A decade ago, thirty sounded so old. When I thought of my thirtieth birthday, I always figured I would be completely settled, out of new ambitions, a little bit boring. I'm not sure why that was, exactly. Maybe it was just so far away, and it seemed like I'd be able to accomplish pretty much anything in my twenties, and by time I hit thirty life would just be…simple.
The thing is, my life is rather simple, but it isn't boring. In fact, I am nowhere near out of new ambitions. (I want to run a half-marathon, I want to write a book, I want to have more children, I want to teach, I want to learn a hundred new things.) And when it comes to being settled? I can honestly say I don't know where we will be even five years from now. In many ways, the sky still feels like the limit. (I may be a homebody, but I still dwell in possibility—that's the truth.)
I don't think I ever really freaked out, the closer I've come to thirty. The closer I get, the more appealing it is. I've mentioned before how so many women I know in their thirties have this air of confidence and wisdom and comfort in their own skin—flaws and all. Worries and insecurities still linger, sure…but there is a different tone to it all. It's not debilitating, and it doesn't color so much of your day-to-day life. It's less about wanting to fix yourself and more about being unabashedly yourself. Being the best version of who you are with what you've been given.
That's what I want for my thirties.
I'm grateful for all the experiences my twenties have offered me. It's a little crazy to look back on the past decade and all that I've seen and done and struggled with. How it has definitely shaped me into the woman I am now. There are memories that make me cringe, but mostly I'm proud and content and a little nostalgic when I look back on the past ten years of life. I don't think my experiences were that unique—after all, who doesn't go through the usual quarter-life crisis, drama and other general shenanigans that typically accompany your twenties? I'm just glad to have come out on the other side with a life I wouldn't trade for anything.
What's odd, is that in the past year I've finally started seeing my age. For the longest time, I really didn't think I looked much different than I did a decade ago. But all of a sudden there are so many things I'm noticing…the bags under my eyes that won't seem to go away, endless freckles on my arms and shoulders that are a testament to too many summers in the sunshine with not enough sunscreen, gray hairs that somehow keep multiplying on my head, the way I carry my weight post-baby (and post-teenage-metabolism). The thing is, though, that I'm not upset over any of it. I have my bad days, of course, but I refuse to waste any more energy on that kind of insecurity.
I'm also learning to be okay with being an introvert, a homebody, an emotional nelly. I'm learning to more proudly define myself as a wife and stay-at-home-mom, as a Christian, as an artist. I'm always learning, because there's never an end to it all, is there? Life is always a work in progress, and that can be a beautiful thing.
I'm enjoying this last bit of my twenties. (And it's always nice to have an excuse to wax poetic on the whole thing.) Thirty just feels like a big deal, in the best way possible—like a beginning and ending all rolled into one.