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turning 30 did change me, for the better


I used to have a friend from junior high; we met in band class because we both played the coronet. In seventh grade she had a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt cords that were bright orange -- like the inside of a mango. That's the picture in my head when I think of us sitting next to each other in band class.

I couldn't play the coronet to save my life. I wasn't quite the last chair, but never close to first chair. Eventually I taped myself on the tape recorder, listened in horror and immediately quit. My teacher wanted to know why I was quitting but I was so embarrassed I just couldn't tell him, so I gave a vague answer and ended my concert career.

Anyway, this chick Christy, was the complete opposite of me but she was fun. When I went away to college and she stayed at home and commuted, I started to see how we were growing apart. But we both kept hold of the friendship, because by that time we had known each other for six or seven years. By the time I got married we had known each other for almost 15 years.

It was when I got married that the random comments from her began to disparage me. Her main comment was that after I had gotten married I had become so domestic. But she always pronounced the word "dough-mestic."

It did hurt my feelings when she said that, because she would say it in the following context: I always thought you would be a high-powered career woman, but you're becoming so dough-mestic, instead. I never thought you would own a cat! You're so dough-mestic."

Fast forward to 1998, the year we both turned 30. I had mentioned the summer before that I couldn't believe we were going to be 30. I didn't go on and on about it, but I did find it wild that we were getting old and that we were going to be bona fide adults. She always liked the fact that my birthday was first, in February, and hers was in August.

Anyway, at the end of 1997 I took a detour from the "we're getting old" train and hopped onto the "I might die of cancer before I turn 30" car. On January 15, two weeks before my 30th birthday, I had thyroid surgery. I was really nervous that maybe some kind of fluke might happen and I might die on the table at age 29.

So when the operation was successful and I woke up from the anesthesia I was so, so grateful. And age suddenly ceased to be an issue for me.

I did go into a deep depression regarding the cancer and in the midst of this my "friend" Christy, who was living in Germany at the time, told me I had spent a good three months being depressed and it was time to get over this cancer thing. This was via e-mail. I was really angry, but thought 'we have 18 years invested in this friendship, we have to preserve that.' It was around this time that I started to wonder what the cost of preserving that friendship would be.

I bit my tongue for the next couple of months until she announced, via e-mail, that she was coming home for her birthday in August and that she wanted to have a party on a train. It would cost $150 for both my husband and me to attend her party. At the time, we both worked and we had no children, so we could have easily paid for the tickets.

But I didn't want to spend $150 just to see her. It really was the principle of the matter and I was still smarting from her insensitive comments regarding my health issues.

So I wrote back saying the price was a bit steep and I could meet her before the party for a drink, or I could take her out to lunch the next day, but I couldn't afford to attend the actual party.

She blew up at me and reduced my answer to this statement: You are jealous that I am embracing turning 30. You didn't want to get old and you can't handle the fact that I am single, loving every minute of it and want to celebrate my age. F- you.

And I haven't seen her for almost nine years.

I can look at that now, and say wow, that was all about her. But at the time I wanted to defend myself, to explain that I looked at my own mortality square in the face and walked away from that a changed person.

The experience with cancer did change me, I see that as an event in my life that has a before and an after. I still struggle with some of the "issues" but for the most part I have moved on. And I can honestly say today I think the cancer changed me for the better.

But as I look at that whole scenario today, I find it crazy that she couldn't look outside of herself. For her, that experience had nothing to do with me and was truly all about her.

Good riddance.


Another overdue thanks: I'm sending an extra 1000 strides on the elliptical trainer to rebeckajane who was the second person here at Diaryland to add me as a favorite. Thanks Becka!


2007-01-12 at 6:19 a.m.

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