Today I turn 30 years old, and embrace it with open arms.
I was not sure how I would feel about 30, when it actually happened, but I am thrilled to be alive in this decade and shed my 20s. My 20s did not suit me anymore. Especially, the past 3-4 years, so much has changed in my life and it is only fitting that the decade does, as well.
If there were a word to sum up my 20s, it would be “should.” I hit the ground running accomplishing the “shoulds” on my list. I plowed through my education and kick started my career, as I “should” do. I signed up for, and ran far too many marathons and half-marathons, because I “should” constantly be challenging myself. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do not only what I thought in my mind I “should” do, but also, what other people thought I “should” do.
I was not always kind to myself. I was not always present in happy moments. I got to a place where I realized my life was all about achievements, anxiety, stress, to-do lists and planning the next thing.
It was not about peace or happiness.
I slowly made some changes until something propelled to make big changes.
I never thought I would be planning my father’s funeral when I was 28 years old, but that is what life threw at me. I remember thinking, “I am only a kid, I can’t do this,” and I immediately cried to my mommy. However, having to deal with my father’s murder forced me to question how I was going to travel on difficult paths. How was I going to cope? I started practicing much healthier coping mechanisms that have helped me a great deal in my grief journey.
My early 20s were about checking off every to-do list box, so I had better control of the world around me. Later on, I started relinquishing some of that control and became OK with not always knowing what was next.
My first plane ride was when I was 20 years old. I was scared of travel and the unknown, but later became determined to push the boundaries of my comfort zone and get outside the world, as I knew it. I have been fortunate enough to connect with the earth across the United States and in Spain, Portugal, Morocco and China.
I am 30.
I start reading in bed around 8:00 and can make it to 9:00, on a good idea.
I get drunk off 2 glasses of wine.
I still make to-do lists, but am OK with not completing them.
I am kinder to myself.
I question whether I am content or complacent because there is still a nagging voice in the back of my head telling me I “should” be doing more.
I am at peace with the voices in my head.
I do not have major goals or achievements that I would like to complete by the time I am 40, if anything, maybe just a theme. I would like the theme of my 30s to be about kindness, not only to myself, but all living beings and the earth. If I can do that for ten years, it would truly be an accomplishment.
Thank-you, mom and dad, for the opportunity to learn, grow and experience this amazing world.