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Analogue Girl About Town: Now that I’m 30, I’ve become painfully aware of my own mortality

I had this week’s article written and ready for publishing two weeks before my deadline but a lot has happened since then so I decided to write an entirely different article, one that would be more fitting. I also dusted off my trusty Mamiya C330 so I could capture the sense of this piece on film.

A vestige of an old pier in Malibu

This week, I’ve only just realized that I am in fact no longer in my 20s. It’s been a month after my birthday yet this realization still hit me hard. Now that I’m 30, I’ve become painfully aware of my own mortality. And because I haven’t done even half of the things I’ve always wanted to do in my life, I am in full panic mode.

I am now very convinced that I am someone who still has not made her mark in the world and that the time I have left isn’t enough make any significant changes to rectify this. I feel that I am slowly becoming invisible and I feel that my complete disappearance from this world is inevitable; I feel that when I die, nobody will remember me because I haven’t really done anything that changed lives or even just inspired many.

The Getty Villa, a Mediterranean-style mansion-turned-Greek and Roman Art museum in Malibu
Cafe de Leche, one of my fave coffee shops, located on York Boulevard in Highland Park
The Iliad Bookshop in North Hollywood. One of the largest and last remaining local used books shops in Los Angeles and a must-visit if you’re a book lover

While I can’t tell if it’s much worse because I am living in a city of millions, where everywhere I look individuals are driven by ambition and the mad sense of achievement, where it’s so very easy to get lost or to lose yourself, I definitely feel more alone. It’s like I’m standing in the middle of a crowd, slowly vanishing while everybody else is only getting more visible.

I guess this is how it feels like when we come to terms with our own impermanence. When we’re young, we feel like we will live forever, we feel like we have all the time in the world to do everything we want to do. Then we hit that temporary devastating point when we realize that no, we will not live forever and that in fact we do not have all the time in the world.

Somewhere along the Pacific Coast Highway

In a way, getting to that point is a good thing. It must be, if only because it pushes us to stop procrastinating and start living our lives to the fullest; to work harder at our dreams and start doing the things that we really honestly want to do; and to never take anything for granted. So that even if we don’t do or get everything we want in life, we can at least get to do some of them and make our own little marks in this world.

I hope that’s what it does to me. I have already used up 30 years of my life and I don’t want to waste anymore. I have books to read, places to see, cultures to experience, and many more things to photograph. If I am lucky to have enough time to do even half of those things, then maybe I won’t disappear completely.

All photographs by Michelle Rae. She lives, breathes, and haunts in the City of Angeles.

written by blueskyandhardrock


  1. dida


    Analogue Girl About Town getting better and better !
    You may have already used up 30 years of your life but there's plenty more to come ;)

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  2. superlighter


    Did you ever think that this is the same for nearly seven billions of persons in this world, the only difference is that you have become conscious of this while the 90% of the others don't! This article is one important thing, your pictures are other important things, I'm trying to do the best with my poor English to comunicate with You that are in the other side of the world, we never met each other before and maybe not even after, and you're feeling like didsappearing, Baby, you're more present than you can imagine. the abitude is the worst enemy of the time, I noticed that the day I start to work years running more fast than when I was a kid and changes are behind the door everyday. that's the facts. don't worry , I'm feeling you're a lucky person, only be conscious of this. I use to say: useless to anxiety. We are the dream without a sense of one giant cockroach lying on the opaque background of the Universe. Arte Varia!

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  3. blueskyandhardrock


    Thank you @superlighter for sharing your own thoughts and for your (very poetic) encouragement. You are absolutely right. Most of us do go through this same thing. And even if we all feel this way, it doesn't mean that we haven't made our individual marks. While it's hard, I will do my best to not be so anxious and also not discount the things I've done no matter how small.

    Btw, was that a Kafka reference about the giant cockroach?

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  4. vicuna


    Great article Michelle, and the pictures are matching perfectly to the theme... but when you say "nobody will remember me because I haven’t really done anything that changed lives or even just inspired many." it's not true as your pictures are inspiring a lot of people here around and are a a strong testimony of what you feel and see... and as I said before, the best part of life starts with 30! :))

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  5. boredslacker


    Beautiful article... You have certainly made your mark here!

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  6. dreadlockboy


    great article reminding me in a couple years again and i have to make a move...thank you :')

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  7. stouf


    I'll remember you when after you die. If I die after you.

