Thursday, June 2, 2016

On Turning 30

I turned 30 this week. The big 3 – 0. I thought it would feel more dramatic, but in reality, it only feels, well, natural.

Most people dread turning 30 because it’s the first mile marker of adulthood that requires us to assess who we are and where we are going. I suppose, generally, there’s a desire to retain the youth of our 20s. It’s why turning 29 (again!) is a well-known joke among women.

Now that I’ve joined the club, I get it. I’ll probably never have my 18-year-old body or my 21-year-old stamina for all-nighters while working multiple jobs and taking over-the-regular load of coursework.

Those days are behind me because, let’s be real, ten o’clock is my bedtime now, and except on rare occasions, staying up later than 11:00 or midnight on a weekend stretches me.

But the truth is, I didn’t dread 30. I welcomed it, celebrated it, and embraced it—ending the evening in my favorite place, where I browsed titles of new fiction releases and dreamed of seeing my name on those shelves one day.

Maybe that’s my personality—to always look ahead, wishing I were further down the road than today.

I’ve shared before how I have to battle an inferiority complex I face all the time as the youngest—the youngest in my family, the youngest of my friends, the youngest in my PhD program, the youngest faculty in my department, etc.

Maybe it began long ago as a child, always wishing to be X age like my brother or sister so I could do A, B, or C.

But in January of 2015, I put a stop to the days of wishing ahead, and I began to embrace this season, MY season and all that God says I am.

Maybe embracing 30 is simply related to that decision.

Can I tell you a secret?

When Howell and I married, we were 22, and I was halfway through my master’s program. We began planning our future, dreaming for our family as most couples do. Finishing grad school was important to me, so we declared that we would get pregnant with our first child in 2011, after I finished my PhD coursework. We would then have our second child a few years later—perhaps in 2013 or 2014.

If life didn’t go as planned, we had a little cushion, of course, but the goal was to have our family complete by the time we turned 30—in 2016.

Back then, in 2008, these 22-year-old kids never considered that God might have a different plan.

Today, I’m 30, and my plan is so far off track that it went out the window a while ago.

But you know what?

I don’t feel the least bit sorry for my altered course.

For this thirtieth birthday, I felt so incredibly loved and treasured.

My sweet husband and my best friend managed to throw me a surprise party ten days before my actual birthday. (That’s a challenging feat!) I was overwhelmed by the mere presence of so many friends and family.

On my actual day of birth, I felt equally as loved all over again. Why? Because of the people in my life.

I’ve said before how grateful I am for this blessed life I live. I have an extraordinary marriage with a life-long partner, and I have relationships with family and friends that are rare and precious.

My 22-year-old self anticipated a different 30, but this newly minted 30-year-old self is quite pleased with where I am.

Sure, my metabolism might be steadily sinking, but you know what? My best days are still in front of me.

I’m only one-third (-ish) through this beautiful life, which means there’s still so much living to do.

So what’s the new plan? Well, I’ll tell ya!

The new plan is called trusting God’s plan, and it’s a great way to live:

Grateful for his goodness, mindful of His blessings, and filled with His peace for my future. 

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