It sounds so old, doesn’t it? I guess it depends on where you are in life and what number year you’re living in. I’m living in 31 now, and 30 sounds old.
And yet, it doesn’t.
Here’s a brief (??) history of me and ages:
- Newborn to 9 were filled with magic & pure bliss (and I’m not looking at those years through rose-colored glasses at all 😉).
- At age 9 I was forced to move and was so angry.
- I got through that, but entered the middle school years. I shudder just thinking of them.
- And then I entered high school and it wasn’t that bad for me. Probably because for two years my social life consisted of hanging out in stables with a family friend (who’s like an older sister to me) and her horses.
- At 18 I was an adult. 🎉
- 19 was the best year ever.
- I was terrified to turn 20. (Just ask my friends! 🙈) And 20 was kinda rough.
- 25 was surreal. A quarter of a century! Definitely an adult now.
- At 26 I was terrified that I was 28.
- At 27 I was terrified that I was 28.
- At 28 I couldn’t remember how old I was, but it wasn’t so bad.
- At 29 I ignored that I was about to turn 30.
- At 30 I realized a few things… (we’ll get to those in a moment). Also: I realized I’m a ways into this adult thing.
- And now, at 31, I still think I’m 30. You know what they say, it’s all about how you feel. And, TBH, I feel like I’m in my late 20s.
So here’s the thing about turning 30: it kinda rocks. In fact, being in my 30s might rival being 19. Maybe it’s a little too early to make that analysis since I’m only one full year into the decade, but so far I’m loving it. Here’s why:
1 // I’m so much more confident in who I am. Yes, I’m weird. Who isn’t? I don’t feel a need to hide that anymore. I’ve realized who I am and that feels amazing. I talked to a friend about this recently and she said, “Yes! Even with the mess my life is right now, I am so much more confident in who I am.” I think that’s the key thing: my life isn’t perfect, but I’m confident in who I am and that helps me handle the messiness that life brings without questioning and doubting everything. Because, let’s face it. Life is always going to be messy. I want to be able to handle the mess when it comes. Does that mean I always handle it with grace and free from anxiety? Heck, no! And yes, sometimes those questions and doubts creep up. But I process all of those feelings faster and I know I’ll get through it.
2 // I don’t let other people’s ish drag me down. Here’s what I mean: if I genuinely offend someone, I want to have a conversation about it. I want to know what I said or did so that I don’t do that again. But sometimes people just have bad attitudes and they can direct those attitudes toward someone else. Sometimes people see someone in a certain way and that’s not how that person is at all. When these types of ideas, opinions, and attitudes are directed at me, I just shrug it off. (Okay, sometimes I have an eye roll moment and then I shrug it off.) Because those ideas, opinions, and attitudes reflect more on the person who has them than on me. I know who I am, I know what my strengths are, I know what my weaknesses are. I know that I’m not perfect, but I also know that my imperfections and my weaknesses don’t make me inferior to other people, just like other people’s imperfections and weaknesses don’t make them inferior to me. This could probably be a sub-point to #1, because I think it all goes back to that confidence thing. But this is also something that I feel is important and has been so beneficial to me recently, so it needs to be its own category. There was a time when I let the attitudes and opinions of others drag me down and sometimes it does. Now, when it does, I catch on and remind myself: it’s not about me, it’s about them.
3 // You feel aging in your body earlier than you anticipate. I’ve had conversations about this with everyone I know who’s in their 30s. Sometimes you wake up and have a crick in your back, your joints start to crack a little more than they used to. Our bodies are not indestructible. So maybe it’s not good to lie on the floor to write for hours. Proper posture makes a difference.
(PS: Not my pup in the picture above, Little One is still an only dog. That’s my sister’s dog Tino on my 30th birthday.)
4 // I don’t have life figured out and that’s okay. When I turned 25 and “was definitely an adult” I was surprised that I didn’t have everything figured out. I have goals I’d like to achieve, but if someone were to say, “What will your life look like in five years?” my answer would be, “I don’t know.” “Where will you be in five years?” I don’t know. “What do you want your life to look like in five years?” Well, it would be cool if this, this and this happened, but… my answer to that question a year ago would have been different than my answer to that question today. There are some consistencies to it, but there also some major differences. I was the girl who, in high school, had my life through retirement planned, so this whole not knowing exactly what I want my life to look like in five years thing took some getting used to. If you had told 18-year-old me that at 31 I’d be where I am at this moment, I would have laughed at you. But now that I’m here, it’s not a bad place to be. In fact, I kinda like it. Most of the time, at least. 😂
5 // Life can be exhausting, but it’s also so, so good. And you need to hold onto that. I’ll be honest with you: I’m exhausted. At the end of the school year I left the job I had been working at for a couple of different things. They all feel a bit nebulous right now, but one thing is for sure: I needed to leave the job I was in. It wasn’t a good place for me anymore and, even more than that, I was exhausted. A hectic and demanding job along with pursuing my own creative goals left me exhausted and I watched as my ambition and my passion slowly drained. Last week I had coffee with a friend and a fellow writer and we talked about how we looked back on our younger selves when we were so full of passion and inspiration. We wonder where that passion and inspiration went. Between the demands and life and, let’s face it, the state of the world, life is exhausting.
But there’s also so much good in it. We live in a beautiful world and there’s so much good to be found, even in darker times. We need to look for those things when we’re feeling beaten down, when we’re exhausted.
6 // We need to be intentional. That lack of passion and inspiration thing? I’m not okay with it. The girl who was always thinking of story ideas, who was always so excited to write them down, the girl who lived to blog? I miss that part of me. I miss the girl who could get lost in a book for hours, who thought the perfect weekend was one spent with paints and drawing pencils scattered around. So I decided: instead of missing her, I’m going to bring her back. She’s still in me, I just need to pull her back out.
That’s what I mean by being intentional. We need to intentionally hold onto the things we love the most. For me, that means turning a room into my creative oasis. I want to turn it into a place that inspires me just by being in it. I’m returning to the things that have always inspired me to write. I’m giving myself permission to get lost in books again, because books are like fuel. And I’m scheduling in time to write. One of the things I think of as beautiful is the written word and the stories and worlds that are created with them, so I’m intentionally bringing that passion and motivation back into my life.
What life lessons have you learned?