I turned 30 in France. This was­n’t planned. It was­n’t even an excuse to buy the tick­et, when I made the deci­sion to fly there so many months ago.

But when I was at a din­ner par­ty that day, speak­ing with a woman who pol­ished her English from a year of doing her degree in London (and had an appro­pri­ate­ly posh British accent mixed in with her French), she guessed I was 30.

Amazing”, I said, “To the day.” She had to con­firm, “Aujourd’hui?”, and I could­n’t stop her from hush­ing the oth­er con­ver­sa­tions so she could announce it to the table.

portrait at age 30

Kisses from the babies, the girls, and the babygurls.

They lit a thin can­dle in my banana split sun­dae, sang me Happy Birthday in two lan­guages, and plied me with expen­sive alco­hols. Earlier that day, Darren sent me an e‑mail, telling me to get drunk. I did­n’t let him down.

It was a far big­ger deal than I was used to, but it was­n’t hard to appre­ci­ate the atten­tion, from peo­ple I had only known for an evening or two. I thought they must have been hap­pi­er than me, just to have an excuse to cel­e­brate some­thing, and talk, and drink, and cheer.

No won­der peo­ple like their birth­days. No won­der peo­ple love France.

There’s no way for me to deny how sig­nif­i­cant the last year has been. At one point, I final­ly felt like I was the per­son I’d be for the rest of my life. Then things changed, and I fell to my low­est point. But I picked myself up, and here I am now. Still human. Still alive.

This project was a way for me to doc­u­ment my evolv­ing life and aging skin as it is now. I nev­er knew how much I’d go through, and how much would change between each inter­val.

I turned 30, and I won­der who I’ll be in anoth­er day, anoth­er month, anoth­er year, anoth­er decade.

The Turning 30 Series


  1. Happy birth­day Jeff! I’ve been enjoy­ing the pic­tures of France; reminds me of when I used to live there years ago.

  2. Happy late Birthday! Now I want a sun­dae. Thanks

  3. Happy birth­day Jeff!!!

  4. How great you were hap­pi­ly sur­round­ed on your birth­day. Sorry I don’t much keep up with birth­days or I’d have said some­thing ear­li­er.…

    Just FYI I don’t think I real­ly felt dif­fer­ent till 40. And inside aren’t we all about 11?

  5. Haven’t had a chance to vis­it your blog in awhile, but hap­py belat­ed birth­day! Lots of peo­ple turn­ing 30 and com­ing to major check­points in their life. I’m hap­py for you, and I hope that you’re look­ing for­ward to your 30s as much as I am. :)

    Beautiful pic­tures from France btw. I’ll be in Ottawa from Dec 18–29, maybe i’ll get to see you?

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