In one week’s time (actually one week plus 2 hours and 55 minutes’ time), I will turn 32. Turning 32 isn’t my favorite thing in the world; just last night, I was thinking about all of the bars I’ve been in within the past year and how it’s a safe bet that I might have been in the Older Half of all patrons present in nearly every one. It’s probably a good thing that I rarely go out to bars anymore, I guess, because while no one looks good while shitfaced, shitfaced older women look a hell of a lot worse than almost everyone else.
Of course, I know that 32 isn’t really old, and I know this because I am one of the youngest of my friends and none of them look a day over 30 to me. And half of them have smoked, so I can’t be in such terrible shape.
Turning 32 is nowhere near as bad as turning 30, which I never thought I’d mind until the date was about 6 months away and I had a sudden panic that I was leaving my 20s, that decade where you can pretty much get away with all the fuckery you want and having your shit even mildly together is worthy of some commendation. It’s like being the kind of bright kid in the slow class. Like the one who got put there by accident because they were on cold medicine on standardized test day or maybe is a little socially awkward but otherwise decent at math.
This year, my birthday present to myself was a 23andMe test. 23andMe is a DNA-testing service that analyzes your DNA to provide you with your DNA haplotype (haplotypes if you’re a dude, because women can only be tested via maternal ancestry and I haven’t yet tried to convince my dad to go in on this concept), an ancestry summary including geographical breakdown of your genes’ origins, and a few other pieces of information, such as profiles sharing your markers and your genome-wide Neanderthal ancestry.
If you were wondering, 2.8% of my DNA is Neanderthal. This is .1% higher than the average 23andMe submitter, and I think this might actually explain a lot.
I also found out that my maternal haplogroup is H1a of H1, which, according to 23andMe:
“…originated during the Younger Dryas Cycle, a short cold snap between 12,900 and 11,500 years ago that interrupted the general warming trend at the end of the Ice Age. Forests in Scandinavia were replaced by tundra, and droughts occurred in the Near East. After this cooling cycle ended, a group carrying H1a rapidly expanded from southern Europe northward into Finland and eastern Europe. After reaching the Baltic Sea, individuals with H1a eventually moved farther east into the Finno-Ugric speaking populations who lived along the Volga River and in the Ural Mountains of Russia.”
The H1 group was also common in Doggerland, which, if you like watching the History Channel when it’s not being the Alien Channel, the Hitler Channel, or the Conspiracy Theory Channel, you know is the land bridge that once joined Britain with the European mainland. Probably Vikings hung out there once.
So basically I’m white, which I already knew, and I’m still waiting on the geographical summary to be completed. And again, I know, I’m white (like, super white, have you even seen me?), but I still want the breakdown of where these mitochondrial pieces of me come from specifically, because let’s face it, most Americans don’t really know shit outside of their last names and maybe if they’re lucky a once-living relative they met who had an accent. I know what my family has told me and what they wrote down in Bibles, but how many of them really knew? How many of them were told something by someone who was told something? How many stories were changed because they suited certain marriages or jobs or immigration statuses? You really don’t know what’s real and how much of everything was not the entire truth, so if you’ve got a birthday coming up and have totally read the fine print about providing your genetic information to a company (I have totally read the fine print about providing my genetic information to a company, by the way), it might not be a bad idea to get a kit, pay some money and find out.