Thoughts on Turning Thirty

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Turning thirty can be daunting. It seems like once you’re out of your 20s, the world labels you as old, boring, and having one foot in the grave. When I turned 20, I couldn’t even begin to imagine where life would lead. Thirty seemed like a lifetime away. It was easy in the days leading up to my birthday to go into a black hole of morbid thoughts, but I wanted to enter my 30th year with a positive mindset (not easy to do in the middle of a pandemic). While the world looks bleak and so uncertain right now, I didn’t want to put that negativity or depreciation on my life. In the wise words of Jenna Rink, I want to be thirty, flirty, and thriving.

Having that mentality, I’ve reflected on what turning thirty means to me. I’ve thought about what I’ve experienced and where I want to go. Here are some thoughts on thirty:

Life is precious. Cliche, right? But seriously… I have put such a greater value on my time and my choices over the years. I’ve lost loved ones and seen new life enter the world. I’ve made countless mistakes and sometimes haven’t learned from them. I’ve made decisions that are minuscule and ones that are life-altering. I’ve wasted time and lived life to the fullest. But I will not take for granted any of it. I do not regret any of it. Especially amid this coronavirus crisis, I will be grateful for every moment I have on this earth to live and love.

I want to make my own milestones. When you’re in your 20s, everything seems so glamourized. Everything is full of pleasure and you’re free to be whatever you want. When you turn thirty, you see things like, “30 goals to reach in your 30s”, or “Financial advice for 30 and beyond”. While my goals have evolved since I turned 20, I rebel at the idea that turning thirty means you should have achieved A, B, and C. Maybe I hit goal A at 25 and I’ll hit goal C at 50; or maybe I don’t even have a goal C and instead I have goal XYZ. My milestones are not defined by my age. I think I’m still free to be whatever I want to be in my 30s! I won’t compare my highlight reel to anyone else’s. I’ll make my own luck and not worry about what one person out in cyberspace says are 30 life changes I should make in my 30s to have success. 

Treat yo’ self is a real thing and real important. But I’m not limiting it to one day a year! As I’ve become more in tune with my habits, behaviors, and emotions over my thirty years, I’ve realized just how vital it is to truly take care of myself. As a wife and mother it’s easy to put others before myself… and I enjoy doing so. However, if I only worry about everyone else and neglect myself, the pressure and weight of it all begins to build. I have to take time just for me. Sometimes it’s a simple 5-minute porch swing alone in the quiet; sometimes it’s treating myself to a wax or massage; sometimes it’s whatever feels good in the moment. No matter what it is, I know that my body, mind, heart, and soul need a little self-care to be the best me.

Not everything can be mastered. Health, sense of self, spirituality, relationships, understanding… it’s all an ever-evolving journey that we’re on. As someone who loves to see the end result and hates not knowing things, this one is hard – and I know I’ll still have to remind myself of this for the next 30 years. There are plenty of paths in my life that have hit roadblocks; plenty of brokenness that has forced me to come to terms with the fact that I can’t do it all or have it all or know it all. And that’s ok! As they say: it’s not the end that matters, but the journey.

Everyone else is winging it, too. Having a plan and goals are all well and good, but plans and goals sometimes fall apart. Sometimes better plans pop up and new goals are realized. Sometimes you feel confident in your life’s path and sometimes you feel completely in the dark. Either way, no one has it all figured out. Fear has often ruled my emotions, but I’ve realized that I can’t live in fear. Not having a timeline for every aspect of my life is fine. I’m going to let life sculpt me into the woman/wife/mom/friend/daughter/sister/etc. that I’m meant to be. Everyone falls apart sometimes or walks blindly at some point, but it all works together for good in the end. Just wing it because everything’s fine… I’m fine!

C.S. Lewis said, “Thirty was so strange for me. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I am now a walking and talking adult.” Yep. Some days I forget that I’m the one in charge of cooking dinner and paying the mortgage and making doctor appointments. That didn’t happen when I was 15 or 20. I look at 20-year-olds now and feel the wrinkles form on my forehead. While turning thirty feels a lot like 29, it’s been nice to reflect on those thirty years and how they’ve shaped me, each and every wrinkle. This list is far from everything I’ve learned thus far; but I’m proud of where I’ve been and eager for what the next thirty years will bring. The last 29 years were just practice, right?

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