I remember thinking on the last few birthdays...Oh no! 26?! That means I'll be 30 soon. 28! Two more years and I'll be 30! And then, 29!! And I was so sad. And partly it might have been because it just came and went on your regular Wednesday with a full routine of going to work, getting the kids picked up and fed, nothing special. On my 29th, birthday celebrations included my daughter getting a little bug and throwing up all over me right before we were going to attempt somewhat of a birthday dinner with our little family of four. But mostly, I was sad because it was my last year in my 20's.
I thought that once I would have to tell people I was 30, they wouldn't view me as young anymore and I would just seem kinda average.
As I approached 30 this year and started to talk to different people, friends, co-workers, about my upcoming BIG birthday (to me and me only!), I started hearing something very different then what I'd always just assumed about 30's...or just really anything past your 20's. They were telling me it was some of the best years, the decade they've loved the most so far, the year I shouldn't be afraid of but the one to embrace. "Why?" I asked, honestly very intrigued and confused about their responses.
Because I was more settled, they said. Because I spent my 20's finding myself and then I got to spend my 30's enjoying life as myself, they said. Because, I was much wiser.....
So, being the processor that I am, I began to think more on their words. And after much thought, I realized I did in fact believe the same would be true and that maybe what I was really afraid of losing was life and youth in terms of physical beauty and perhaps the level of vigor and energy I have in life.
In my 20's, I have many wonderful memories of staying out late, parties and lunch dates and constantly going from one thing to the next. In my 20's, I have plenty of pictures of tanner me (for me people, tanner for me), thinner me with flawless skin hanging out with all my many friends on my various road trips and adventures and late night parties. I was blessed with many wonderful opportunities in my 20's that I wouldn't take back in a heartbeat. I'm kinda obsessed with pictures so I dug up some that represent my fave people and moments and memories.
In my 20's, I also had plenty of insecurity, searching, striving, comparing, shallow relationships (on my part) and graceless moments...make that graceless years.
So what does a more settled, wiser, true-to-me life look in my 30's? Well, I'm just getting started but I hope that it looks like embracing the wrinkles appearing in the corner of my eyes and the chubbier cheeks I carry post-babies and the messy hair that came from laying on the couch while cuddling and taking silly pics with my babies as we make up songs together.
I hope it looks like slow evenings spent with friends in my imperfect and normal home, eating and discussing the things we're loving about life, the things that we want to do with our lives, the things that make us better people.
I hope that it includes embracing the stretch marks and never-flat-again stomach and striving to be healthy because I have a family that I need to be strong and available for, not because I need to be the same size that I was in high school.
I hope it includes a version of me that fights through the hard moments in relationships because I believe that everyone's worth fighting for and because I understand that love is different than my expectations and so I respond with grace and a willingness to keep at it.
I hope my 30's displays a braver me. I pray that the things I have learned through the trials of my 20's are not lost but things I remember so that I can press on, strive to live differently and land at a place in life where I'm more freely me.
Here's to a future blogpost I can write full of new pictures that show messy and meaningful moments of a life that demonstrates the value of progress, not perfection, thoughts on failed but grace-filled moments instead of regrets from never even trying and reflections of a heart that understands worth is about who I am, not what I do or accomplish. Here's a few to get started... :)
Have you struggled to to embrace a new age or decade or have you found it easy to celebrate? Is there a change you've experienced that you're loving? I wanna know!