Creeping birthdays

Birthdays don't creep anymore - Garfield (reprin.... bah, you know the drill)

Yes, my 30th birthday is rapidly approaching (only a couple of weeks away), and I still haven’t made much of my life. This, of course puts some self-applied pressure on me, considering I haven’t achieved as much in life as I had hoped for at this point. I still live in my mother’s basement, I’m still single and unattached, and any sign of offspring is highly dependant on the previous two. I also haven’t reached as high career-wise as I had hoped for. All these thoughts don’t exactly help me keep my spirits up on a daily basis. What is it about decennial birthdays that brings on these kinds of thoughts?

This is the kind of thinking that pushed me to attending a large singles party in Oslo this coming weekend. Earlier this year, I noticed that one of the dating websites (Norwegian only) was hosting a grand event for singles in Oslo on Feb 6. From what I’ve read, this singles party is somewhat of a regular thing, and these usually have 500-1000 attendees, and usually only members of that dating website may attend (others may attend only by invitation from an existing member, something that also has to be authorized by the dating website). Once the party starts, matching cards with photos are handed out, and these include your best matches of the people at this party.

Three weeks ago, I made up my mind to attend this one (for the first time), so I ordered a ticket for myself (the party ain’t free, ya know), booked the flights and hotel (Oslo is a little under an hour flight in each direction), pre-paid for transportation from the airport to the hotel (and back), all completed and confirmed in less than 30 minutes (I had checked up on prices the week before, just to fuel my decision). Thank goodness for Travellink (a site similar to Expedia, both in pricing and concept – I used them for booking the flights from home to Orlando when I went to the US last summer) for making the flight and hotel booking simple and affordable (even for a 4 star hotel like Radisson Blu Scandinavia). Who can pass up such a great offer when it’s even smack dab in the middle of Oslo?

The flight leaves this Friday evening (liftoff at 8:25 pm from Ålesund, landing in Oslo at 9:20 pm), and the return flight is on Sunday evening (liftoff at 9:45 pm, landing in Ålesund 10:40 pm). The bus ride between the airport and the hotel in Oslo takes almost an hour, but at least that bus stops right outside the hotel entrance, so I won’t have far to walk (I’ll find something to pass time on the bus, don’t you worry). Transportation (bus, taxi, parents driving, whatnot) to and from the airport near Ålesund takes 15-20 minutes, so I won’t be home until it’s closer to 11-11:30 pm that Sunday. I deliberately wanted a late flight on Friday so I won’t have to miss work, and I sincerely hope I’ll get to check out late on Sunday (considering I have about 6 hours to kill after the usual checkout time until I head out to the airport). Like I did when I went on vacation alone to Copenhagen and to the USA, I’ve planned most of my trip down to the detail; I’ve pre-paid for and received a tram ticket (which was 25 NOK when pre-purchased on the web or at a convenience store in Oslo, but 40 NOK if paid to the tram driver/conductor) to use when travelling from the hotel to the party (the tram stops right around the corner from my hotel, and also stops under a city block from the party location); I’ve written down tram times (every 20 minutes, it takes 17 minutes from the hotel to the party); I’ve researched taxi companies and prices in Oslo (for the return trip to my hotel), and written down phone numbers for the 5 biggest. I’ve even saved map images around my hotel (walking route from the hotel to the tram stop) and around the party location (walking route from the end tram stop to the party) on my phone. All times (flight, party and return flight) have been plotted into my calendar and synced to my phone, and relevant info has been included in each of those calendar times.

Sometimes, I think I plan too much. Then again, planning is part of what makes it a safe trip, and leaves the remaining time (aside from the flights and the party itself) up for spontinaity.

The party may result in a girlfriend, or it may not. My goal for the party is to at the very least breach a boundary in me to go out and find love more actively (rather than spending time with my family and my introverted self – don’t get me wrong, I love the family time, I just want more than that).

Never having had a proper girlfriend does something to you (and I’m not counting “girlfriends” from kindergarten and grade school). However, I have made my observations on other couples, as well as reading into a lot of articles and forum posts on dating, romance (actual romance, not novel or fantasy romance), relationships, sexuality, conflicts and stuff like that. In short, as with sex, I have taken in all the theory I can get my hands on (which is, btw, a continuing quest for information), but I have yet to take all that theory into practice on a real live person. I now intend to do something more active to rid myself of my relationship virginity (of sorts). How that will actually play out, remains to see. I hope I don’t have to move away from Ålesund for it to happen, though (I just love my hometown in spite of all the cold weather – then again, what happens, happens).

Of course, my sister’s pregnancy and the pending arrival of my first niece in May does make me feel left out in a way. I may be putting too much pressure on myself, but being 3 years older than my sister, I had hoped to be close to 3 years ahead in life than her as well. That obviously didn’t happen. Instead, I’m left with a feeling of not having achieved anything significant in life at the entrance of my first 30 years as a human being.

That’s not to say I’m happy for my sister and her boyfriend, because I am. I just wished I had something like she has. And every time I catch myself in envy over my sister, I also feel ashamed for (in my mind) putting pressure on her (I’m only thinking about that pressure, though, I’m not actually putting any pressure on her).

Then again, I’m also still (relatively) young, and my seeds don’t t have the same expire date as a female’s eggs, but I’ve reached the point in life where I actually look forward to bringing a new life to the world, and perhaps even experience being a grandfather before it’s too late, in addition to having someone to grow old with. How’s that for a comfort level and sense of commitment? And that’s even before having someone to share it with!

I hope life still has something special in store for me, and I’m sure it does. It just isn’t happening soon enough!

Now, how’s that for a rant about life?