Upon turning 30, whether by an unconscious trigger or a biological precedence that has unlocked from within me, I have discovered things that would have been fortunate to know in my 20s.

The first thing is that my 30s have brought with them a more definitive sense of who I am and the correct path for me. To exemplify: my husband and I alike have both rekindled an interest in matters of etiquette, specifically in the realm of advice offered by Miss Manners and Emily Post.

This is not the first time I’ve taken an interest in etiquette, which has abounded and existed in my life since my 5th grade teacher Mr. Davis took it upon himself to read from Emily Post’s Etiquette in the brief period prior to lunch; prior to that, my 1st grade teacher Ms. Hendrix read for us books on manners and how one is to be polite.

Since those days, there’s been a love-hate relationship; aren’t manners about creating a fake person and behaving in a fake way?

Well, from one perspective, that’s possibly the case; from another perspective, perhaps manners are more about “seeing something from someone else’s perspective.” Etiquette is about consideration for the other person- something that goes against our nature on certain fronts, yet can become second nature to us on others.

Miss Manners emphasizes the importance of understanding context for etiquette; our manners don’t exist in a vacuum. In other words, there is not only the established rules for etiquette itself; there is also the surrounding philosophy of etiquette; the rules, then the capacity of how to interpret the rules the best way possible.

Anyway, this is one example of knowing better the direction I want to go in my life- I wanted to be person known not just for his manners but for his exemplary manners. 

In this strange era where so many people believe that “being honest” is equated with “stating things however one pleases with no regard for others and how they might feel,” in this era where there are seemingly no standards for behavior and everything becomes relativized, it’s refreshing that Miss Manners forthrightly states that yes, there are standards, and yes, you should be held to those standards- which in this case are a set of principles that are not high-and-mighty but are rather practical and applicable to daily life.

Suffice it to say, though, that the rekindled interest in etiquette is now something I can see myself doing for the long-haul of my life; it’s no longer “one path of many to explore” or anything along those lines.

So if I could write back to my 20-year-old self, I would tell him exactly that- “Don’t worry, Steve. You’ll be fine. You’ll figure yourself out and then get to enjoy your life.”

There have also been slight declines in my health: heartburn and headaches are more common to the point of actually suffering from them, though the heartburn seems to be random these days.

Another thing: I’ve learned that in order to improve, you simply have to keep doing something. In my younger days I simply assumed that some people had talent and others didn’t, and that the talent would eventually be drawn out; I had the attitude of not seeing enough progress quickly enough and thus giving up.

However, having seen the amount my art has improved in the last year, I’m feeling much better about this, and I should somewhere congratulate myself on having done enough work to improve as I have. So a new attitude is the “stick with it” attitude- not “I tried this once and failed at it” attitude.

The world of languages is still a mystery, though- there are so many I want to learn that I’m just not sure where to start. DuoLingo has increased the number of languages it offers, though it still isn’t offering Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. Sad day. I would really love to take the Korean course, followed by Chinese. But one day, I’ll accomplish this.

Not much to do with religion in this blog, I suppose. I did have a reading done by a Mambo, and we’ll talk all about that in the next entry, I think.