My 30th birthday with Paris Hilton

It was in the pool party night club on Saturday, April 8 at Harrah’s in Atlantic City, one day after my 30th birthday, when Paris Hilton and I locked eyes.

There was an instant connection. We slowly approached one another amid the booming dance music, held hands, and I swept her off her feet in one swooning, romantic gesture.

It was a scene right out of a movie.

Paris and I spent all night together, sharing secrets and life stories. We laughed together. We cried. It was love at first sight. Within 24 hours of meeting, we knew we were meant to be together forever.

And that, ladies and gentlemen … is absolutely not what happened.

But here is what did happen: it was indeed Saturday night, and it was the day following my 30th birthday. And Paris Hilton was there. But we did not lock eyes from across a crowded club. We did not join hands or cry together into the wee hours of the morning.

Rather, it was 3:30 in the morning, and Paris Hilton had just finished her late-night Paris Hiltoncelebrity DJ set at the Atlantic City nightclub.

She approached the remaining crowd to take selfies, and that was when I proceeded to bum rush the stage. Sensing an opening, I pushed through some other gawking fans, and screamed, “Paris, it’s my birthday!”

Somehow, Paris heard me, and next thing I know, she’s alongside me posing for a selfie. Because I am an extremely inexperienced and indifferent selfie-taker, I first took the picture with my iPhone camera facing the wrong direction.

I fixed it, then tried again, and proceeded to hit the wrong button, which turned my screen black.

That’s when Paris looked at me and said, verbatim, “You’re the worst sefie taker ever.”

I asked her to bear with me while I loaded up my camera once again. To her credit, she did. With the camera facing the right direction, and with my finger over the correct button, I snapped the photo.

And that is how I managed to snag a selfie with Paris Hilton.

The 36-year-old socialite has mostly avoided negative press since her infamous 20s, which involved a sex tape, a brainless reality show, and a stint in prison. Perhaps turning 30 finally switched on a light bulb inside her head.

Either way, I am a man of very few principles. But if there is one general rule I follow, it’s that I will become tenaciously loyal to any celebrity who agrees to take a picture with me.

And on Saturday night, she truly looked like she was enjoying herself while DJing. Sure, the soundtrack may have been pre-produced, and her laptop and headphones may have been as much of a prop as a steering wheel you give a 5-year-old in the back seat of a car.

But Paris Hilton helped me ring in my 30s. And I will never forget that. Plus she called me the worst selfie taker ever.

After years of selfie hating, it’s the best compliment I’ve ever received.

My last post in my 20s

One of the cool things about writing a daily blog is to look back at earlier posts and see how you have evolved over time.

While this venture has been very different than a journal, where you divulge your thoughts and feelings on a regular basis, a quasi-pop culture/news blog such as this still allows me to see what was at the forefront of my mind at any given day over the last seven-plus years.

And the evolution is startling.

In the first couple of years of this blog, I was basically talking about Jersey Shore and recapping my drunken nights. I had yet to start my first full-time job when I created this thing in late 2009.

Now I’m foraying into European politics and talking about the Supreme Court.

I guess it speaks towards the evolution of all young men and women, though. I started this blog as a 22-year-old.

And tomorrow, on April 7, I will become a 30-year-old.

I always assumed you’re supposed to feel a certain way when you turn 30. TV shows and movies often dramatize it as being a major turning point in a person’s life, when they finally figure out what exactly they are meant to do in this world.

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But as I write this, in the final hours of my 20s, I don’t really feel any type of emotional catharsis. Who knows, perhaps it will sink in after the fact, like the first time I input the number “30” in the gym treadmill when it asks me my age. I don’t know.

I’ve never been a believer in setting age-oriented milestones. Everyone moves at their own pace. Anything that I wanted to accomplish in my 20s can also be done in my 30s.

Will I miss my 20s? Sure. You do feel a bit of youthful exuberance when your age starts with the number 2. But will I miss the late-nights staying out until 4 a.m. getting drunk? No. Will I miss the indifference I had towards starting a career? No.

Even now, I reflect on how I behaved for most of the last decade. I was a dope. I acted as if I could do anything and get away with it. To this day, my past recklessness terrifies me.

If I had the ability to push a button and suddenly become 25 again, I don’t even think I would. I like the person I’ve become. I enjoy spending hours immersed in a book or news articles, trying to enhance my knowledge or understand a complex situation. I enjoy enlightening myself to new experiences and different cultures that I didn’t bother to concern myself with in my 20s.

Over the last couple of years, I feel like I’ve undergone a transformation, and it’s made me a better, well-rounded person. I feel like I’ve done a better job gaining empathy for people who are different than I am.

And that continued evolution is what I see defining the next chapter of my life — my 30s. I want to keep filling gaps in my knowledge. I want to continue to travel and experience new things. I want to be a better person. And I plan to do just that.

I find that exhilarating. I’m not dreading my 30s. I’m thrilled for the person I am going to become over the next 10 years.

There’s so much that this world has to offer. And I’m just one person trying to figure it all out.

That’s my mission for my 30s. And I won’t accomplish it.

But that won’t stop me from trying.

I’ll see y’all on the other side.