I’ve been a total whinger about turning 30 this year.
After I turned 29, I spent many bar outings lamenting the onslaught of this next 10-pack of years. I focused on others’ youth, and danced on the line between twenty-something go-getter and thirty-something wise woman. I didn’t want to stay out late and binge drink anymore. But I still wanted to be the next shiny, new thing. Some parts of my career are still new, but I wanted others to see me as experienced.
Identity crisis, much?
Yet it all makes sense why these feelings welled up in me. It is the very notion that at this point in life, I should be set. I am seven years removed from green, new graduate. All the allowances afforded me in my early 20s have evaporated. I’ve been a professional writer, in some capacity, for the last decade. I’ve also had lots of experience being a girlfriend, friend, daughter and sister.
Thirty is the point of no excuses.
And the thing is, once I finally got over this, I realized I was already living it. Things that used to make me lose my mind may still give me pause, but I handle them in the best way I know how. Trying to change people and their circumstances was once a primary goal of mine. Now I know I can’t – a truth I may have spoken in my 20s, but not quite believed.
I’m still a baby at times. Too little sleep, food, space, respect, and I go a little insane. But I own it a bit easier now, the same way I own my temper, my insecurities and sensitivities. The front I put on throughout a lot of my 20s has fallen away, because it has to. Trying to pull a charade this far into life is useless. The result is that the chasm between the life I want and the life I live has all but disappeared. It takes this entire decade not only to figure out what you want, but to implement the steps to get there as well.
People write about, photograph and film youth for a reason. Effortless happiness, laughter and beauty are yours. But if you’ve learned how to take care of yourself in all areas, you’ll know how to be at your best. Now if I don’t get enough sleep, eggplant-colored saucers appear under my eyes. I will never again have the smooth, lineless cheeks I had the day I turned 20, nor will I ever be able to carelessly suck on a cigarette after my fourth margarita and not have the list of long-term consequences scrolling through my brain.
I see those physical truths as a blessing.
We’re all hot, young things in our 20s. Your 30s become about aging gracefully, about accepting that process and loving yourself all the more for it. Instead of worrying about slimming myself down to a size 2, I’ve finally not only accepted, but embraced, my curves and the way I’m built–the wide hips, the ears that stick out, the freckles on my face.
With just 20 days left of being in my 20s, I’m ready to let this decade go. It was one well-lived, full of love, professional success, travel, adventures, a new country to call home, family and true-blue friends. How could I not be excited about starting a new decade knowing fully who I am and having achieved several of my dreams?
It only gets better from here.