Monday, August 13, 2012

Being 30 Doesn't Suck

I have had a lot of angst the last few years as I have careened into my 30's.  I was honestly horrified to no longer be in my twenties.

Horrified.

Saddened.

But mostly.... disappointed.  Not disappointed in life but really in myself.  I always wanted to be awesome by the time was 30.  And yet, here I was, 30, a bunch of kids, a college degree I never used, a totally unimpressive work record (waitress, waitress, waitress...) and my "flower", my physical beauty, rapidly declining.

I turn 33 in a few months and suddenly I feel different. 

As it turns out being in your thirties is kind of awesome.

I feel more confident, more sure of what I want now and in the future, more comfortable in my own skin than ever before.  (Of course my skin is more comfortable, it is more stretchy....)  Seriously though- the stretch marks don't bother me any more.  It is like I realized it didn't matter if I looked like somebody in a magazine.  THEY don't even look like that.

I am still young enough to be healthy, but old enough to appreciate my health.  Young enough to have fun, but old enough not to endanger myself in the process.

I can't believe I felt useless being "just a mother".  I don't know what I was thinking.

Actually I DO know what I was thinking.  I thought that everything would implode if I hadn't done something drastically, awesomely, "TODAY Show" fabulous by the time I turned 30.  But guess what I had forgotten in my terror?  I forgot that LIFE DOESN'T END AT 30.  In fact, it is only just beginning.

What a difference a few years makes.

I am now so glad and grateful to be a mom.  I am so happy that I get to stay home with my kids.  I love teaching birth classes.  I feel humbled and honored to be involved with Birth Boot Camp and to serve on their board of directors.  I can't believe that people I don't know read this silly little blog.   

You know what I think really changed-  I think I realized that I actually matter.  I finally accepted that being a mother and doing the little things I do is important.  They matter enough for me to be kind of happy with myself.  I realized too that mattering to ME- was enough.  Not sure how much I CARE anymore if it matters to you or society or anybody else.  I know that what I am doing matters.

And I realized that I have an entire LIFE left to live and do and be and create and make a difference. 

I think that we repeatedly get the message that youth (and by youth I mean teenage years through the twenties) is the BEST time of life.  Women cut their bodies willingly to make them look like they did when they were 20.  Men take drugs to make their hair grow back.  People even leave their families so that they can latch back onto the things they wished they had done "back then."  We tend to admire those who lack "ties that bind" and pity those who have heavy responsibilities and mortgages and spitting kids. 

The truth is though that all those things we yearn for in our culture: perfect skin, sag free, stretch free, scar free perfection, freedom and fearlessness- they don't really matter that much.

It is easy to be fearless when you don't have anything of value to hold on to or look out for.  It is easy to have smooth skin when your body has never been pushed to it's limits.  And freedom is everywhere when there is nobody who needs you.

But you also miss out on the love and the devotion that come with need.  You miss out on the triumph that comes from overcoming.  And being free from people and their desires sure sounds lonely these days.

Those wrinkles I am starting to get around my eyes, they tell a story.  They started showing up after about 6 years of minimal sleep and constant stress about money and marriage and making everything work.  They got deeper when I played in the sun with my kids and went running in the mornings when everybody was asleep.

The best part about my growing wrinkles and my silvery stripes though is that I barely notice them.  I hardly look in the mirror.  My life is too busy and too full for much self examination.  There is always something else to do.  There is always somebody who needs me and values my love, my touch, my words.

I can think of nothing more beautiful and no life more worth living than one that is consumed by service for others that I love.  That is where the joy comes and I am so incredibly grateful for it.

Sometimes I still want to punch my husband in the throat or hide from the kids.  Sometimes I still wish I had done more when I was younger and it would have been easier.

But now I always know that I am blessed.  I know that life goes on and now I know what I want it to go on to.  I have a vision for the future.  I have an appreciation for myself.  I am more confident and happier and luckier than I could have ever imagined.

It is true-  Don't be afraid of 30.  It is so much better than you ever imagined.


(PS- I realize that the phrase, "punch in the throat" is kind of wacky but it totally makes me laugh and I had to work it in here somewhere.  How can I fit that in a birth post?  Ya know?)

13 comments:

Lionelsa said...

Thank you for this post! My 30th birtday is after 2 days. I feel just like you write. Hope soon be a mother and see all beautiful moment in my 30s :-)

Anonymous said...

Lovely piece. I put 40 where you wrote 30. I have more silver hairs on my head than silver stretch marks now and more wrinkles on my face than my belly and hips. Falling in love with an older wildly sensuous woman

Raisin4Cookies said...

I once read somewhere that the human brain doesn't fully mature until age 30. Somehow that makes perfect sense! I spent my younger years figuring myself out, settling into a version of me that felt the most authentic and true.

I'm "only" 31, and it feels good. I really understand the idea of being old enough to enjoy my life but young enough to have the health along with it.

This is when it starts getting good!

Better Than Eden said...

I love this and it is so true. I'll be 32 next week. Turning 30 really threw me for a loop and I felt like I had slept walked through my 20's (understandable all the baby-induced sleep deprivation, I suppose!). Just this year things feel just like you're saying and I'm doing a lot more savoring of life and not just surviving it. I feel more alive and I barely have time to look in a mirror. And it is good. And I'm getting more sleep so I think that helps ;)

Kelly HTandT said...

Beautifully said and perfectly timed, I turn 30 next month! I feel pretty good about it though, I'm ready to be in my thirties, I'm proud of my twenties and embracing the next stage. Thanks for reinforcing my positive feelings :-)

momto5 said...

i turn 40 in a couple weeks. and i am freakin out a bit. 40 was old. i remember when my mom turned 40... she was OLD! and now i will be turning 40, and i don't feel old. but what have i done? what is there left to do? is it all down hill? i mean in another 40 years i will be 80! weird and scary.
and BTW, i love "punch in the throat" that cracked me up.

Cindy Perez said...

Punch in the throat!!! Ha!!! I say "kick you in your face" sometimes to the hubbie, but in a loving and joking manner :D

Megan Hutchings said...

Great post! I've been recently thinking about my own upcoming 30 and wondering if I'll handle it with grace. 30 has never seemed very old to me, but then again, it does mean I'm not a "young" person. Honestly, some days I wonder if I'll qualify for 30 since I often still wonder if I'm even allowed to be classified as an "adult" yet! Ha!

I love how you've come to peace with motherhood. You totally said everything I've experienced as I rode through 25 and had babies 2&3. :D

Unknown said...

This is the last year of my 20s. This really hit home. <3

Unknown said...

This is the last year of my 20s. This really hit home. <3

thefullmontessori said...

This... "It is easy to be fearless when you don't have anything of value to hold on to or look out for. It is easy to have smooth skin when your body has never been pushed to it's limits. And freedom is everywhere when there is nobody who needs you."

WOW. Just wow. :)

Sharon said...

I turned 32 on Saturday and someone asked me if I was turning 29 for the 3rd time. After a beat, I said no, I actually like the idea of being 32. 29-30 was a blah time but now I feel awesome and love it - complete with saddle bags, stretch marks, un-glamorous mommy wardrobe etc.

Enjoy Birth said...

Just so you know. Being in your 40s is even more wonderful than your 30s. :) It only gets better.

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