It’s here. The day most people dread and some deny altogether. My 30th birthday. I mean, I’m not surprised to be super old now. I have size 12 crow’s feet, can no longer jump on a trampoline without having to put a heating pad on my back afterward, and, while definitely nowhere near Libertarianism, my world view creeps closer and closer to Ron Swanson’s with each passing year. Nothing is my business, and nothing is anyone’s else’s business. Unless that business is barbecue ribs. But that’s a different kind of business. A restaurant business. Look at me, I’m getting senile already. What was I even talking about? Trampolines? Ribs? Put me out to pasture, I’m done. I’m old.
I joke about being sad to say goodbye to my 20’s, but the truth is I’m the exact opposite. I’m fucking elated to be rid of my 20’s, because frankly, I was terrible at being a 20-something and I don’t like doing things I am terrible at. I understand why I was supposed to enjoy them. I recognized even then that I was in a position of great privilege, being a strong, somewhat attractive, 20-something with no real responsibility but to keep my grades up and, you know, “find myself” (barf). But I could never get myself to really enjoy it. While I could drink a fifth of whatever and tan and smoke and run and skip class and get naked and get arrested like the best of them, my heart was never really in it. I’ve been wanting to be old since I was four, when I’d pretend to read the paper and ask my grandparents for sips of their coffee, forcing myself to like it. No matter what my age, everyone my age gave me a headache and all of my problems would be solved by simply aging. I’d no longer have to live with my family, and then I wouldn’t have to go to school anymore, and then eventually I’d retire and wouldn’t have to work, either. And then, THEN I’d be my true self: a 65 year old woman with many cats, one dog who loves cats, and one husband who loves us all. Hopefully I’ll be living between an ocean and a mountain, with a vegetable garden that my herd of very well-behaved goats do not eat. I’ll also be driving a Subaru Outback. I don’t know why, but I’ve always wanted a Subaru Outback.
While I’m still many years away from 65, I have to say that 30 is feeling pretty good. After years of at unfulfilling, disappointing, soul-sucking jobs, I’m finally pursuing a career that makes me happy every single day, even when it’s hard. I love owning an online store, tracking the stats and making plans to expand and grow my business. I love the personal side of it, when I go to an appointment and a perfect stranger makes a pot of coffee while we pour over her late grandmother’s clothes and she tells me the story behind each party dress. I’m invited in their lives for an afternoon and leave with a bit of their family history that’s going to live on through others. I’m grateful to be a part of that. I’m grateful that, even though it has taken me longer than others, I get to do what I’ve always wanted to do. Not everyone gets that chance. I count my lucky starts I’m able.
For the first time in my entire life I’m really happy with my body. I’ve gone up a dress size, have gained 10 pounds, and several inches. But this is all because I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, and have made huge strides in my fitness and overall health. I started lifting weights on the regular, and not just dinky five pounders like I’ve used in the past, but heavy weights paired with hard, heart pumping plyometrics. All of this helped me get through another marathon training cycle strong and injury free. I even crossed the finish line 33 minutes faster than when I ran my first marathon at the age of 24. I like the way my body looks, but mostly I appreciate it for what does for me. That’s not to say I don’t miss fitting into my smaller vintage dresses like I used to, but would I trade being able to wear those dresses for my new muscles? No way. Just a few days ago I reached my goal of being able to do 30 pushups by the time I’m 30. And that feels a lot better than fitting into a dress.
Unlike in my early to mid-twenties, I’m now taking real responsibility for my short comings, and am working to make improvements where I need to. It’s easy to pass the blame on others when you’re young and everything and everyone is temporary to you, but I now have lasting relationships and long-term responsibilities that deserve my best. I, like all humans, will always have my bad days, but becoming more self-aware has helped me snap out of funks, not take things out on others, and make better decisions. Again, I don’t nail it every day; maybe not even most days. But I haven’t gotten into a bar fight or eaten through three boxes of mac and cheese in one sitting just to stop feeling feelings in a really long time, so I’m getting there.
Lastly, I’m glad to say that I’m finally comfortable with who I am. At 30, I’m no longer worrying what other people think of me, or worrying about not being smart enough, funny enough, pretty enough, whatever enough. This person I’ve become is a little weird and eats too many donuts and is short tempered but working on it. But this person has also accumulated a group of friends who are not just friends, but are family, a husband who is supportive and silly and really hairy, and a life filled with hilarity and thoughtfulness and hope for the future. This 30 year old person I am feels like it could kick the ass of the 20 year old person I was. Turing 30 feels like coming home. Coming home to a plate of delicious barbecue ribs.