Saturday, April 23, 2016

Thoughts on Turning 30

There is a lot of hype surrounding big milestones: graduations, weddings, christenings, and most of all, birthdays celebrating new decades. And this year just so happens to be the BIG 3-0 for me.

In fact tomorrow I will leave the days of my 20s behind and open the door to my 30's. Everyone has different feelings, emotions, and thoughts surrounding this time…most of my friends have been in my shoes already and have their varying thoughts to share. Some people are longing to go back to their 20's - to freedom, naiveté, selfishness, wanderlust, and carefree days. And some people are happy to leave their bad decisions, messy ups and downs, and growing pains behind.

I look back fondly on my 20's.  Travel had the most profound impact on my 20's.  In 10 years I explored over 10 countries, lived and worked on 2 islands, and took countless flights to see friends and family all over the country and world. I not only saw incredible places, but I experienced diverse cultures and environments, connected with unique individuals, and slowly figured out who I was and who I wanted to be.

I also recognize that my 20's were incredibly difficult. I don't agree (in a lot of ways) that your 20's are the best years of your life - they are really great, don't get me wrong, but no one tells you just how HARD it is. I was sheltered as a kid - protected from life's realities as best as possible. But my 20's were about figuring out a lot of the harsh realities of life. Taxes, car insurance, loans, health issues, and things just generally not working out in my favor…I didn't know who I was, who I was supposed to love, where I should live, what car to buy, how much money I should make to live + save, or how my life might play out. A lot of what-ifs for a planner. A planner who has always wanted everything to be just so…to be in order, to be figured out.

Slowly as I gained traction on my 20's, I did figure out a few things. I finally uncovered that it can't be in order, all the time; that it is not all within my control and things were always going to happen - that is the beauty, that is LIFE.  I figured out WHO I wanted to love. WHERE I wanted to live. And WHAT I wanted to do. I learned that comparison is the thief of joy and that being ME was the truest thing I could be. I learned that saying NO is hard, but healthy, and I need to practice it more. I learned that I can do ANYTHING, but I can't do EVERYTHING. A hard pill to swallow for an overachiever. I recognized that I get hangry sometimes and I can prevent it. I learned that sometimes things just work out. I learned time and time again that if things don't feel right, don't do it.  Plain and simple. I learned that talking to a best friend is sometimes the only therapy you need.  I learned through time and trial and error to not promise when I'm happy, not reply when I'm angry, and not decide when I'm sad.  I also learned that worrying won't stop the bad things from happening, it just stops you from enjoying the good. 

Looking back, my 20's were all about growth, in myself and my outlook on life. There was a lot of change, a lot of fun, and a lot of freedom. It's not to say that I won't grow or change in my 30's, I know I will, but I welcome this new decade, of having lots of the big stuff figured out.  

If I learn anything in my 30's I hope it's this...grace not perfection. 

I go back to my favorite quote by C.S. Lewis time and time again as I enter this new decade of growth, experience, and adventure. Cheers to 30 years! 
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