When I turned 30, I was feeling a little old (HA!). I was at work, and my friend Barbara (who was 6 years older) called and read this poem to me over the phone. I loved it, and felt so much better.
Not long after that, Barbara got breast cancer. She died at age 40, leaving a husband and infant son. In her memory, I send this poem to everyone I know when they turn 30.
If I missed you, here it is. Pass it on.
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Lines To Be Scribbled On Somebody Else's Thirtieth Milestone
by Ogden Nash
Thirty today? Cheer up, my lad!
The good old thirties aren't so bad.
Life doesn't end at twenty-nine,
So come on in, the water's fine.
I, too, when thirty crossed my path,
Turned ugly colors with shame and wrath.
I kicked, I scratched, I bit my nails,
I indulged in tantrums the size of whales,
I found it hard to forgive my mater
For not having had me ten years later.
I struggled with reluctant feet
Where dotage and abdomens meet.
Like the tongue that seeks the missing tooth
I yearned for my extracted youth.
Since then some years have ambled by
And who so satisfied as I.
The thirties are things I wallow among,
With naught but pity for the young.
The less long ago that people were born
The more I gaze on them with scorn,
And each Thanksgiving I Thanksgive
That I'm slowly learning how to live.
So conquer, boy, your grief and rage,
And welcome to the perfect age!
I hope good fairies your footsteps haunt,
And bring you everything you want,
From cowboy suits and Boy Scout knives,
To beautiful, generous, wealthy wives.
If you play the horses, may you play good horses,
If you want divorces, may you get divorces,
Be it plenty of sleep, or fortune, or fame,
Or to carry the ball for Notre Dame,
Whatever it is you desire or covet,
My boy, I hope you get it and love it.
And you'll use it a great deal better, I know,
Than the child that you were a day ago