The countdown is on. There are now only eleven days remaining of my twenties, eleven days remaining until I turn thirty. It has arrived so quickly, this age that I am about to turn in less than two weeks. When I ponder this age and think about how very soon I will be a thirty year old and think about what, if anything, that means, and though it surely means something culturally to many people, I wonder whether it will mean those same things for me and what exactly those things are. I remember being a kid and daydreaming about how far away the age of thirty was and what adult life I would probably be living then. The feelings I am going through are an alternate mixture of nostalgia for my twenties, anxiety that I perhaps wasted them, a just as quick thought squashing that one, thinking that I really lived my twenties in perhaps the best way I could, lived it wildly and often recklessly, and then also a bit of sadness that I am about to turn thirty and not anywhere where I imagined I would be at this age, and then also there is the fear of death, that this age, thirty, is not close to death, but that it seemed just as far away at one point in my life, and that the next decade mark will come just as soon and abruptly, and then so will the next, and soon youth, what remains of it, will be gone. And then coming not far beyond that, what remains of life will also be gone, all these things happening with a swiftness that never ceases to surprise me. Things just move so fucking fast on this planet and it's only in big moments like this, the beginning of a new year, a milestone in age, or the reappearance on YouTube of some cartoon from my childhood that I had totally forgotten, that I really grasp how quickly time passes by and realize that I need to put it to better use. There are eleven more days of this.
I have been living this past week. The warm weather has really made this farewell to my twenties a joyous, celebratory affair. The weekend was a blur of dancing here or there, various bars on both sides of the East River. I wore tank tops that showed too much skin and I smoked too many cigarettes and I drank too much. In other words, I had a really great time. The wind was on my skin, the sidewalks glistened with shards of something, and on these glittery surfaces I walked past many other people in this city intent on living their lives, going out, getting done up, looking pretty for perhaps someone, more so for themselves, and everyone living. There are often times when going out on weekend nights can be terribly depressing, the crush of people all done up and trying for something can have the air of tragedy, but that of course is not on days when your twenties are coming to an end, and when you read that end as a smaller scale version of your life coming to an end, an awareness of the temporal dimensions of our existence, and on those days, the scene on the street in the East Village on a Friday night is something fantastically beautiful, something gorgeous, so many bodies outside in front of bars - drinking not even the thing, dancing not even the thing, just the company of other bodies, this chorus of life happening.
I washed ashore from all these nights out on the town at Jacob Riis Beach, clothes gone, bodies of friends around me, sun and saltwater on my skin. I dived underneath the waves and stayed below water twisting my body this way and that, shimmying like a seal, in love with the cold of the water and its contact with my body, me both losing myself, weight gone and flowing freely through space, an astronaut, and also allowing my body to become more clearly delineated, the spot at which the cold starts the end of my body and its warmth. I had had a lot of vodka, clearly since Diego was there on the beach, and given my drunk state and horny state, I took my swimsuit off and lay there naked talking to people about sex, Drag Race, and aging.
The immense pleasure I get from lying underneath the sun on sand, sometimes naked - this is a pleasure that will still be available to me in twelve days. So will staying out late at night dancing. So will pretty much every thing other than some signs of aging that have already been present and perhaps will just become more pronounced in my own mind given a new numerical age, a double-digit one beginning with a 3.
From the beach, I headed home, showered off the salt and sand on my body, and headed off to Metropolitan for its BBQ with my beautiful boyfriend, who I get giddy about lately when I think of him, now for instance. At the BBQ, a sign of aging perhaps, there were very few faces I recognized. New cute gay faces everywhere on the packed patio, many of them quite young. We split a couple pitchers of beer and were joined by more and more friends. The drunken state perhaps bringing into being more and more friends, a more prononced socialness a result of the beer and no qualms had about talking to kinda friends, acquaintances, and even total strangers should they be cute and strike one's fancy. One of these familiar faces, Daniel, we started chatting up. Jacob and I had hooked up with him a year or so ago, and we invited him home with us again. We got high, started to watch a movie, and soon, starting to nod off, all went off to bed together and had fun sex.
There was a hangover that followed these days that lasted almost two days, my body, again this subject of aging, telling me that perhaps I am not as young as I think I am, that I cannot party for three days straight and wake up like nothing happened anymore - that now my body feels these things, their aftereffects.
Last night with some friends from work, I saw The Normal Heart, Larry Kramer's devasting play about the beginning of the AIDS crisis. It was a beautiful play, full of polemics toward those who ignored the crisis, and a rousing call to action. There were a couple of moments where I rolled my eyes, Kramer's judgemental views toward promiscious gay sex coming through too clearly. Aside from those couple of moments though, this play had me for every moment enthralled, alive, and again aware of the shortness of things, the quickness with which things end, and the beauty that they hold during those brief stretches of being, a beauty brought about by its shortness. A Wallace Stevens line comes to my mind: "Death is the mother of beauty." It is because I am turning thirty and a little scared of that fact that I am living so hard right now, trying to take in all of these moments, live.