Turning 30

Tomorrow I’m turning 30 and, as expected, this has me thinking.
Not about wrinkles and growing aches and such, but mostly about expectations.
Growing up, I had a lot of them. Most derived from the lives I saw my parents lead, as is probably the case for most of us.
See, growing up I listened to my parent’s life stories. I knew they were in their early twenties when they married and that they had their kids, my brother and me, almost right away. They had worked all their adult lives.
My mother had already worked a couple of years as a full-time er-nurse when she had my brother.
This led me to assume I’d have kids early on, as well. I simply grew up knowing how this model of living had worked well for my mother, thinking it’d work just as well for me.

When I was the same age my mother was when she had my brother, I married.
I was still going to university, then, and far away from getting my degree. No way was I having a baby back then.
After finally getting my Master’s, and receiving an A no less, there was no way, again, to start having kids right away.
The compatibility of a career and kids had started to sound just as wondrous as the fairytales part of my Master’s thesis was based on. I knew that having a job and kids wasn’t utopian, I simply couldn’t imagine having kids right out of university, without ever having had a “real” job.

[disclaimer: Like my mother, I too have worked all my adult life. But only part-time, being able to finish my studies and finance them at the same time.]

After having worked in a “real” job, doing various things for a publishing house under the name of “product managing”, my contract ran out and I was back on the job market, looking for work.

They always say there’s no perfect time for having kids.
For my husband and I, things were quite clear: we’ve always wanted a family. We were waiting for a good time and starting to wonder if that would ever come, or if we would just have to take a leap of faith.

That we did, and now, on the eve of my 30th birthday, I’m mother to an amazingly bright and beautiful little girl. Just yesterday we had a conversation about me turning 30 and thus being 30 years older than her.
Looking into her big blue eyes I told her:

“When you’re ten, I’ll be forty. When you’re turning twenty, I’ll turn fifty. When you’re thirty, just as I’ll be soon, I’ll be sixty. And when you’re forty, I’ll be seventy.”
“Doesn’t sound like it,” I told her amazed face, “but that’s still young! And when you’re in your fifties, if I’m lucky, I’ll be in my eighties, just as your great-grandparents are now!”

Then I started to get dizzy and we stopped our conversation at the changing station.

This is what kids will do to you – making you dizzy while you’re again building expectations, having learned nothing in your thirty years, as it would seem…

“My sister’s keeper”

Let’s be honest about this: I’ve never read a lot of girly novels. Why should I buy a book when I know beforehand that it’s going to be heartwrenching? And probably not that well written? And cheesy?

Well, browsing through the boxes of books of poor quality at the university’s bookstore I found this. How much can you loose if the book really sucks, if you only spend 2,95 EUR? I took a chance.

I didn’t expect a great book, by then I’d already seen the trailer of the oncoming movie and I wasn’t impressed. The storyline sounded right out of the boulevard press: A thirteen year old girl sues her parents for the right to decide what happens to her body. She doesn’t want to endure treatments any more for her older sisters who has leukemia.

The things I really liked about the book were the different perspectives it’s written in, my special sympathies went out to the three male leads: the father, the brother and the lawyer.

The problem is: though the book touches strong topics as designer babies, critical diseases and relationship-problems between people, it didn’t carry them out all the way. There aren’t enough answers. Some might say “just as in real life”, but I think that’s too simple. If I go into reading a novel thinking: “Is it right to have another baby only for the sole reason to use her as a spare parts storage for her sick sister?” I really expect to get an answer to it by the end of the novel. I didn’t.

I think what I didn’t like above the other things is the end, so if you don’t wanna know, stop reading further.



Why has the younger sister to die in the end? Why do we learn all the way through the novel that there’s just no way that the older sister survives? And then the healthy child dies in a car crash and the deadly-sick one, who wasn’t supposed to live through her childhood, is suddenly able to live to, at least, 24? I simply don’t get it. I guess the only reason is: It makes for a more interesting ending, so that the reader doesn’t think:

“Why have I been reading the whole book when I knew all along how it’s going to end?”