*Warning: This post is Rated PG13 for containing colorful language, and may not be suitable for people who do not have a sense of humor. If this offends you, please read no further, I promise it won’t hurt my feelings*
Let’s be honest, as far as birthday’s are concerned, after 21, it’s all down hill.
I don’t mean to be so cynical about it, but it’s true. I mean, I have literally never in my life heard someone exclaim with joy, “Guess what guys, I turn 30 next week, I am SO excited!”, have you? I didn’t think so. So yeah, that’s where I am in life, turning 30, the big 3-OH, or dirty 30, whatever they are calling it these days. I have now come to the point in my life, where as my birthday approaches, someone who knows me, kindly says “So are you turning 22?” with a wink in their eye. Yes, that’s right folks, the obligatory kind comments and friendly commentary on how “You don’t look a day over 21” have begun.
Apparently, no one takes age or life in general, seriously, until they are a two digit number that begins with a three. I mean think about it, it’s at this crucial point in our lives where we start comparing ourselves to our peers, and wondering where we went wrong. Sure, maybe the comparisons lightly start after the college years, we’ll say 25. We look around, notice that this girl, or that guy, whom we’ve never felt a competitive nature towards before, appears to be hitting the ground running faster than you. They’ve got a nice job straight out of college, or worse yet, have decided to go back for their graduate degree maybe even higher. They look like they’ve got it all figured out, and what about you, what are you doing with your life? You still don’t have your undergraduate degree and you go to college at the University of freaking Phoenix. You feel that pang of shame briefly, and then you realize, “Hey man, I’m only 25, I’ve got all the time in the world to get my shit figured out”.
Suddenly, 30 is here before you know it, and no longer are the comparisons with your peers fleeting, in fact, you are now seriously taking stock of your competition. I mean you’re clicking on their Facebook profiles, scrutinizing their “About” section, realizing that holy crap, not only did they get their Master’s, but they got their PhD too, they’re doctor’s now! When did this happen you wonder. Where was I? What was I doing? When did all these Facebook friends turn into doctors, lawyers, and bank execs?
Yes, taking stock of your peers, your social status, economic status, professional status, heck, your Facebook status…it inevitably happens at some point in our lives, and for some reason, it’s convenient if not mandatory that you do it as you say goodbye to your twenties. Our failures somehow become magnified at this crucial turning point in our lives. No longer do we think “Hey I can be anything I want!”, instead, we fret about what we have yet to accomplish and our regrets which didn’t seem to be there yesterday, are suddenly creeping to the foreground of our present.
I don’t know about you, but I am already over it and it hasn’t even been a day yet. No, I am not a doctor, lawyer, or bank exec. I do not have multiple degrees, and I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. I am 30, and I have a business degree that I earned from the University of freaking Phoenix, I worked my butt off for that degree; working full-time during the week, and writing business papers on the weekend. I am not climbing the ladder at some fancy corporation. No, in fact, the only boss I am sucking up to these days is my 16 month old who I take care of day in and day out. My professional duties include waking up multiple times a night, changing dirty diapers, preventing her from eating dog food, watching her eat dog food, chasing her around the house listening to her squeal with delight, setting the mood for nap time, and my favorite, waiting outside for her Daddy to get home so we can greet him. I don’t have the career I always dreamed of, yet, but I do have the family I always wanted.
You know what turning 30 really means? It means we can finally let go of all of that self-doubt, all of those insecurities we felt in our twenties. Because let’s be real, in our twenties, for some God awful reason we think we have to prove ourselves to anyone and everyone. Wouldn’t you agree that at some point, being in our twenties it felt a whole lot like being in our teens? I know I had moments of, “Is this an extension of high school?”. In some ways, turning 30 feels much like turning 18 did. It provides a certain freedom, a liberation–instead of being free from the handcuffs of childhood, we can now be free from giving a fuck about what others think about us, if we choose to. Am I right?
I am 30, and instead of worrying what I am not, I am going to own it and be happy with who I am. I am a mother, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a veteran, and I have travelled this world more than most people I know. I LOVE that instead of working in an office for no less than 40 hours a week, I get to be home and raise my daughter in these young years of her life. I will not give up on my dreams, and I refuse to believe that because I am a certain age, I should feel inferior for not having yet accomplished them.
So my dear friends, my peers who are joining this new era of life with me, don’t beat yourself up about this milestone, instead, 30 is our friend and I dare you to embrace it. I dare you to own this time in our lives and not look back. I know I’m going to.