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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