Post 30

Well.  I’ve turned 30.  I’ve had no revelatory realizations about age, but I did make wicked spelt flour dinner buns in my new mixer.  (No rise, 5 minutes of kneading).

Nothing is different.  I’m just one year closer.  Each day feels like one day closer, this is just another mark of time passing.  Nothing spectacular.  Just another year of my life, gone.

If we are ever on a plane together, and it’s “going down”, like in the movies, and there’s this calm passenger just sipping their complimentary water, who clearly has accepted their fate…. well.  That won’t be me.  I’ll be the one you want to flog during descent, the one screaming hysterically “I’m not ready to die!  This is NOT the time!”

Part of me is terrified because how do you really know what is going to happen when you die?  As much as I used to enjoy a good party, I wouldn’t like to hang in hell, and reincarnation is about as appealing as an eternity of perpetual pap smears.  (ie. Let’s just get THIS ONE over with…)

I have participated in many religious and spiritual rituals.  I have bounded around a Maypole, lit my menorah and sat in the United Church listening to the meditative speaking of whoever that guy is who stands upfront.  I believe in something greater than myself because that was a revelation that I did actually have once.  It was when I was “Working the Program”.  I found “God As You Have Come To Know Him” (I think this is like “He Who Shall Not Be Named”) driving up and down the concession roads. I knew I needed to find something that could save me, that could help me save myself.  Something that would always be there, something both infinite and finite.  That something was pasture.  Dirt.  Both a speck of soil and a layer of life underneath all of us.

It worked.  It got me through the program.  I feel it, I’ve got it, I’m living it.  Except in the end, it all just returns to the soil.  The answer to The Big Question for me is “COMPOST”.  Terrific.  Nice going.

I’m also terrified of dying because I want it ALL.  I don’t want to miss anything.  Not only did I break a bad cycle, I bought 50 acres of my own personal salvation.  I have the most wonderful children, a husband I adore.  The idea of being separated from them, of being unable to help them, makes me feel ill.

I know there is plenty of life I cannot help with.  That should be, and is, beyond control.

I now WORRY.  I am often worried.  Not paralyzingly so, but pretty darn fraught.    I have never hated winter driving as much as I do now.  Every drive into town must be shaving years off of my life in stress.  “Let go and let God”, eh?  We’ll see about that.

So, yeah.  My new addiction is love.  And it’s kicking my ass.


  1. Hannah Sassaman · December 15, 2010

    Looking forward to seeing what joys and worries and fears find you as you keep progressing down your life’s roads. Our worries change and replace each other, and we worry for each other, about each other, despite each other. When you’re surrounded by grandchildren and have strong brown arms from years growing your lives and your worries have grown into something totally new — when you’ve grown them into expectations and mellowed them into cycles of life and death — I hope you take joy in seeing the seeds of who you have become planted in your 30 year old self. Happy birthday!

  2. Lauren · December 15, 2010

    Happy 30! Me too this last harvest season. September birthday makes a good harvest party.

    YEAH DIRT. Dirt is win and food and life. Hooray for dirt and compost. Hooray also (from the 47th parallel) for the sun coming back soon. Chickens and I can’t wait.

  3. laura · December 15, 2010

    I think most people who have kids have that moment of total fear when they think about what would happen if they died and had to leave their families behind.Its scary to realise that you are living for other people as much as yourself,and that leads to a lot of 3am moments when you lie there trying to work out what would happen if you were gone.Thats bad enough,but add that to the whole god question and its a wonder anyone gets through life without being heavily medicated…Sorry I cant help ya out with anything insightful on that one,but its definately normal,trust me! (Im 32…dont know if its a post 30 thing…)

  4. Allahkat · December 15, 2010

    As someone trying to find something to save both my husband AND I, this entry instantly made me burst into tears as well as admire you more than I already did.

  5. Daniel · December 15, 2010

    I worry, too. I haven’t found god. “Compost” is pretty much what I think probably happens and so the Big Question is more about what I should be doing with what time I have. The universe speaks rarely and only in the quietest of voices to let me know when I’m on the right path. That just has to be enough. Sometimes it’s not and the despair is crushing. But the sun always rises. There’s always the love that I have for my family, for art, for music, for chasing the things that matter to me. Maybe god’s just there, in the little stuff of life.

  6. Hayley · December 15, 2010

    Here here dude, I know EXACTLY how you feel.

  7. Ivy · December 15, 2010

    When I turned 30 last year it made me more aware than ever of my own mortality – an awareness that also manifested itself in a paranoid fear of losing my parents. I’ve never been particularly good at pacing myself and it’s only through sheer bloody-mindedness that I’ve succeeded in reeling those fears in by appreciating each and every day, one at a time, and remaining truly present. Those fears still rear up and smack me in the face occasionally, but I counter them by counting each and every blessing – as I’m sure you do on a daily basis. Best wishes to you and yours.

  8. Timothy · December 15, 2010

    Happy 30th Birthday! I’m only ten months away from my 30th now, yikes.

    I think I know what you mean about finding God in nature. Everywhere I look in nature I see interconnectedness, and beauty, which I’ll casually call “God”, but for me it doesn’t relate to anything supernatural. No dude in the sky. Just a sense that existence is much bigger than we can (currently) comprehend. I guess, for me, God is the unknown, but not necessarily the unknowable.

    As for the worrying, someone once said “Worrying is praying for what you don’t want to happen.”

  9. 6512 and growing · December 15, 2010

    I totally believe in the healing and inspirational power of compost.
    Happy birthday!

  10. Ro · December 15, 2010

    I’m 34 and stuck in a holding pattern. I love my girls but I worry that I don’t have a lifestyle that allows me to be relaxed and spiritually with them when I’m with them. Does that make sense? Sleepless nights are a pain in the arse, worrying about everything. The silly thing is that even with all the responsibilities and stress we take on as young parents, I still don’t look after myself as good as I should. 2011 has to bring change for me.

