What happens when you turn thirty? Seriously, I need to know, because, whatever it is, it’s going to happen to me in about 7 minutes and I’m not one for birthday surprises.* I’m already overwhelmed with the fact that I’m going to have to check a completely different age range box on the forms at the DMV. So this whole “not-knowing-what-to-expect-once-I-reach-this-milestone” situation is not really working for me. Since no one seems to be willing to give me any answers, I’ve had to guess.
Here’s my current hypothesis:
Sometime between midnight and 12:03 a.m., my room will be rushed with agents from a secret international agency. They will inject me with a serum that will render me unconscious and transported to a secret facility. At said facility, vital vitamins and minerals will be extracted from my body to be distributed, via lattes, to women who are not making a mockery of their reproductive years. I will then be returned to my room with no memory or evidence of what occurred, except that I will bear the mark of the unwed and over thirty: Cankles.
As I await the inevitable, I become introspective. I’ve spent three whole decades on earth, and I can’t help but wonder if the world is any different because of my being in it. Shouldn’t I have made my big impact on the world by now? Maybe I have! I regularly post articles and indignant status updates on the horrors of war and human trafficking for my 1300+ close, personal friends. That’s enough, right?
My “Big Impact”
Or what if life is less about making some huge impact on the world and more about tiny ripples of compassion? What if my “big impact” is simply asking someone how they are and really taking the time to listen?
I’m not saying that I shouldn’t care about injustices around the world. On the contrary, I’m glad those things make me angry, and I will continue to speak out on them as much as I can, even if it’s only through social media. But I also think that I’ll spend the next three decades participating in the revolution of loving my neighbor. My legitimate, in the flesh and in close physical proximity neighbor. Maybe that can change the world!
It’s 12:14 am. I’m officially thirty, and PHEW, my hypothesis was wrong. I can rest easy tonight. Wait… are those cankles?!
“But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love. And don’t take yourself too seriously— take God seriously” (Micah 6:8, The Message).
*This is a lie. I LOVE birthday surprises! But on this particular birthday, I am alone in a Parisian hotel room and am acutely aware that the chances of my friends and family jumping out of my closet with cake and presents are minimal.
Jael Amador writes from New York, New York.
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