Today, I'm 30.
Did that news hit you the way it hit me? No, probably not. I've been thinking about writing about this day for months now. What would the tone be? Doom and gloom? Pity party? Inspirational?
For whatever reason while growing up, 30 was always "the big one." Once you are thirty you are totally 100% irrevocably and irretrievably a grown-up. In my head people who were thirty had "careers" where they wore business professional attire. They earned a salary, paid taxes, owned homes, had mortgages, and had shopping lists at the grocery store (check, check, check, check, check... *gulp*). People in their thirties go to cocktail hours, drive sedans, jog, and *gasp* have children (Oh thank goodness I don't go to cocktail hours or jog, PHEW).
I feel like I was so serious as a teenager about being a grown-up, getting good grades, getting to "the next step" that I forgot to enjoy being young until I was in my twenties. That was ok, because I was still just twenty-something, and twenty-somethings are young, don't need moisturizer or sun screen, go to clubs every week, and forget to take their cars in for oil changes every 3K miles. I didn't think about turning thirty, because it was still "so far off."
Now here I am. As my darling husband likes to point out, I'm closer to 40 than 18 now (ugh). It's interesting... I don't particularly want to be thirty, but when I watched the episode of Girls when the doctor said "You couldn't pay me enough to be 24 again" I could NOT agree more. On the one hand, I had a lot of fun being twenty something, but on the other, I feel like on a personal level I have never been better.
I think the best gift that comes with age is getting to know yourself and what really matters in this life (which can be different for everybody!). I think the dismay that comes with being 30 comes from what my twenty-something self thought being 30 meant: life would be all responsibilities and no fun. What didn't occur to me was how the right responsibilities can help you not miss the "fun." Priorities. That's the word I was looking for. The reality of being thirty, for me, is that I have a firm sense of what my priorities are, and I am blessed to be able to say that I am living a life that allows me to keep those priorities the way I want them.
Priority number one of 30 me? My family. There was always a little voice in the back of my head nudging me toward having a kid before I turned thirty so that when I did [turn 30], I could look at anything else not grown-up about my life and say "Oh yeah? Well I have a kid! I'm a parent! Nothing more grown up than that!" I am glad I waited until I was ready to have Daphne, but I'm also glad I was ready before 30. Daphne is also the best distraction in the world, for good or bad. She distracts me from work, she distracts me from cleaning, she distracts me from being a grown-up. She also helped distract me from dwelling on the loss of my furbaby. Instead of getting bothered by the pile of dishes in the sink? I look at the time I spend with my daughter and remember that I am just fulfilling my number 1 priority and it just doesn't matter any more. I also have this amazing husband who is my best friend and a true partner in parenting. He makes me laugh and smile every day. I feel so lucky to know that whatever other things may give me grief in my life, I have my family and in the end that is all that really matters. If knowing that makes me a grown-up? Then hell yeah, I am 30.
No matter what age you are (it really is nothing but a number), I wish you the gift of personal clarity in your life priorities. I hope you can find where your happiness lies and have the wisdom and strength to make that your number one priority.