A zine about turning 30? I know. Perhaps it seems kind of trivial when placed in a global context of war, climate change, austerity measures, and other impending crises. How relevant would a similar book from 1981, at the height of the Cold War, be today? I don’t know. But when I first formed the idea of this project towards the end of 2010, every single person I mentioned it to was enthusiastic about its potential. Our lives matter.
Originally, I was going to write up a short list of questions and then email them to friends that I knew had turned 30 recently, or were going to in the next year or so. Then I would compile the responses and have the release of the zine as way to celebrate, and make sense of, my 30th year on the planet. For months, I talked and talked and talked about the concept, always eliciting positive feedback, and…just talked some more. My birthday loomed and I was taking no concrete steps toward make this project happen, until I realized how disappointed I would be with myself if I didn’t go for it.
It wasn’t until the beginning of March, with only one month left of my 20’s to go, that I finally did something.
Finally, I created the 360 Months blog and posted a call for submissions on March 5th: What is it that is most exciting or terrifying about this milestone to you? How has the urgency of this looming birthday affected the ways in which you have pursued your life goals, your dreams?
Less than 30 days later I had received 30 essays. How appropriate, right?
I think another factor that pushed me towards actualizing the project, beyond mere discussion, was my own personal circumstances. At the beginning of 2011, my world was turned upside down as the relationship that I moved to Philadelphia for 2 years prior started to come to a close. On the cusp of 30, I was heartbroken, confused, and prepared to move away and start over…well, where I came from.
The same week that those conversations began about going our separate ways, a Bollywood movie was released called “Turning 30.” It documents the life, in a romantically comedic manner, of a 29 year old woman in 21st Century Mumbai. She is on the path to a successful adulthood with a solid career, an engagement, and happiness. Then, just before 30, she loses everything only to put it all in perspective as she builds a new life for herself.
My version of this was no doubt less comedically romantic but, despite the heartache, my circumstances helped kick me in the butt and make this project a reality. And in turn, the zine has helped me keep a positive focus on new beginnings as I climb into this new era of my life.
What you now hold in your hands owes everything to my amazing friends, acquaintances, and mutual friends who took the time to think deeply about what turning 30 means to them and then courageously share their thoughts with the world. I thank you all for participating in this experiment. I couldn’t have imagined this caliber of writing or sincerity, humor or intelligence. You truly have made this a successful project with your words of wisdom.
I also want to thank my friends who have encouraged me along this journey and also my family for their unconditional love. You guys rule.
360 Months is dedicated to all of those thirty-somethings that are pushing the boundaries. You’re my inspiration.
Thanks for reading!
Matt Dineen, April 2011