the big three-oh


      ne of the most telltale signs of aging is the breakdown of the body, the loss of vigor. Already I'm seeing small signs of it. I can't pull all-nighters anymore. I hear the occasional creeeak in my bones. I need my reading glasses more often. And I'm starting to notice these little, tiny lines at the corners of my eyes.

      It's not just my body that's slowing down ­ my lifestyle is shifting as well. I don't always recognize bands on the radio (especially the college stations I still cling to, perhaps in desperate defiance). I can't wear little baby tees (not that I had my heart set on it anyway). And suddenly, other people ­ other adults ­ are looking younger and younger.

      (In a bar the other week I asked a friend, "Is it just me or does everyone in here look underage?" He smiled and said cruelly, "Oh that's right, you DO have a birthday coming up soon.")

      But the biggest shock of turning 30 is not the first glimmer of inevitable decrepitude or declining cultural status ­ it's the horrifying realization that you are, in so many ways, turning out to be just like your parents.