Warning: Explicit language. A.k.a. I like the F word. (Sorry, mom.)
Thirty is a strange year. A lot of people would say it’s the year you’re supposed to start having all your shit together, maybe own a house, have a kid or two if that’s your thing, the career you want. You’re supposed to finally be a real, live adult. You’ve had this whole decade of your twenties when everyone says you should enjoy “it” while you’re young (whatever “it” is). Experiment, travel, be a twenty-something. Then, BAAM, your fourth decade comes around and fuck. What am I doing?
I’m just past the halfway mark of thirty and I’m going to share my experience of it with you, because it’s an awesome one. It’s not awesome in the way you might think. It’s not awesome as in like, we bought our first house, or had this amazing travel experience or landed the dream job and the cash just started rolling in (although I’m working on that). It’s awesome because on this day, halfway into thirty, I feel like this has been a year of transcendence, and the best decade of my life yet is stretched out in front of me. I hope if someone else is reading this and feeling like they’re not where they want to be or where they should be at thirty, they walk away knowing the answer is not as complicated as they think. All you have to do, is own it.
From an outsider’s perspective, you would definitely say that this year has tested me. I rang in year thirty with an accidental, second baby. The most joyful, blessing I could ever receive. He is divine happiness in a chubby, pudgy, squishy little body. That said, going from one child to two isn’t for the faint of heart, and to compound it, I had multiple complications from a very scary emergency c-section that took me six months to recover from. All this while chasing around a three year old and nursing an infant ‘round the clock. We also moved to a new apartment when the baby was just two months old. I can safely say that was the most physically tested I have been to date.
My husband also went away for his first prolonged work trip and was gone for a month to the west coast. I am thankful that I have family only a couple of miles away that were a huge help while he was gone. Even so, it was challenging. Challenging like, I really wish it was okay to drink a fucking bottle of wine every night while breastfeeding. There have been other things as well. We’ve been financially tested, tested in our relationship and more.
The thing about all of this that has made thirty so transformative is that it was the first year of my life that I fully accepted one hundred percent of my situation and responsibility for my own happiness. (I have a longtime friend, mentor and boss that I am extremely grateful for who helped me get there. Plug: You can read more about that here).
As a family, we are still in the midst of some tough times. Yet, I feel I am somehow sailing gracefully above the rough seas below. I see them. I know they are there. I don’t deny their existence. The waves are rolling and crashing and I feel the water splashing me. I know I must do something to calm them. There has been a time or two when I forgot I had wings and fell briefly into the water, felt the drowning sensation start to take hold. Then, I quickly remembered that all I had to do was something and there I was again, above the water.
Ironically, there is liberation in owning everything. You stop worrying so much about the future, about what other people think or do. You don’t worry because you know that you have the power within you to change whatever it is that needs to be changed. You know that you have the power every day you wake up to be happy or not. To wake up and choose. That is your power. To wake up and say, “Today I am going to be happy. Today I am going to be grateful. Today I am going to do something to change what needs to be changed.” You find peace in your current situation while simultaneously working toward a better future.
Happiness also starts coming easier because you stop relying on other people for it. You stop taking things so personally and with that cloud gone you can better see the reasons people behave and feel the way that they do. You can respond in a more sensitive way. You can forgive more quickly. You can love better. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
Year of the butterfly. That’s what I’m calling this year for me. A year of sometimes painful transformation.
The year I got my wings.
Now, I learn how to use them.