1: Ordinary World
In the Ordinary World, you are on the eve of turning 30 and all is very meh. It feels cliché to be sad about turning 30, but what can you do, you simply don’t feel very flirty or thriving.
2: Call To Adventure
Your friend Jill texts to say that on this momentous of birthdays, she has splurged! She’s taking you to OTRII! It’s all happening, three months from today!
3: Refusal Of The Call
The problem is, you have nothing to wear. The day of, you stare into your closet with mounting despair. Nothing has fringe or sparkles or could remotely be described as “fierce.” Your church skirts are the opposite of a freakum dress and you don’t even own any thigh-high boots!
4: Meeting The Mentor
You’re in a panic. You’re going to be late all because of your pathetically unbejeweled wardrobe. You bellow, “SCOTT!” And he comes running in, alarmed, as you explain the crisis.
He assures you that you look great in the dress you’ve chosen. He reminds you that you love Beyoncé with a deep abiding love. You used her lyrics at your wedding. You can still recite every Destiny’s Child song by heart.
This is all you needed to believe in yourself. You grab your clutch, kiss him goodbye, and set out the door.
5: Crossing The Threshold
The drive from Orange County to Pasadena begins pleasantly enough. Your GPS shows the journey as mostly blue, and you listen to EVERYTHING IS LOVE, getting pleasantly hyped.
Approaching Pasadena, the route on your GPS turns yellow, then red. It should be fine given you left home 3.5 hours before the show starts. But as you stop-and-go the last ten miles into Old Town, passing crowds of excited pedestrians in fierce outfits, you begin to wonder whether you did in fact plan this out well enough. Are you unprepared for this journey? Did you even think it through? Home feels a long ways away.
6. Tests, Allies, Enemies
You pick Jill up on a random street corner before making your way into one of the many designated parking structures. You catch up, you’re so excited, you’re here!
But you’re hungry.
Aware of each other’s propensity to hanger, you know you must find food before shuttling up to the Rose Bowl. You wander the streets of Old Town, past Buca Di Beppo and Cheesecake Factory, wondering, where can we acquire the necessary sustenance without being late?
Then as if by miracle, Jill spots a burrito joint down an alley and since you aren’t bejeweled anyway, you decide you may as well fuel yourselves with something as un-sexy as carnitas. You schlep your tinfoiled burritos onto the shuttle where, unsure as to how long the ride will take, proceed to wolf them down.
The shuttle pulls up to the Rose Bowl, and you skip toward the security line with an hour to spare, feeling mightily pleased with yourselves! Until they inform you your purses are too big. Yes, your paper-thin clutch and Jill’s kitten purse will not be allowed inside.
You wait in a 30-minute line and pay $10 each to check in your baby purses, and are given Ziploc bags to hold your items in in return. These do nothing for either of your outfits.
7. The Approach
You enter the stadium, stopping to get water for later hydration. You buy Dasani’s from two women who inform you that you must remove the lids from the bottles. There is no explanation for this. Are you being hazed? You’ll never know.
You show the usher your ticket and she gestures up — way up. You carry your open waters carefully up and up and up, all the way up to the literal back row. Silver lining though, because you have a backrest up here! It is ergonomic to be here in the back!
You settle in. It’s 7:25. You’ve conquered this formidable foe!
8. The Ordeal
Except nope. Still 40 minutes of DJ Khaled spinning beats from 2012, and occasionally shouting “UH!” and “WHAT?” and “WE THE BEST MUSIC!”
He invites plenty of guests on stage and the crowd goes wild but you don’t know them because you are thirty.
Are you too old to be here? Should you maybe leave now? It is dangerously close to your typical bedtime and honestly maybe --
9. The Reward
All goes dark. The three massive screens behind the stage light up.
The magnificent forms of Beyoncé and Jay-Z appear floating in the center, all dressed in white, magnified 3000% on the two screens flanking them. They are glorious. They are here!
Bey sings the first refrains of Holy Grail and the beat drops and suddenly every minute, every step, every hassle has been worth it.
There are 2.5 hours of pure otherworldly entertainment. She hits every single note and every move her body makes is flawless. Also Jay-Z is there.
10. The Road Back
You left during the encore but so what? So did twenty thousand other people.
It takes 30 minutes to retrieve the Kitten purse from the Item Check. It takes 20 minutes to find the shuttle line, and an unfathomable 80 minutes to get through it.
Your feet ache. Your voice is shot. You’re on a high from the glory you just witnessed, but now wonder – will we ever make it back? And will life even be the same when we get there?
You shuttle into Pasadena (12 minutes). You walk to the parking structure (8 minutes). You drive home (56 minutes) where you arrive at 2:07 AM.
You crash, finally, blessedly, sweatily into your homey comfortable bed.
11. The Resurrection
You arise the next morning, changed. And wrecked. How did you do this in college?
You spend the day in a groggy haze wondering, was it all a dream? You are basically worthless today, but what can any of this ordinary stuff matter when 12 hours ago you experienced the sublime?
12. Return With Elixir
You spend the next days reliving your journey, Googling all you haven’t already Googled about Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. You find that she is 37! I mean you knew she was 37, but it hits you differently today.
She is thirty-seven years old and undoubtedly flirty and thriving. She is making art and bearing children and dancing her face off and running the world.
You watch every Twitter video Jill sends from jerks who were on the front row. You text each other favorite moments and realize you’re bonded forever. And suddenly being thirty doesn’t seem so bad after all.