You may not know this, but today is my birthday! I turn 30 years old today. This birthday, typically, is met with some degree of trepidation. The media makes it appear as though women are meant to fear the aging process, and the year thirty in particular - so much so that a good friend of mine created a hashtag for the month leading up to her thirtieth birthday to remind herself to find joy in the everyday moments (#hellothreeoh was a great success, in my opinion!)
Sure, around this time in life there is a bit of a sense of needing to keep up with everyone else. There can also be a freedom in getting older, in moving away from your childhood, in realizing how many individuals are in the world and that you aren't meant to match everyone else.
As I realize how short life is, and how much I still wish to accomplish in my time on this green earth, I am also growing more thankful for what I do have.
If I am being honest, I looked forward to turning thirty! I wanted my age to match the adult transitions I've been undergoing since finishing graduate school several years ago. Feeling more in control of my decisions, as if I am on the path to a lasting career, that I have surrounded myself with friends and family who support and understand me - these are all feelings that make being thirty comforting, not frightening. I've been telling people I was thirty for the past six months, because I was ready to be so. I'm ready to enter this new stage of life.
I feel my age...in the best way possible.
Since thirty-year-old me is so wise, she wanted to remind twenty-nine-year-old her just how far she's come.
#1: It's ok to want to look nice. It doesn't mean you are vain, or conceited, or shallow. Liking the way you appear to others makes you feel more confident in how you relate to the world, and that is something that should not be overlooked.
#2: But, you are not just your appearance. You have qualities to offer the world - smarts, friendship, laughter, sometimes wit - that are composed of nothing but your personality and your brain. Do not let your looks, which will ebb and flow over time, comprise your self-worth.
#3: It is not totally humiliating to be seen walking up Pine Street carrying a big packet of toilet paper and a bottle of detergent. It just means you're an adult.
#4: Please try to stop spending so much money at Starbucks in your thirties! You have a french press and coffee at work. This is just embarrassing.
#5: You are exactly where you are supposed to be. I know it sounds cliché and, frankly, fake when people say this - but it's the truth. You have had many experiences leading you here, and you have many experiences yet to go through. Don't rush it.
#6: You know who you are now. Maybe not perfectly, and maybe not entirely, but for the most part, you know Who You Are. And you're allowed to remove people, and ideas, and practices from your life that don't fit into that.
#7: You still don't floss enough, because no one flosses enough. Keep at it.
#8: Don't forget that what you see on Instagram is a highly curated life. Real life is more varied, more complex, more turbulent. Social media is like the best-lit version of a professional product shoot for Vogue; real life is like one of those paper towel commercials about constantly spilling red juice on the carpet.
#9: Always bring your phone charger.
#10: You will probably not regret spending money on something classic, and sure, you might regret forking over your hard earned dough for that sequined skirt you've been wanting. Trust your instincts - get the skirt.
There have been a few awkward moments, several life lessons, a bit of crying, and many snarky comments in the past 10,950 days, all leading up to feeling just that much more...myself. Thirty will be wonderful, as will the years to follow, because I will be even more me.
At least, I hope so. Ask me again when I'm turning forty - this confidence could all have gone to h-e-double-hockey-sticks.
For now, I celebrate!