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I don't know why we react so strongly to the big 3-0. Maybe it is because throughout our young lives we have always desried to be older--loved it, even greeted each birthday with open arms. Then suddenly the thirty-year mark looms ahead and we become paranoid at the prospect of getting old. Not older, old.
In a way, being born is a sort of ecological contagion. When you have longevity of family, we remember our grandfathers and maybe our great-grandfathers. We somehow don't have the capacity in modern life to remember further than that. All of the ramifications of their lives have an effect on us, and we're not aware of it.