Thirty times around the sun.
It takes a while for that to sink in. Three decades. Where did the time suddenly go?
When you are growing up, older people always talk about how time just passes more and more quickly as you get older. You roll your eyes every time. But it doesn’t take long to figure out just how accurate that is. Childhood seems to last forever while you’re in it, but then you blink and a decade is gone.
And I know what you’re supposed to say when you look back after each passing year.
How lucky I am to live this life.
There are so many people who haven’t reached this number.
What a beautiful life I have….I am so thankful…
And all of that is 100% true. I firmly believe it and know that I am incredibly fortunate.
But in knowing how incredibly fortunate you are, there is also loss. Because those thirty (or however many) years are gone and you will never get them back. And I believe that only the most fortunate people are able to feel those years slide by with such a heaviness that it aches.
If I hadn’t had a crazily beautiful life thus far, would I be sad that those years were behind me? Of course not! If I wasn’t so incredibly fortunate and thankful, I would be glad that they were behind me and would only care to look forward. But having so many memories that I can look back on with a lamentation of love is a good thing. It’s okay to feel something other than grateful. It’s okay feel whatever it is you feel because that is a part of this life that we are so lucky to have.
So, I feel sad about turning 30. Not crawl-in-bed, drown-myself-in-sorrow sad. But nostalgic-sad. The carefree years of childhood are gone. The coming-into-adulthood years are gone. The free-to-make-silly-mistakes twenties are gone. And all of those years were full of memories that are deeply rooted in my very soul. I’m going to miss them and I feel a bit resentful about now being a “real” adult.
When you’re reaching a milestone like this and looking back on your life, it’s easy to focus on all of the things that you didn’t do or didn’t do enough. I wish that I had done more traveling. I wish that I had maybe made some different financial decisions. I wish that I had embraced experiences while I had the freedom to do so. I wish I had been a bit less lazy. I wish I had written more when I had the time. Hindsight is 20-20, as they say.
But then I think about the other side of the decisions I made. I’ve traveled to 11 countries outside of the U.S. I paid off my student loans quickly and bought a beautiful home. Embraced experiences? Let’s be real. I was an old woman at an early age. I was happy to be home early on a Friday night by the time I was probably 24. Who am I kidding to think I would have chosen any differently, given what I know now? I self-published two books. Sure, I probably should have had the patience to try the traditional route. But maybe that never would have gone anywhere either and no one would have read my stories.
Mourning my youth has actually been beneficial after all. Because you know what I realized? I do miss the girl I was and the stages that she went through. That’s only natural; that girl will always be a part of me. But she isn’t who I am anymore. I’d like to believe that I’m stronger and wiser than she was, in a way that only growing older can determine.
But I still get to carry her with me.
Say it louder for the ladies in the back!
Childhood is gone, but I get to relive it through the eyes of my son. I still get to play as much as I want. You want to shoot hoops? I’m down. You like to color? So do I. You want to splash in a water park? Let’s do it! There will always be a little kid inside of me sporting a Kool-aid mustache who will play board games for hours on end.
When it comes down to it, does anyone really miss their teenage years? In reality, no, I don’t want to go back to not being able to drive myself anywhere and having to get to school for 7:10 every day. I don’t want to deal with all of the awkwardness and the learning who you are again. I might still be trying to figure it out, but I sure don’t want to have to start all over.
I think right now my twenties are what are most raw. I had the freedom, I had the fun. I had the free time with the friends who also had the free time. Leaving the house wasn’t a thirty-minute project. But now I suppose we are all in the same boat. While I’ll miss the late nights in theory, I won’t miss the hangovers. Our get togethers might now be full of little people running around, and maybe there aren’t as many people drinking beer out of their shoe anymore. But now we’ll get to sit around and reminisce about those good times while we dole out juice boxes.
Remember the days when you could sleep until, oh, whatever time you wanted? Yeah, neither do I. They did exist somewhere back there in history. But you know what? This morning I woke up to the sounds of baby babbles and I smiled as I rolled over to look at the monitor. And I practically bounded out of bed because there is nothing better than the look and squeal of excitement on my boy’s face when he sees me first thing in the morning. And maybe now my body is more squishy in places I’d rather it wasn’t due to eating cheese in excess and the whole growing a human thing. But somewhere out there is a very toned, dairy-allergic woman who can’t have children, and I know she’d take my squish in a heartbeat.
This is what makes a bittersweet day. I feel like I’ve passed the marker of true youth and that’s a difficult pill to swallow. Being the young one is all you know until you’re not. But I’ve also come to realize that I think a certain amount of pressure has been lifted. I’ve done the work thing, the marriage thing, the baby thing. The expectations that so many people feel stressed to meet in their twenties are all checked boxes for me.
And hey, I have a reason to look tired now, amiright?
There’s a certain level of understanding about why your hair is perpetually thrown on top of your head in a bun.
I now know it’s a good thing I never bought stock in Tito’s, but I am considering a stock purchase in the coffee industry.
Baby lunch stains on my shirt in public? You know what, I showered today, so there’s that.
This isn’t 2AM singing along to music at the top of my lungs in a friend’s car on the way home. This isn’t spending two hours on hair and makeup getting ready to go out for the night. This isn’t sleeping until noon simply because I can…or because I didn’t get to bed until well after 3.
This is a baby arm slung around my neck for morning snuggles. This is letting sticky fingers pull my face in for a kiss. This is waking up ten times a night to rock to sleep, murmuring quiet lullabies. This is the new beautiful reality that I get to call my very own. This is to the next thirty years, that I may be able to look back on these moments when I’m 60 with an even greater nostalgia than I did today.
This is 30.