30. I am the authority and I’m also amorphous. I feel behind and too far ahead. I have a husband and two little kids. We’re settled and stable.
And yet, in some ways I feel younger than ever. I spend my days in the park running around. I roll on the floor and squeal. My days are unstructured.
My 20s are over. Those are the years of exploring, experimenting, and figuring out who you want to be. But for me, those years were getting married, getting pregnant twice, and squeezing in an MBA in between. My 20s were full of first apartment jitters, learning to share a queen size comforter, applying to grad school, giving birth, putting myself first, second, third, and then fourth.
So while turning 30 feels momentous, the end of an era, the beginning of something new, I’m left feeling…what now?
The past 10 years hit me at an accelerated pace with exhausted stupors and caffeine-induced vertigo. Now the momentum is stabilizing to a comfortable jog instead of a sweaty sprint. I can devote time to writing. I can sleep a solid six or seven hours at night. I can shower long enough to shave both my legs and my armpits instead of having to choose which one is in more dire need of depilation.
I have enough experiences to give advice when asked, but not enough to offer unsolicited wisdom. I’m old enough to have strong opinions, but young enough to still listen with an open mind. I have a core group of friends who buoy me and I’ve cut out the Debbie Downers.
My 30s will bring more comfort with discomfort. I can roll with whatever comes, knowing that at the end I’ll rise to the top and float. I used to be paralyzed by “what ifs.” Now I don’t think about what might happen. Often, things turn out better than I expect or at least I can deal with whatever comes better than I had anticipated.
Bring on the 30s. The scary, the crazy, the ups and the downs. I’ll eat what I want without worrying about the calories. I’ll make myself first again, for at least one hour a day. And I’ll enjoy the second hand of my watch beating to a tolerable tempo.
I lived in a cloudy frenzy and now the air is clearing. I can be a 30-year-old going through my 20s: exploring, experimenting, and figuring out who I want to be in this new stage.