I’m 30! (30 things about a 30 year old on the 30th)

So, today’s my “golden” birthday, the birthday upon which you turn the same number as your birthdate. I remember when my best friend had her golden birthday–when she turned ten–and thinking, “gee, I’ll be ancient before my golden birthday ever rolls around!” Well, here it is, and I just got carded last week buying some cooking wine.

The store owner (female, attractive, with a thick Eastern European accent): “you old enough for that, honey?”
Me (pulling out ID): “I’m turning 30 next week!”
The store owner (with a touch of surprise): “you look veeerrry goot, honey.”

Yeah, people still regularly tell me that I don’t look old enough to be the mother of my kids. I’m fairly sure that’s not true, but if it is, it certainly has mostly to do with genetics and may be exaggerated by the fact that I’m very short. (Don’t make fun of me. I have a genetic disorder!) My grandma was something under 4’10” and looked very young indeed, and she smoked two packs of Benson & Hedges daily and subsisted on cottage cheese and melba toast. I don’t smoke and I eat heartily, but I never wear sunscreen and wash my face with plain ol’ soap.

To be honest, I’ve never worried about looking “old” partly because my obsession was always being thin. As in, I might visit a nursing home and be jealous of those little stick-limbs that some old ladies have. (Yeah, I know. Sick, right?)

But that right there–being able to see that as sick–is part of why I feel happy to be thirty. When I turned 20–right after the original 9/11–I was depressed, lonely, and thoroughly in the grip of my disorder. I counted the years of my obsession, realized they numbered nearly half my days, and felt like there was no end in sight. Today, by God’s grace and the help of many wise and good and loving people, I feel free.

And so without further ado, 30 (mostly silly) things about me on my 30th birthday on the 30th:

(or, My Life: A Series of Unfortunate Eyeglasses)


1. My first real pets (after some lame fish) were two finches named Sylvester and Tweety.

2. When Tweety died, I was sad and wrote a poem about her, but I also was kind of excited because I’d always wanted to take a good look at her tongue.

Ack! Mom, why did you let me wear corporate insignia? And look at the bangs on both me and Dad!

3. Once, when I lived in Brooklyn, our house was broken into and our VCR was stolen, with my Winnie-the-Pooh tape inside. This was extremely distressing.

4. Another time, when I lived in Middle Village, our apartment was broken into and I could hear our German landlord, who lived downstairs, screaming, “I have a knife! I’m going to kill you!” Even more distressing.
5. I listened to Psalty’s Sleepytime Helpers every. single. night.

6. Until I was maybe 15. #cringe

7. I read Josh Harris’s I Kissed Dating Goodbye over and over because I was trying to comfort myself that the boy I wanted to date didn’t want to date me.
8. Moralizing was once my favorite mechanism for convincing myself I didn’t want what I really wanted. I’ve come to realize it’s a popular one.

9. I’ve worn corrective lenses (glasses or contacts) since third grade.

10. I’ve had purple ones, red ones, pink ones, and various other shades of hideousness.

Oy, the frilly collar. The loud floral. The purple carbon-fiber glasses.

11. I could get 20 or more bites out of an M&M as a toddler.

12. I’ve always had a thing for goats.

13. Once, when I was 5, I opened the toilet to find a rat swimming in the bowl and staring at me. Everyone still says I was scared, but, actually, I was kind of amused.

14. Although I must’ve been traumatized on some level since I still can’t sit on a toilet without looking for fear that something will be lurking there, ready to bite my rear.

15. The first time I ever said a “bad word” was when I was 17 and had major surgery and the hospital’s elevator door started closing on me right around my HUGE INCISION site. I said the “sh” word slowly and dramatically and my mom, whom I’d thought would be horrified, couldn’t stop laughing.

16. Turns out I sound just like my grandma when I say bad words, even though I never once heard her say one. Genetics are funny like that.

17. I didn’t lose a tooth until 3rd grade, by which time it seemed like most people had lost many of their teeth and the glamour had worn off.

18. I really, really, look forward to my coffee in the morning. As in, glare at the machine until it’s done if it’s not done by the time I come downstairs.

19. Even though I’ve always loved to write, I’ve always hated to journal.

20. I slept with my rag doll, Susan, every night (ahem. UNTIL COLLEGE) even though she was dirty and tattered looking. She even came with me to Israel when I was 7.

21. At the airport, I screamed when the security guard tried to put Susan through the X-ray machine–I thought she was going to be checked with the baggage.

22. So they let me go through without X-raying her.

23. That would never happen today. I’m still kinda surprised El Al let that one slip then.

24. My mom is Jewish. Which means I’m Jewish, according to the Talmud.

25. While I’ve always been a Christian, I’m startled by how well I conform to some Jewish stereotypes.

26. Especially when my mom and I are together. You know the Gilmore Girls? They’re so not wealthy white New Englanders. They are really Jewish New Yorkers. And they are my mom and me. (Minus all the unziemlich. My dad is Luke, the diner owner.)

27. I knew I wanted to marry my husband as soon as I met him.

28. But it was nearly 3 years between then and our first date.

29. 8 and 1/2 years of marriage and 2 boisterous children later, he’s still the light of my life and the one to whom I owe the leaping delight that quickens my senses.

30. I am one very, very blessed girl. (Am I still allowed to call myself a ‘girl’?)
Happy Friday to you, Happy Friday to you, Happy Friday, dear readers!
Happy Friday to you.

13 thoughts on “I’m 30! (30 things about a 30 year old on the 30th)

  1. Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday, Dear Rachel, Happy Birthday to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (How can you be 30 when I am still 29?)

  2. Happy Birthday, Rachel. Your blog has helped me so. I think of the title often throughout the day, “Eat with joy, Charlotte.”

    Okay. (deep breath) Yes. I think I will.

    God’s best to you and your sweet family on your golden birthday; should you see fit, please post pictures of your birthday meal!


  3. Aw, this is such a fun way to celebrate, Rachel! You have had the same twinkle in your eyes since you were little. 🙂 Happy Birthday to my dear friend for whom I am so thankful! May today bring you much joy!

    (On a side note, since Cameron decided NOT to be born on your 27th birthday, but rather to come on the 3rd of October, his Golden Birthday is this year. He has no idea what that means and won’t remember it a bit! My girls find this to be very sad. Oh, well. Enjoy yours!)

  4. I was delighted to read this and “get to know you,” albeit virtually. “Eat With Joy” is always a worthwhile read – fiery and intelligent. And the Lord knew Tim certainly needed to marry a woman with those traits! Thanks for taking the time to share.

  5. If I didn’t know you, I’d read this post and think “I wish I knew her! But I probably wouldn’t be interesting enough to be her friend.” Thankful for the years we had together!
    Happy birthday to one beautiful 30 year old! Welcome to a great decade. I have not doubt you’ll take it on with faith, motivation, confidence, passion, and many bowls of delicious lentil soup.
    Love to you! Holly

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