on being the young, gobby wild one wherever I’d been. As my drama queen displays were noticed, my favourite colleagues in my department (my DEPARTMENT, Polly, you know you’re my favourite of all before you start whinging) had mixed advice for me on hitting that horrible milestone.
Karen and Ali were positive. They said “don’t worry, its just a number, you can still tear it up and have a good time and you still look like you’re in your early twenties anyway.” Very kind of them. Less sympathetic was Emma, who did nothing but take the piss for the entire time, which being two years younger than me, she was entitled to do. She also publicised a hideous picture of me from the night out we had for my thirtieth, standing in Ali’s kitchen during my “skinny jeans” phase, towering above everyone else in the shot, wearing a jacket that can only be described as a colossal error, with my comic-book style-legs in a position that seemed to defy the laws of physics. There was a reason my tactless-father used to call me the white Carlton Palmer. And finally my surrogate big sister Mel, who is running on two hundred hangovers a year and an obsession with welsh footballer and adulterer Ryan Giggs. “Don’t worry,” she slurred, “Look at me, I’m thirty six and I’m doing alright.” then she stubbed her fag out on the palm of her hand, lost her balance slightly, took her glasses off and tried to somehow wipe the pink out of the whites of her eyes. They don’t make ’em like Mel anymore.
But for all my fear and trepidation, being in my thirties has actually turned out pretty well. I can honestly say, that at the age of 32, I am more comfortable in my own skin than I have ever been. There are, however, certain things you notice. Certain scenarios you find yourself in that you wouldn’t have two or three years ago. You accept that there’s nothing you can really do about these situations, as they’re just par for the course when you hit thirty. Often they are slightly pathetic and/or desperate, but always inevitable, and it’s usually best just to let nature take it’s course. Like when you see a snail making its way across a pavement; you could pick it up and put it on that patch of grass before somebody treads on it couldn’t you? Nah, let’s just see how it gets on. Let’s just see how it gets on.
This is a list, written from a male perspective, of thirty things that will happen once you hit thirty. Enjoy.
1. You give up your dream of being a professional footballer, and start dreaming of having a son who might.
2. Roberto Martinez is not forty years old. He is only forty years old.
3. Instead of throwing out an old pair of trainers, you keep them because they’ll be “good for the garden.”
4. You may be earning more money, but everything you want costs between £150 and £300.
5. You start to define yourself by the newspaper you read, even though the magazine of every “quality” Sunday paper is exactly the same.
6. You prefer drinking in the afternoon to drinking in the evening, but you always fall asleep when you get in.
7. You no longer get funny looks when you buy Disney dvds, as the till staff just assume they’re for your child.
8. You one day realise that Frank Skinner and Noel Gallagher are no longer considered “cutting edge.”
9. You’ve always got plenty of Gaviscon in.
10. In a conversation with your friends, you will have used the following phrase at least once: “It’s not us getting old, the music has actually got shit.”
11. Nightclubs have become very scary places, and when did they get so loud?
12. Vitamin supplements are something you feel mysteriously obliged to take. My own personal morning pill pop consists of one zinc tablet, one odourless garlic capsule, an omega 3 fish oil pill and a multivitamin. I’ve got absolutely no clue why I take any of them.
13. You start to become bothered by spelling mistakes in graffiti.
14. You have actually started buying socks for yourself instead of just waiting to get them off your mam at Christmas.
15. You find yourself in the queue at Homebase with a full basket. You haven’t the faintest idea how you got there.
16. You are baffled to find out that people who were born in the nineties are old enough to be in pubs.
17. When looking for a holiday, the first word you search for is “quiet.”
18. You are wary of being Facebook friends with anyone more than five years younger than you, lest you are accused of “grooming.”
19. Where once your boozy conversations with groups of your best friends consisted of how your band was going to rule the world and how you were thinking of going travelling for a year, you now discuss your utility bills.
20. You will check your hairline every single day.
21. The prospect of getting a new kitchen appliance is something that excites you.
22. When you turn on the telly, you automatically home towards the documentary channels.
23. You live in permanent fear that one of your parents or parents-in-law start hinting that they want to move in with you.
24. You don’t know whether the singles chart exists anymore.
25. You start noticing which beers make you billious, and avoid them at all costs.
26. Caffeine is either something you are addicted to, or terrified of.
27. The worst day of the year is now The Day You Have To Clean The Oven.
28. You’ve embraced the straight and narrow. Not the lifestyle, the trousers. Gone are the days of ludicrously baggy skate pants and blood-restricting skinny jeans. Bring on the Farahs.
29. If you get up after half past nine, you curse yourself for “wasting the morning.”
30. While channel-hopping in the middle of the afternoon, you stumble upon a repeat of The Bill from 1997. Inexplicably, you feel absolutely elated…
Allen Miles is 33 years old and lives in Hull. He is married and has a 3 year-old daughter who thinks she’s Elsa from Disney’s Frozen. He is a staunch supporter of Sheffield Wednesday FC and drinks far too much wine. He spends most of his spare time watching old football videos on youtube and watching 1940s film noir. He is the author of This Is How You Disappear, which is widely recognized to be the best book ever written. It is available here. http://tinyurl.com/disappear2014