Illustration by Ryan Alexander-Tanner

I'M ABOUT to turn 30. By the time you read this, I'll probably already be 30. (HELLO FROM THE PAST. BARACK OBAMA IS PRESIDENT AND THREE DOLLARS WILL GET YOU TWO DOZEN HOREHOUND HARD CANDIES [I ACTUALLY RESEARCHED HOREHOUND PRICES FOR THAT JOKE (!).])

Turning 30 is a ponderous thing. On one hand, I know it must mean something. I'm departing my 20s—a decade that's a simulation of adulthood. In your 20s, you're given an assembly line of second chances; you're forgiven for rebooting your entire existence; you're a baby giraffe stumbling into your burgeoning responsibilities. Now I'm 30 and my indiscretions are no longer so youthful, even though my visage remains so. (I'm handsome, fam. Shoutouts to Kiehl's and to excellent Semitic genetics.)

It feels like the stakes are being raised. It feels like there is less time to dally, and that feeling is significant and cumbersome. AND I feel absurd for feeling that feeling, because when I turn 30, when that cannonball REALLY hits me in the stomach, I'll be only seconds removed from being 29. AND (sorry for starting two sentences with "and," all of my teachers) that's the other part of turning 30, right? It doesn't really mean shit. It's just another day in the meandering line for Splash Mountain of days that makes up your life. Nobody comes up to you when you turn 30 with an LCD Soundsystem boxset and a book about appreciating wine, and says, "You're into this shit now. Hand in your badge and your Xbox One." Adulthood is erosion and evolution—it isn't cataclysmic. Your youth doesn't die off like the dinosaurs, it dies off like how humans will die off: slowly, while refreshing Twitter.

So what's the fucking deal? (ALSO, WHAT DA FUCK IS AN APPLEBEEZ?) It's not like I treat people in their 30s any differently than I treat my friends in their 20s. Most of us don't give any significant fucks about age. I found out my friend Matt was 40 when he invited me to his 40th birthday party. I had no idea he was 40, I just thought he liked Bob Seger a lot. It doesn't change a thing. At some point in life, people just started being "friend years old." How old is Matt? He's friend years old.

When you lean in to kiss a girl and time starts to thicken like molasses, and poems start to make sense, and you stand atop the rapturous heights of physical and emotional and spiritual splendor, and every molecule of your everything knows this feeling is enough, and all your insecurities and problems freeze and fall and shatter and seem absurd; when you touch that ecstasy that gives true pain context, what goes through your head? "What's this girl's next birthday cake gonna look like?" Right? GTFO.

So why is 30 so big? I've thought about it a lot, and I think it's nothing more than a reminder of mortality, and that reminder is the most thoughtful gift I'll get this year, because maybe I'll savor this decade more than the last. @IanKarmel