Cutting a 30s birthday cake gives a very mushy feeling. The size of cake gets smaller to hold a big bunch of candles; the guest list is strictly filtered to rope in a close few (shouldn't sound shocking if 'close few' conspires to just the husband and children); loud bhangra numbers get replaced with soft romantic salsa to dance on and at the end, spending cosy, precious time with oneself sounds a much dearer option to playing silly party games.
If you could relate to half the way I have felt in my recent last birthdays; Lady, you bet you have entered your 30s!! Trying to figure out my mid-age frets, frights and favourites, I landed up jotting thirty things that indicated I had pretty much arrived there - in my "thunderous thirties"! Have you too? Try ticking this checklist -
1) Your hair has begun to gray but you are wise enough to have found a way out to camouflage it by now. Quite likely, your hairline has also receded by a centimeter or more but you've deftly picked up a hairstyle to hide the pull back.
2) You have developed a paunch which you badly want to burn away, but the worry of which you would not exhibit in public. Rather, like a prudent lady, you gracefully choose to speak of it as an inevitable symbol of a beautiful growing up process.
3) You know the importance of black, dark colours and flowing fabrics in your life. And if you happen to be slightly style-conscious also, in most probability you would also know which stripes to pick from - longitudinal or across!?
4) You have at hand a pill to pop-in for some or the other medical reason - thyroid, calcium, iron, a nutritional supplement or a precautional sugar-free!
5) You are considering cornflakes, oats, muesli or daliya as replacement of one of your meals.
6) You've arranged for tracksuit, walking shoes, a treadmill/cycle (maybe) or have decided to hit the gym more than once but most always have failed to stick to the regime, and which you promise rework on the next week onwards.
7) Justin Beiber maybe a heart-throb of millions but makes a hopeless bachelor. George Clooney may be quondam and taken, but then 'old is gold'.
8) You are under a loan, mortgage or paying EMI that just doesn't seem to get close to ending.
9) Your cherished dream-destination is no longer an exotic land across seas but a quiet revisit to the place where you spent precious time of your childhood.
10) The scariest thing to think of is not ghosts, thieves or calamities but a call in the middle of the night from your parents who stay far away from your place.
11) It is embarrassing but delightfully silly to find younger boys going gaga over you. In such a case, age is seriously just a number!
12) You have considered supporting a charity, a cause or an NGO.
13) You have revived an old-forgotten childhood interest or hobby and are working towards it with child-like passion.
14) Things which you had always thought of as looking dreadful in your vanity are now must-haves - like deep red lipstick, indigo nail paint or neon slippers.
15) Your sex life is happier than ever. By now, the experimenting phase is almost over and you know what you want, from whom you want and how you want it.
16) By far, you have had at least one dental-filling or root-canal treatment done.
17) The honey-coated glorifying words which once were 'thank you' or 'please' are now replaced with 'it's benign' or 'normal report'.
18) Your book-shelf has at least one bestseller on optimism or inspiration.
19) Your children think of your dresses and head-gears from schooldays (in photographs) as a vintage collection of antiques.
20) You hardly recognize new celebrities and faces on the block except the ones whose parents were once your favourites. For the rest of the crowd, you seek your children's help.
21) You have learnt to take vitriolic comments from others with a pinch of salt, and use it as an appetizer like a pickle. Keep bringing them over dear in-laws, over concerned neighbours or corny bosses!
22) You've decided to do away with silly but precious belongings which you'd treasured in secret chamber of your wardrobe for years.
23) You let your children follow their heart and fight the world if they try stopping them.
24) Your personal diary has more of mini interrogative sentences that simple statements. Why me? What now? How far? Which way? Will they? Won't it? Who next?
25) Strangely, when everyone else's best time to work is day long; your precious me-time is either the wee hours of day-break or past-midnight.
26) You have developed zero tolerance for eve-teasers who you are no longer hesitant to grab the collar of, give back a cold stare or punch nose in public. The dude must be fixed, is all what runs in your head.
27) You are desperately trying to be able to learn the art of weeding out people from your life who pull you down, leave you with negativity or get nagging. Life, you realize, is too short to spend with morons.
28) Away from the real-time buddies available on facebook or whatsapp, you consider looking for and reconnecting with true old friends, who you have let vanish in thin air, racing against time.
29) You style your way! Even if the entire world is going nuts about some crazy fashion statement, you decide to follow your own. Those who do not appreciate are free to tread different way.
30) Marriage and children may be important but nothing is as important as time-for-yourself, looking for which you are on a perpetual hunt.
Looking back to my recent past years, I have come to believe in the old age tenet - 'growing old is a choice - either get better like wine or fret with a whine!' However, when in 30s, the choice is easy - it depends on who is asking.