Today I woke up a 3-0 year old (insert ALL THE EMOTIONS HERE!!!). In the weeks leading up to today, I found myself wishing for an “aha” moment to take hold. Nothing big, necessarily, just some assurance that as I embarked on a new decade, I had a clearer sense of who I was and what I was doing. Sure, when I was young I thought that by 30 I would have a family of 3 or 4, make a million bucks and travel the world on a private jet. Reality is, I live in a “charming” new home, I do have a family of 3 (does a fur baby count?) and I’ll take any airplane ride my schedule and bank account allows!
For so many of us, our 20s are the years of staying out too late, drinking too many cocktails, eating too much fried food, and just generally indulging too much for our own good. But my 20s also taught me a lot about myself.
I encountered enough sticky situations and made enough mistakes throughout my 20s to teach me what I believe are valuable lessons. While there are some lessons I wish I’d learned sooner (like the importance of wearing sunscreen even when it’s cloudy and the value of a full night’s sleep), I’m glad I had the chance to learn the following lessons on my own. Some are more significant than others, but I’m glad I learned each and every one. Today on my 30th birthday, they have me feeling ready to enter a new decade.
1. Let’s be real, being in our twenties is uncomfortable.
I remember when I was nineteen and I couldn’t wait for my birthday to happen so I could officially say I was no longer a teenager (what was I thinking?). Being in your twenties basically means you’re a teenager with A LOT more responsibilities, and during this time of your life, you are most likely going to discover who you’ll eventually become.
While I’m not saying these experiences and thoughts won’t happen in my thirties, I hope to have a clearer understanding of who I am as a person. The pain and lack-of-direction I experienced in my twenties allowed me to grow and discover my truest self. Yes, I lost some friends and I say “no” more often to things that don’t appease me, but these type of things will allow me enjoy life to its fullest.
2. Because growing old is a privilege.
We are not guaranteed to grow old. Each day is a gift, and the more we moan about turning another year, the less likely we are able to appreciate every minute we have on this earth.
I’m treating thirty as a new chapter of my beautiful story. I’m making a list of what I hope to accomplish, what characteristics I’d like to change, and how I wish to see myself continue to grow. Hopefully, during these next ten years, I become wiser, more empathic, and more adventurous with time, friends, family, and myself (because I deserve some lovin’ too). Because, frankly, why should I waste energy over something that I literally can’t avoid, when I can use that time to make the most out of a situation I know you can’t change?
3. I know I’m a hot mess and I’m okay with it.
In my early twenties, I tried to be perfect and do it all. I aimed to be viewed in a positive light and didn’t dare admit defeat in any issues or true desires. However, once I begin to roll into my late twenties, all of that went out the door. Friends invite me to go out after 9 pm on a Friday night? Nope. I tend to go out in public more with 4 day old unwashed hair (thank you Jesus for dry shampoo!). Yep, don’t care. I eventually came to terms with these little nuances and learned to be comfortable and more confident in my own skin.
I’m not afraid of admitting my mistakes and experiencing failures. Those “hot mess” moments allowed me to embrace the human condition. Once I stopped apologizing for who I am and begin reflecting inwards, I eventually evolved into the person I’m meant to be.
So today, as one chapter closes and another one opens, I am ready for you 3-0! Ready to learn more life lessons, strengthen my relationships, become a better person, and continue to set new goals to accomplish in my third decade!
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11
Here’s to jumping into this new chapter with a new appreciation for life. (And maybe a few glasses of wine, but that’s for another post.)
Goodbye 20s! Sorry not sorry!
Photography compliments of my sweet friend Shelly at Dakota & Co.