Thirty, Forty

Tony, who’s easier with numbers than anyone I know, likes to quote thirtysomething’s Miles Drentell: “the decimalization of time is so arbitrary.”


And yet, with Eli having just learned to count to 10, and Ben interested in Really Big Numbers (“What’s a trillion times a billion?”), and of course my recent milestone birthday, I’m thinking a lot about numbers lately. So here I go:

30: I throw a party for myself with a Baskin-Robbins ice cream cake (yum).
40: Tony organizes cocktails at the Top of the Mark and dinner at the Slanted Door with 7 other couples (some of whom, I’m happy to note, were at that 30th birthday party). I’m amazed we can all get babysitting. On my actual birthday, my sister makes me a delicious chocolate layer cake (the ganache alone uses nearly a pound of chocolate).

30: I’ve just met Tony (who meets most of my friends at that birthday party).
40: We’ve been married 7 years.

30: I’m just starting to write my dissertation.
40: I’ve just received the contract for my first book.

30: I haven’t any publications (but do have increasing anxiety about that as I wind up graduate school).
40: I’ve got my PhD (and no academic job), a regular column, one publication and a couple more forthcoming.

30: I have a niece (my goddaughter), a newborn nephew, and two close friends with kids.
40: I have Ben, Eli, and the more than dozen kids in our babysitting co-op, plus the niece and nephew, whom we visit as often as possible.

30: I’m renting a comfortable 2-bedroom apartment in North Berkeley with a grad school colleague.
40: I co-own a comfortable 4-bedroom home in San Francisco.

30: I’ve just started running.
40: No marathons or big running achievements, just the knowledge that running keeps me healthy, so I get out there two or three times a week for a run toward the ocean, into the park, or through the neighborhood.

30: I count my many blessings, happy to be out of my messy twenties.
40: I’m still counting my blessings, looking forward to what this next decade will bring.


  1. I agree about the arbitrary nature of the decimalization of time. Does this post mean birthday wishes are in order?

  2. elrena says:

    Oh, I love this post! (And of course I squealed at the book contract part…)

    So does “happy to be out of my messy twenties” mean the next decade is less messy?! Bring it on, I say…nine months and change to go and I’m already planning my big 3-0. 🙂

    Happy, happy birthday!!

  3. stacey says:

    Happy Birthday!! What a great post and a great idea- it is both fun and funny to think about where I was 10 years ago!

  4. Daphne says:

    I like your taking stock. It is funny (and strange) to remember how things looked ten years ago. Then it makes me wonder how things will look to me ten years hence.