Ryan Swinford


The Lament of the Aged (Life past thirty)



As I have passed thirty, I have found it necessary to evaluate where I am and how I got there.  You know, some sort of early midlife crisis.  It has occurred more and more to me that there has been progression in my life beyond the number that I cringe when I’m asked my age.  I always believed when I was eighteen that I would never be one of those self absorbed, self-loathing shallow people that were so sickeningly displayed on Thirtysomething.  Guess what?  I think I’m there!  This is my lament.


Let’s talk about basic material wants.  As a child it was cool when I got baseball cards.  Look a Bill Buckner! He’s my favorite!  Well then it’s high school and then I had to have the new Motley Crue record (life before the Compact Disc) and of course the requisite, always necessary, leather biker jacket to match!  Well, then it’s college and dammit I needed a car.  I loved that Pinto with the plaid seat covers!  After college, well I had to get out of my parents house and get an apartment.  I had to live in Lincoln Park, as you know.  My roomate and I living in that overpriced shithole, but you know what?  We could walk to all the cool bars!  Of course now that I am past thirty and I understand the true needs of the adult male.  I must have the 60” plasma TV baby!


Another thing I notice is what money became in my life.  You know when I was a small kid, I had a buck from the tooth fairy and I was so rich!  Then I got to high school and I got the great job at the five and dime making minimum wage, but hey, I had cash for going to the skating rink!  Well in college I got the real money working the internship at the big conglomerate…$7.00 an hour!  Beer money! Then I graduated college and I made it to the serious big green, $18000 a year.  Import beer money! Then I passed thirty and where have I found myself?  Fuck I need to get to six figures!  How can anyone make it on a manager’s salary?


I would be remiss in not mentioning the role of women in my existence to this point.  As I have a feeling is the case with most men, it is a history with lots of questions and not a lot of answers. At six years old the questions was “Why didn’t Valerie give me a Valentine?”  At sixteen it is “Why won’t Valerie go all the way with me?”  At twenty “Shit!  I’m so hung over!  Where am I?  Did you say you’re name was Valerie?”  Well at twenty-five “Valerie we’re way too young to get married!  We still have life to live!”  And of course after thirty “What do you mean I don’t understand your needs as a woman Valerie?  I rented Sleepless In Seattle!”   


So this is it.  Ok, maybe it’s not that simple.  And I hope I’m a little smarter than this.  Alright, maybe I’m exaggerating just a little bit.  But in the most superficial way, this where I’ve been and where I’m at.  I still have half my life to somehow figure life out.  What have I learned up to his point?  Well not nearly enough.  But there is something I have found.  I am Peter Horton!  I am that self absorbed, self-loathing shallow person from Thirtysomething!  And you know what?  That’s fine by me because guess what? I know there is an eighteen years old kid thinking the same thing about me.  And, ha ha,  he’ll have the same lament one day too!



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