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  8. superlighter


    that sentence is mine and perhaps Kafka insired me in some way :-)

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  9. clownshoes


    Wonderful series

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  10. ikeagirl


    Great serie! The Café, beach and feet ones are awesome :)

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  11. herbert-4


    Wonderful article and series... now stop that!! You could be my daughter!! 30 is very young and you live in a safe world!! If you were here in the Pleistocene, you would have been, long since, a small snack for a peckish smilodon. Enjoy!!

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  12. carsten-schmitt


    Exactly, I mean, come on: 30!? Mortality? Don't you think you are over dramatising it a tiny little bit?

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  13. blueskyandhardrock


    @carsten-schmitt well, I am a woman. haha

    on a serious note, does the article sound a bit overdramatic? as i writer, i do tend to have a dramatic flair. different writers have different tools and this is my tool.

    am i being overdramatic? i don't think so. there is more to this than what was said in the article, more personal than i can to share. it may look simple to an outsider but believe me it's a lot more complicated. different technical and non-technical aspects.

    besides, i've had people message me about how they went through the same thing. so i guess it depends on the person and how he/she sees things.

    hope that clears it up a bit! thanks for taking time to read my article! xo

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  14. disdis


    Time runs fast if you let it escape from your hands but your hands know how to keep the time with you!

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  15. disdis


    your pictures are inspiring!

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  16. ponzi


    great read, michelle! :) lovely photos :)

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  17. blueskyandhardrock


    @dreadlockboy i'm glad to know that people can relate in one way or another to how i was feeling

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  18. blueskyandhardrock


    @vicuna thank you Stephane. you are my Yoda! ;D

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  19. blueskyandhardrock


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  20. blueskyandhardrock


    @disdis @stouf thank you so much! you two have been sources of inspiration for me since the beginning.

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  21. blueskyandhardrock


    @ponzi salamat po! :D

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  22. mczoum


    Nice article and lovely photos.

    I can correlate your thoughts to what Sartre calls the Existential authenticity, notion to which Camus has considered in necessity of a constant “Revolt”, along the different phases of life, that permits the human condition to confront the obscurity and the unexpected in reality and to “continue”.

    The previous reference to the Metamorphosis in Kafka’s work is pertinent.
    Moderate Anxiety is motivational to me per se in order to make transitions and decisions. Melancholy and Bitterness [you called it drama] are inevitable, the Absurd pervades through all aspects of our metaphysical existence. It leaves us perplex and it is frustrating.
    Every individual is restrained to evolve but, like a Camel is overweighed by his hump, he is too by burdens he carries within himself. Life as a sustained act of pure affirmation, by projecting interrogations about your future, through the present, you are not being “overdramatic” but in a quest to know your limits, or where lies your happiness, or both.
    Nietzsche the great says “The future influences the present just as much as the past”.

    I have witnessed a savage civil war, two major regional wars yet I have had a wonderful and joyful childhood. Now I am lazy in my apartment, drinking my morning coffee yet I can’t stop being melancholic.
    Anyway, keep the Child-like spirit, it brings happiness [If you have read Thus spoken Zarathustra and I’m sure you did] you will get what I meant. Btw I am also subject -victim to all these essential questions, good luck !

    Ps. English is my third learned language so I did my best :)

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  23. alloftheabove


    @blueskyandhardrock - reflect, evaluate, integrate, act. You inspire in ways you do not know. X

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  24. mililei

    I'm new in the Lomo community and found this article and the photos very touching and inspiring. I can relate to what you say. I'm 28 and I think "I'll be 30 before I know it" and I remember thinking that 30 was soooo far away. We joke about this with a friend and we tell each other "Remember, we are growing up" It's ok, keep on rocking like you do. The trick is to keep breathing!
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  25. af-capture


    michelle, great article lovely set!!

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  26. schlogoat


    I enjoyed this, and great photos. I didn't think you were being over dramatic. Who's to tell you what you feel is wrong?! :)

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  27. pearlmsqueaks


    Great photos. 30 is just the number of years you've been on the earth not the number of years you will be on the earth.

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  28. sexyinred


    i love all the shots and the article too ~ inspiring i must say =)

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  29. michell


    Inspiring! ;)

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  30. nural


    As someone who turned 30 about a month ago, it was a weird coincidence I came across your article now... I also feel like I haven't done anything remarkable until now and I hope I have the chance/energy/dedication to do so from now on...

    8 months ago · report as spam

Read this article in another language

This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch.