The Art of Being 30
Earlier this month, I turned 30. This has been the weirdest few weeks of my life. I was always scared of this number, dreading crossing to the other side. A few weeks before my birthday, I started being obsessed with how I was supposed to celebrate or not, and mark this milestone. You see, I love partying, and one of my mottos is "there is always a reason to celebrate". But then I wondered if my 30s were worth celebrating, how, why, and it spiralled down to the point where I didn't tell anyone (except for friends and family who already knew).
My fear of turning 30 is completely irrational, but started when I was a teenager. I felt like the best years of my life would from 18-25: I'd be able to vote, drink, travel on my own, live on my own, buy whatever I wanted, study whatever I wanted. I knew that a woman's metabolism would run fast until the very late 20s-early 30s. I knew my athletic performances could peak until I would turn 29. I basically had this window of 7 years to do and be whatever I wanted.
By the way, yes 30 for me meant becoming an adult, meaning I could not just do whatever I wanted anymore (sleep until noon, try various drugs, and be an active member of the "hangover sundays club").
To make me feel better, I decided to tally women whose career path I admire, who peaked or got well known after 30. I still have to give a shoutout to Kara Walker, an artist I love, who became at 27, the youngest recipient of the MacArthur's Foundation "genius" grant.
Thelma Golden was 35 when she joined the Studio Museum in Harlem. Although she was already a successful curator (at the Whitney and other places) before her 30s, she led the institutions in her mid-30s. Note that she had her first curatorial position in the institution in 1987, the year of my birth. She is number 29 in Art Review's Power 100
Julie Mehretu received her MacArthur grant in 2015, at 45. She was part of the 2004 Whitney Biennal (at 35) and the 8th Istanbul Biennal, at 34.
Bouchra Jarrar, haute couture fashion designer, has been appointed Artistic Director of Lanvin in March 2016, at the age of 46. She is a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres since 2012 (at 42).
Carine Roitfled is named editor in chief of Vogue Paris at 47.
So maybe all is not over for me after 30. I must admit that I never felt as good in my life as I feel now, so my goal is to use this year to learn how to live my best life, which eventually will lead to more successes. Maybe I'll throw a huge "I SURVIVED MY 30TH" party next year, filled with caviar, champagne, designer clothes and peace of mind next year, because, as an adult, I can do whatever I want.