coming to terms with 30.

as i mentioned the last time i tended to this blog, turning 29 made me think a lot about turning 30.

which was daunting because it’s 30.  THIRTY.  it just sounds so much older than being in your twenties.  thirty implies responsibility, settling down, and knowing what you’re doing with your life.  thirty implies the end of your youth, the creeping onset of middle age.  thirty implies evaluating the milestones you set for your youth and seeing where you’ve fallen short.

i can check off a few things.  getting married, finishing school, making the best friends of all time — done, done, done.  but being responsible?  knowing what i’m doing with my life?  in those respects, i feel like i’m in a better place than i was for most of my twenties but nowhere near a final answer.  maybe there won’t ever be one.  or maybe that’s just what i tell myself because i’m behind schedule.

so thirty felt like this strange, foreign reality that i had no interest in visiting.  the mere thought of it made me scrunch up my face in discomfort.  thirty?  no thank you — i’ll just hang out at 29 forever.

but then i had a conversation with my BFF that changed my perspective.

we were talking about my work and how i don’t feel that much older than my students until i’m reminded — on a regular basis — that no, wait, i’m a LOT older than my students.  and we got to talking about what being in high school was like and how if given the choice, we would never opt to go back.

college?  same deal.  good times, yes.  but would we ever go back?  nope.

and then we got to talking about our twenties.  our twenties have been fun, no doubt — but they’ve also been incredibly difficult.  because your twenties, as dorothy pointed out so astutely, are when you learn what your limits are.  you learn that you can cannot do everything, you cannot be everything to everyone, and you can’t even live up to the person you think you are in your head.  it’s an amazing time of figuring out who you are, but it’s also a painful time of figuring out who you’re not and laying to rest lots of idealistic views of yourself, other people, the world.

so were they a good time?  yes.

would we do them again?  no.

and that’s when i realized that i think i’m ready for 30.  i think about who i was 10 years ago — heck, even 5 years ago — and what a mess i was in so many respects.  not that i’m not still a mess in some ways, but i just feel a lot more comfortable with who i am, with what i can reasonably expect from myself and other people, with where i am in life.  i have the best husband in the world.  i have the best friends in the world.  i love my job and i love where i live.  and all of these are pretty good things.

so.  after much debate, i think i’m ready for 30.  there will be plenty of growing and change in that decade, i’m sure — we have no idea where we’ll be in 18 months, let alone in 5 years, and surely life will look very different at the end of the decade than it does at the start.  but i feel good about entering this new phase.  if thirty means being comfortable with yourself and where you are in life… then that’s certainly something i can get behind.

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