    I hope this doesn’t sound bad, but I have to admit it’s kind of reassuring to read about someone else in the same situation. I’m still looking for something it’s out there. And thank you so much for being so open and sharing your thoughts.

  11. e · December 15, 2010

    i think the worrywart thing starts when you find out you’re pregnant. did i drink too much? am i eating enough green stuff? if i have a sip of coffee will my kid pop out with 4 heads?

    and then out pops kiddo, and the worrying just morphs into another form. is s/he nursing enough? eating enough? am i eating enough? is my husband eating enough? have i neglected the house too much? i live in filth – i am a horrible mother! am i making the right decisions? homeschool or regular school or unschool or HUH?

    and so on and so on! being in charge of people, especially ones that you love so very much, is a huge, amazing, daunting, heavy task for sure. and just the knowledge that they are so dependent on you is pretty heavy, too. sometimes i get myself a little crazy – it’s the jewish mother thing… i think it’s in my dna or something…

    what helps me is to literally remind myself to BE HERE NOW. for example: if i’m in a nice, hot shower, peacefully alone with my fancy scrubby stuff and my mind just shouts at me constantly… “laundry needs to be done, dog needs to be bathed, did i forget to ship that order?, car tire needs air before i go anywhere tomorrow, gotta put bread in before i go to sleep…” and so on and so on… i say to myself BE HERE NOW, enjoy this moment. because it’s really a shame to waste a mellow moment like that with a worrying mind. hopefully i am making sense.

    but yeah. i get you. it’s weird, mortality and all. personally? i think we just turn to dust and that’s the end of that. like unplugging a lamp or something. i’m not afraid, it will be what it will be.

  12. Ali · December 15, 2010

    Sounds like a bit of an existential crisis to me.

  13. Twwly · December 15, 2010

    Mmm, I’m not very concerned about the ‘meaning of life’, Ali. More of “if I roll this vehicle in this snow storm and we hit a pole and I die, how will life work for my children.” Or “as I cannot see out the window for the whiteness and my husband is late coming home… how long do I wait before I call the police? And what would I do next?”

    My answer is “compost”. I’ve just never had so much love in my life before and I am afraid of losing it.

    E – yes, the Jewish mother thing! I know! Some days being in the moment comes easily, some days it is a fight.

  14. SweetBird · December 15, 2010

    Happy 30th to you, lady. Oddly, I’m having more trouble with 31 than I did with 30. You’ll have to let us know how you feel when you’re one more year in. I have never felt my mortality more than I have this last year.

    This entry made me tear up. At a rough as shit time in my life I know that I can always come read your blog and remind myself to simplify, to find joy in little things and to not give up on my dream to have a lovely tattooed husband, some land and some kids.

    Keep on writing.

  15. Steph · December 15, 2010

    You know, I said the exact same thing:”Who knows what’s going to happen when you die”
    We all assume it’s peaceful and pretty *or* a fiery pit of something unpleasant.
    Nice to know I’m not the only one who has those thoughts!
    Happy birthday Ashley!

  16. Richard · December 15, 2010

    amen! except the driving thing, i say give er shit and have friends with ropes and pickup trucks, keep the tank full and the phone charged!!

  17. Twwly · December 15, 2010

    I’ve already rolled two trucks (one crushed like a ball of foil, the other drove away) NOT giving her shit. (Slushy roads and a flock of geese the first time and black ice the second). First time without kids, second pregnant with Maggie with Bob in the car on Christmas Eve, thank god hit a mail box and not a phone pole, I’ll never forget that minute of pure fear, no control of the vehicle, thinking I may have killed my children.

    Then Scott had this little altercation, which was in the middle of the day in the summer! Total twat driving mind you, but lets assume most of them are…

  18. April · December 15, 2010

    Somehow I thought you were already over 30…not that I’m inferring anything age related, but there is a sageness that I’ve found comes with 30 (ask Gillian, she found it, even though she didn’t think she would), and it seemed to me you already had it. Wise beyond your years I guess. Happy Birthday!

  19. Siobhan · December 15, 2010

    Happy Birthday. I’m just a month and a half away from the big 3-0 myself. Hope you continue to live your life the way you do and love it the way you do.

  20. Amanda · December 15, 2010

    Happy birthday!

    Unrelated to your post I thought of your blog today when I saw a news story of a couple who were asked to leave an indoor water park because of their tattoos. They were having their son’s birthday party there and other parents found their ink offensive. This was in the Chicago suburbs and they were interviewed on the news. They didn’t show the tattoo that apparently was the problem but it was a pin up girl.

  21. Brittany · December 15, 2010

    Maybe the lunar eclipse will cheer you up :)
    The last people who gazed upon a lunar eclipse on the winter solstice lived 372 years ago. Nature rocks!

  22. Gillian · December 15, 2010

    April’s right, 30 brought more than I thought it would. Though my 30th birthday was the worst birthday of my life, I’ve truly loved the clarity that’s come with being 30.

  23. Charley · December 15, 2010

    Oh yes. I’ve been 30 for a month and despite having a mild freak out about the general concept of being in my third decade, it’s really ok. Only regret for every minute of my 20’s I spent being self destructive and/or plain miserable. SO much to pack into the next decade, lots of catching up to do; I’m feeling the pressure but excitement too. In short life = pretty wonderful.

    No idea how you guys cope weather wise, the roads here have been thick ice for weeks and we’re not at all used to it so people are driving like lunatics. My mother is a mess, she’s become an ice-o-phobe.

  24. ????????etc · December 15

    ???? ???????????,??????!