U.S. Highway 30 stretches clear across the northern half of the country, Oregon to New Jersey, touching a lot of country and intersecting a lot of other roads along the way. On the map, it misses Michigan by a hair.
My thirtieth birthday is fast approaching. I’ve looked forward to this, with more enthusiasm than I’d care to admit, for the last three years. On my twenty-seventh birthday, I wondered what the point was in years twenty-seven, twenty-eight, and twenty-nine. Especially twenty-nine. Why not just knock those years off the calendar and make me thirty already?
But those three years turned out to be three of the most painful and formative years I have known. I wouldn’t be me without them, who I am now has deep roots in those three years that I would have tossed aside, bleeding a red spray-painted, “POINTLESS.”
“They” say (the infamous and completely anonymous “they”) that your thirties are the good years. You come into your own, settle into a stronger sense of yourself and life as a whole — not in the sense of obliterating mystery and uncertainty, but of becoming more okay with yourself in the midst of those things.
But then, I know plenty of people in their thirties who have no idea who they are or what they are doing.
I’m suspecting it will be something in between.
Interstate 30 connects Texas and Arkansas, picks up somewhere in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and drops off around Little Rock. A blip in the complex system of roads spread like a web across the country, a web spun by a rather disoriented spider.
In traditional astronomy (not the newspaper horoscope kind), I hear, there’s this thing called the “Saturn Return” that happens between ages 28 and 32. The old stuff withers, dries up, falls off; the new is free to grow. However you feel about astronomy, the idea is intriguing. It resembles the Christian tradition’s “Paschal Mystery,” in which death gives way to life, crucifixion affords resurrection and redemption.
Like a phoenix. In its end is its beginning.
There’s some more T.S. Eliot for you.
NM 30 is a whopping 8.9-mile stretch of road that bridges the gap between Espanola and a nameless point on NM 502, which–if followed West–leads to Los Alamos.
In my end is my beginning.
Yeah, I know. Thirty is hardly old and decrepit. If you think 30 is old, get ready for the downhill run…
But it’s older. And there is certainly a strong sense of losing something, letting go. I feel an almost visceral movement from one season to another.