What’s the best thing about turning thirty? While I don’t really know, I feel like that’s the point. The thirties hold a different kind of promise than the twenties did. The exploration, the course-setting, the “who am I/” has given way to a deeper, more established path of life and identity. Here are some of the reasons why I’m happy to verge on a new decade.
Thirty feels like an accomplishment. Somehow I feel that I’ve made it. At thirty, I know things. There is wisdom in this mind of mine. There is a considerable amount of experience to draw from. Some things I’ve learned: the perfect time to go to bed; how to make my needs heard; how to birth a baby! Some things I have still not learned: how to change a tire; how to grow vegetables that actually produce a harvest; how to french braid my hair (or do pretty much anything with my hair, alas).
I’m not in my twenties anymore. Let’s face it, being a twenty-something is not always fun and games. The twenties often involve a lot of messy, life-shaping decisions regarding education, career, and relationships. Building this foundation is really stressful and overwhelming, hence the Quarterlife Crisis. Goodbye to that.
It’s another milestone birthday. Usually I don’t go in for big birthday celebrations; a dinner out with my husband has been the standard for the last seven years. Having an excuse to honor myself is especially needed now that I am fully entrenched in parenthood. The last time I had an important birthday was nine years ago. Thankfully, this birthday will be much different from my twenty-first. Dancing around a bar called Shenanigan’s while guys buy me shots of Wild Turkey (eeewwww!) sounds like zero fun now, and it wasn’t that much fun then (see above). I will be doing dignified grown-up things like going to the theater and having brunch, thankyouverymuch.
I’m finally growing into myself. People have told me all my life that I have an old soul, so this is a bit like playing catch-up for me. It feels good to become older, wiser, and more me. After all, for years I’ve heard people say they are happiest in their thirties, so I feel like I have a lot to look forward to. No, the physical side of things is no picnic. Last summer, I saw a picture of myself smiling and thought, “Crow’s feet! Seriously?” I have to get past it, though. Life is life, and I’m here to live it.
I know that in many ways, age is a rather arbitrary factor in what life brings you. There is nothing magical about being thirty that will keep me from dealing with problems I faced in my teens and twenties, or those I might face in forties, fifties, and beyond. All I'm saying is, the view looks pretty good from here.