The Big Three O
The glorious things about reaching 30
September 16, 2002
I have exactly seven months and 23 days left in my twenties. On the 8th of June 2003
(a holy day in many imaginary countries) I will end my thirtieth year. And not a
moment too soon! God those crazy twenties were hectic! Stress about my career, money,
boyfriends and hairstyle took over my whole life.
Admittedly three of these things are still a great worry (I discovered an amazing
hairdryer whilst in San Francisco which leaves my naturally frizzy hair totally soft
and straight, has cut my getting-ready-to-go-out-time by half ) but I find that I
simply care less and am a lot more philosophical about it all.
So what if I never got famous? The way I behaved in my early twenties, I would have
either been dead on a night-club floor by twenty-three or have had three children,
by three different boy-band members, called Lolita, Honey-suckle and Shoobidoo-ah.
And so what if I never got rich? I have rich friends and are they happier than me.
Well yes, but with wealth comes responsibility and I once fed my baby cousin raw
fish fingers. It was an accident of course, but you would agree it was a very irresponsible
And who cares that I never married Andrew McCarthy? I have had other nice boyfriends;
there was the illiterate Welsh boy, the vertically-challenged puppeteer and the one
who thought the Ayatollah was the Shah, to name a few.
My best-friend's mother once told me "never give your twenties to anyone".
Sound advice. I know many couples who, after spending their twenties together, get
near thirty and split up. It makes sense, people change through those years.
I am not the same person now that I was at twenty two. I was riddled with insecurities
and hang-ups, had no idea what I was going to do with my life, and had very out of
control frizzy hair.
As for men, I shudder at the thought of every guy I
dated before the age of 27 and I certainly wouldn't date them again if I met them
The glorious thing about reaching the Big Three O is that I absolutely don't care
about so many things that kept me awake at night when I was twenty-two. There is
an immense relief to longer care what strangers may think of me. I can say exactly
what I think and have learned to do so without being rude.
It is wonderful to be almost thirty and finally admit that I hate night-clubs. I
now have the confidence to refuse an invitation to spend the evening in a dark sweaty
space drinking over-priced drinks and trying to dance to tuneless thumping noise
without feeling like a social outcast. Bliss.
Being nearly thirty means that I am perfectly entitled to sit in on a Saturday night
with a tub of ice-cream watching terrible TV without feeling that I'm missing some
life-enhancing social event. The best thing however, about being nearly thirty is
realizing how long I have known my friends.
I have known my best-friend Penny since I was seven-years old. We have been friends
now for twenty-two and a half years. Through school she was the clever one and I
was the lazy one, copying her homework and forever borrowing her things. She was
slender and blonde and I was dumpy and dark.
She was always very kind and fair and I was mischievous and would tease her mercilessly
to make the other kids laugh. She always forgave me. In our teens, she became a Goth
and dyed her beautiful blonde hair purple. She went to dark clubs where she wore
leather and thrashed her head about to death metal.
I began to go to Iranian concerts and hung out with "Gucci girls". We suffered
each others' boyfriends and nursed each others broken hearts. Nothing helps you get
over a boyfriend better than your best-friend making you cry with laughter as she
points out all his faults.
After university I ran wild around London performing
on the comedy circuit and making new exciting friends. Penny settled down with her
long-term boyfriend and sensibly bought a flat. A couple of years ago they split
up. He moved out and I moved in.
Sometimes when we talk we are like teenagers again, gossiping and giggling and other
times we are so very old and wise and talk as though we are seventy. The best thing
about being friends with someone for that long is that we never have to explain anything
to one another. We have known each other so long that often we don't even need to
talk, the silence between two very old friends can be the most comfortable in the
So as I approach thirty, I feel I can take a step back and realize that the foundations
I have laid in my life that will support me until the end are not the ones laid in
my career or my finances, but in the people I have comfortable silences with.
Shappi Khorsandi is a standup comedian in the UK. See Features