today, june 4th, on my 30th birthday.
i think i’ve wanted to be 30 my whole life.
whenever i dreamed of “the perfect age” it was always 30. 30 seemed so glamorous. mature. wise. not too young, not too old. goldilocks -just right. of course i had nothing to base this off of as these conclusions were formed long before thirty, flirty and thriving was a coined phrase thanks to poise magazine and jennifer garner, editor in chief, still, something told me that if i made it to 30, i’d have everything i ever wanted and more.
to give myself some inspiration for this post, i embarrassingly admit that i actually googled “turning 30” to see what my search would garner. i stumbled upon an article written by actress olivia wilde for glamour magazine. she turned 30 two years ago and had some pretty sage advice for ladies (or gents) about to mark the same milestone. perhaps my favorite piece of counsel was her closing remarks,
…And DON’T be bogged down by your past.
Saturn has now orbited the sun once since you’ve been alive; make this next go-round whatever you want it to be. Consider your baggage (bad boyfriends, job setbacks, body issues) lost by the airline of life, leaving you empty-handed at your new destination with only one choice: Go shopping.
That’s it. Now go—be awesome.
like olivia (we’re on a first name basis, obvi), what i love perhaps most about the dawning of a new decade is the idea of wiping the slate clean. let’s be real, at times, my 20’s were rough. there was a whole lot of (unsuccessful) dating and an even bigger amount of hating on the body i saw staring back at me in the mirror. what really sticks out when i look back on my 20’s is how unhappy i was for so much of it. i wasted away so many years longing to be in a different stage in life, rather than embracing the one i was currently in. it wasn’t until year 28, truly, that i began to take back control of my own happiness. and i fully believe these past two years have prepared me mind, body, and soul to not only just be okay with turning 30, but actually be excited about reaching this milestone, too.
but i know better than to live in regret. while there were moments of the past decade that i’d gladly take an eraser to, i know that each part of my journey to 30 was necessary in shaping me into the woman i am today. like a marble slab being chipped away into a piece of art, each year as a twenty-something was not spent in vain. the good parts, and most definitely the bad ones were building in me character, persistence, strength of mind and strength of spirit (and maybe a little physical strength, too (thanks studio barre)), patience, acceptance, humbleness, and most importantly, grace. these invaluable lessons will continue to aid me throughout the rest of my life -in my 30’s, 40’s and well past my golden age. but if i could go back, go back to my bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 20-year-old self. fresh from college graduation with a degree and a mortgage and a new job in a new city, i’d want to equip her with a bit of wisdom on how to navigate the next ten years. so here it goes.
my darling girl,
first things first (i’m the realest), embrace your life just as it is. in this very moment. don’t waste away your days wishing you had been dealt someone else’s hand. besides, any hand looks better with an instagram filter on it (oh btw, instagram is like facebook but better). your time will come. in the meantime, be a good friend. accept invitations to travel (especially abroad) and for the occasional blind date (it works out for you in year 29, just FYI). don’t apologize for friday nights in but don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone every once in a while, either. avoid relationships that leave you feeling used or worthless. don’t be in such a hurry to grow up, adulthood is overrated. but also never let the fact that you’re young deter you from chasing your dreams. there is no “right” or “wrong” time to do/start/achieve anything. there is only God’s time. His timeline is perfect, believe me, even when you swear you’re going to die alone with 27 cats. and you don’t even like cats. love your body for what it can do and less about what it could be. being five pounds thinner comes with a cost and life is too short to worry about calorie counting or whether or not you can fit into a size 0. let your hair grow and avoid too much hair dye. invest in clothes that make you feel good. tell your family that you love them. often. you have the best parents in the world, seriously. be kind to everyone. especially your starbucks barista. and smile. all the time. in fact, be sure to surround yourself with people who will make you laugh. screw crow’s feet, laughing is the best cure for anything. except maybe crow’s feet.
try not to concern yourself so much with others’ opinions of you and your decisions. easier said than done, i know. but let me tell you, basing your behavior off of what someone will or will not think of you is exhausting. amy poehler (this really great comedian who parlays her stint on SNL into a hit sitcom and movie career) said it perfectly with this, “good for you, not for me.” repeat this mantra over and over again and hopefully others will do the same. focus on experiences and less on things. visit friends in different cities and states. see the world outside of your north county bubble. and for goodness sake, do your best to stay brushed up on the spanish language, it was your college major after all.
boys are stupid. plain and simple. as cute as he is, don’t go for the tim riggins hoping you’ll transform him into the matt saracen. instead, wait for a man with tim riggins looks and a matt saracen heart (wink wink, S). you’ll glean so much knowledge from your misadventures in love, but darling, if i could save you the heaps of heartache, i would. be cautious with who you give your heart to and the moment you start to feel it being mishandled, please walk away. your desire to be in a loving, committed relationship will be so visceral at times that it’ll be all you can do to simply swallow your pain and emotional toil and remain in a half-hearted courtship in the name of finding your happy ending, but being single is far better than being in a relationship with the wrong person. plus, when else will you be able to watch say yes to the dress and go to bed at 8 p.m. on a saturday night?
be gracious to others. and most importantly, with yourself. you’re probably aware of this already, but you are your own worst critic. you live by a set of impossibly high standards. cut yourself a little slack. you’re not super woman. though it would be fun to wear a cape. forgive yourself when you inevitably make a mistake and move on. and extend the same courtesy to those around you, too. you’re fantastically fallible. try and do your best and if you need help, never be afraid to ask for it. you are not an island and the arsenal of support you’ve built up around you in family, friends, and colleagues is second to none.
above all else, please remember this: you are loved. you are wanted. you matter. your worth is not contingent on your marital status, job description, dress size, and most certainly not on how many likes your post gets on facebook. you are exactly where you need to be for the road that lies ahead. i won’t lie and tell you that this next ten-year journey isn’t paved with just as many pits as there are peaks, but just remember we only learn to appreciate the rainbows when we first experience the rain. hang in there kid, you’re going to be great.
so on that note, hey 30? you’re up.
no pressure or anything, but i’ve been waiting my whole life for you.