a list of things i thought i would no longer be after 30

During Friday’s night out with the girls, they reminded me about how, at seventeen, I had boldly said that I wanted to die at 35. I remember none of it, but apparently I also said things about wanting to get educational plans for imagined future children, and similar nonsense, so. Yeah, I said a lot of shit as a young college kid who had no idea life was about to be very different from what had been within my imagination at the time.

“Thirty-five,” they said, “is only four years away.”

“Fuck,” I said.

“And we’re doing Greece pa nga when we’re 35, di ba?”

“God, Kate, please don’t die in Greece?”

“I can’t make a 100-percent fool-proof promise, but I will *try*–”

“Bawal mamatay sa Greece.”

“Ok, ok–”


What had I been thinking, really, talking about dying at 35? Well, something has to be said about someone who’d wanted to go at her peak: Suppose this was someone who thought she’d be done by 35? To be fair, I was seventeen, so I must have thought simply doubling my lifespan at the time would have been enough for me to do everything I wanted?

It’s strange and naive, because while the years between turning twenty and turning thirty have taught me a LOT, I am most definitely not done learning just yet.

tl;dr – Kate at 17 was stupid and wrong.


These days, I am still stupid and these days I am still wrong, and I was mulling over these thoughts as I was on the way to the grocery store on Sunday morning: There are a lot of things people expect 30-somethings to no longer be. Such as stupid and wrong, of course.

Over dinner on Friday, we also talked about skydiving. A friend said something about wanting to do it when we were younger. “But then again, married now,” she said, and apparently, that was that.

“So it does make sense to be reckless in youth,” I said. “Growing up, you tend to become more risk-averse.” At which point I dutifully began drawing a graph in my head: Risk-aversion is directly proportional to age.

Later, another one chimed in to note: “However, when you reach a certain age — say, 60 — you tend not to pay attention too much to the risk anymore.”

Which makes sense, so I edited the graph in my head to depict a bell graph, the line dipping after 60.


So older, you could no longer be stupid, no longer be wrong, no longer be reckless. (Or so expectations go)


Which brings me to the point of this entry, which is supposedly a list of things I thought I would no longer be after 30 (but still kind of am):

1. Terrified.

I remember listening to one of the eulogies at LJM’s wake, something about someone coming to LJM and proposing the tagline, “First, Fair, Fearless.” I remember LJM’s main reservation: “Fearless? No. We /do/ fear.” And that was the point, wasn’t it? Being brave does not mean fear of nothing; it means doing it anyway, despite.

Okay. That was comforting, because I am still terrified, and I guess that isn’t such a bad thing?

2. Uncertain.

I have been reading all these things that go like, “I’ll get my shit done when I’m thirty.”


I love talking to people my brother’s age, if only to fuck them up a bit more: If you think some of us know what they’re doing, GUESS WHAT.

If you think it’s terrifying not knowing what to do or where to go at twenty, GUESS WHAT.

If you think time will come you won’t have to wing things anymore because you’d be on top of things, GUESS WHAT.

(Master in BS and Winging Things: An Autobiography)

3. Shy.

I’ve always been a shy kid. Deep down, I know for a fact I will never outgrow this — for anyone who thinks this to be untrue, I suppose I had exposed you to my occasional outbursts of outgoing-ness or sociability or something. But at the core, I know, who I am is someone who’s just better in the background.

True story: Classes started Monday night, and I was, true to form, the /last/ person to get a partner. (And that was after realizing that we were 23 in the class, and one of the groups already had 3 people in it). So it’s a Marketing class, hence a /talking/ class, and it’s not that I /can’t/ — I can, of course. It’s just going to be hella exhausting.

4. Curious.

I think we shame people too much for asking questions, especially in the Internet age. “Google mo kaya.” “(age) ka na, dapat memorized mo na yan.” And I’m guilty of this, I think, the most, as I am in the business of answering questions, and sometimes I take for granted that some people who ask questions really, sincerely, /simply/ want answers. I suppose I have worked too long with people who used questions for their own passive aggressive ends (“Tinetesting lang kita”) for me to be jaded and wary, and oftentimes I contribute unwittingly to a culture that discourages people from actually talking to other people in their quest for answers, opting instead to shut themselves in with the Internet because that’s what people respond with anyway, what’s the point?

Younger, I remember watching my mother putting on her make up in the morning before going to work, and asking her about the meaning of words. Every single time, her response was, “Consult Mr Webster,” and frankly, that was how I got good at spelling bees. Sure I’ve got shit timing (why bother your mother who is obviously running late to work nga naman), but I do sometimes wonder how different things would have been if she’d actually answered differently; if every time I reached out, she reached back to me.

How human this need is, no, to want to reach out to someone. The older you get, the harder it becomes, and I think we don’t have to make it harder for each other by dismissing each other with the Internet.

The next time I ask you a question, remember what I do for a living; when I ask you a question, it means I’m making conversation. It means I think you are better than Google, and that I am opting to be curious with /you/.

5. Young.

As part of D’s birthday celebration last week, we spent a couple of hours at Future Play in Century City Mall. It’s actually a high-tech day care; it’s an interactive digital playground. We spent the most time making art for this giant LCD wall — you did some drawings and the staff would scan your work and project them onto a screen. D was in her element, of course, whereas my artwork fit in perfectly well with the other kids’ works (hehehe). It was such a simple joy, to spend time making things; to have the luxury of focusing on one beautiful thing.

Certainly I complain too much that what I do every day makes me feel old, but then again, I married someone who is intent on keeping me young. In the end, half this life is spent with her, and truth be told, it’s the part that likes taking its time. It’s not so bad.

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2 thoughts on “a list of things i thought i would no longer be after 30”

  1. Belated Happy Birthday, Kate! 🙂 Just wanted to let you know, you’ve always been my inspiration in “winging things” and functional relationships. I am really happy that you admit that it’s hard, I feel less inadequate re: my own life skills.

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