I was just looking through my old posts and unfinished drafts that never got published and I came across one I started writing just before my birthday last year. My thirtieth birthday, actually. I realized I had a lot of thoughts about being thirty and since this is the first real post in my Thirty Day Challenge, it seemed fitting to revisit it.
To be honest, I was not thrilled to be turning thirty. Many friends can attest to that statement being a serious understatement. I was scared to not be in my twenties anymore. It felt like I was being forced to leave behind all things youthful and would suddenly be expected to “grow up” and “get my shit together” and “start doing something productive with my life”. No one had actually said that I needed to do these things, but I felt this unbelievable pressure to “figure it out”. I still don’t know what “it” was that I was meant to figure out but I was simply not ready to thirty. Thirty-year-olds are adults and I am no adult.
The days leading up to my birthday were full of fretting over my imagined deadline of adulthood and fear that I would wake up on my birthday being crushed under the weight of my age. But then, I woke up on my birthday and didn’t remember until I was halfway through my coffee. And then, all I thought was, “well, I guess thirty ain’t so bad” and that was it.
Since then I’ve noticed a few things. The most interesting thing is that when people find out that I’m in my thirties, they assume I know what I’m talking about and respect my opinions and life choices. Not that I never had respect in my twenties, but when talking about career goals or dreams for the future, I was often met with “oh, your’re young, you’ve got plenty of time to figure out what you want”. Even when I was very clearly stating something that I had already figured out I wanted. That doesn’t happen so much these days. People see a thirty-year-old woman and think “oh yeah, she’s an adult, she knows what she wants” and then they leave it at that.
As it turns out, I respect my own choices more too. I am far more motivated to pursue those things. I no longer need someone else to tell me it’s a good idea or agree with me. I fight for my choices and for my dreams and for my goals. I no longer give a shit if someone thinks my life is full of flighty, wistful, hippy-dippy, day-dreamin’. Because my day-dreamin’ has gotten me through some hellish nightmares and developed into some pretty exciting things in my life.
In the end, I’m happy to say that something that was so scary and out of my own control (and actually kind of arbitrary if you think about it) quickly became so liberating and reaffirming and lovely and so many other fantastic things. I was terrified by a number but here I am, so happy and free and thirty.