I’m going to be THIRTY on Saturday. So, so, so old.
I thought I would be a lot more freaked out about the whole sitch than I actually am. The way I see it? The last major birthday we celebrate is 21. At 21 I was stressed about post-college plans, had enough money to split an already half priced appetizer and was still losing my baby fat. The next big birthday we celebrate is 50, where I can only assume I will look weathered and saggy. That makes 30 seem the best possible major birthday to celebrate – well into a career, post-college/pre-kid discretionary income, post baby fat/pre-sag, all of which give me the ability to pursue a new adventure any day of the week. That’s a lot to celebrate – so pop the cork and bring on the strapless dress, stilettoes and confetti!
But just as with any right-of-passage, I thought I would jot down a few of the things I’ve learned in 30 years as well as the things that I’m looking for in the coming thirty.
A few things I’ve learned NOT to do…
- High Five. We can even approach it in slow motion and I’ll still mostly miss your hand. I might have a depth perception problem. I’m also terrible at the ever-so-common friendly workplace greeting – a hand shake with a half hug with a cheek kiss. There is so much going on I get overwhelmed and unintentionally make it as awkward as possible.
- Eat anything that may leave an orange cheese stain on my fingers. If you find yourself licking chemical cheese residue from your fingers I’m guessing you picked up whatever you’ve been snacking on at Wal-Mart. And if you are picking up snacks at Wal-Mart, I have a feeling I might see you on the Biggest Loser sooner rather than later. So….stop.
- Wear capris or overalls. I went through that phase in college and hung onto both for entirely too long. Like, a decade too long. I’m still angry no one ever intervened for me.
- Use social media to brag about every business trip, vacation and impulsive location I’m in. I was at a work party several years ago which was so boring we were all glued to our phones. I was reading a co-workers status update thinking “that sounds like SO MUCH fun! I wish I could be there.” He was sitting right next to me. I can make my life sound as glamorous or as boring as I want to. You might not know about all of the cool things that I do, but I don’t want to ever overinflate the reality of my day to day either.
A few things I’ve learned…
- There is always someone better at something than you are. My mom told us this growing up and I think it really helped us be happy kids and well-adjusted adults. Never used as an excuse to give less than our best, this understanding created team players, managed our own expectations of ourselves and helped us win or come in last place equally as gracefully.
- There is freedom in boundaries. Rules exist for our benefit. When I follow the rules, I’m mentally prepared for this day, to dive into what the Lord has for me right this moment. Living with no boundaries takes time and energy away from what I’m supposed to be focused on – I miss out on the freedom of living because I’m dealing with baggage.
- The grass in never greener on the other side. It’s just different grass. Lots of folks live in the “if only” space – if only I had a different career, if only I had a husband, if only I had more money. Then they get those things and the “if only” continues, it just changes focus. I’ve learned I’m the most content when I have no “if only” thoughts and live fully engaged in the things that the Lord has for me in my own yard, right now.
- We will never get the love we really need from each other. We are going to get it from God, in heaven. So instead of looking for someone to “complete me” Jerry McGuire style and expect them to create constant euphoric feelings (Hollywood love), I’m praying for someone committed to bringing out what God has invested in me and vise versa. Someone whose perspective is “how can I love you?” instead of “how do you make me feel?” The person who knows that a spouse isn’t a savior is focused on how to love unconditionally, serve wholly and take care of as priority.
A few things I want to do in the next 30 years…
- Maintain a sense of adventure and willingness to try new things with new people. It keeps life interesting! Anyone up for bungee jumping on Friday? Hot air balloon ride next Sunday morning? Of course you can stay here! Zip line through the mountains in Asheville, go on an African safari, gondola ride in Italy or something as simple as game night with people who have never met one another before. Adventure isn’t always complicated, just purposeful.
- Get married and create a family of my own. I’m so glad that the Lord is pacing me! I have had the ability to focus on how to be a better daughter, sister and friend in adulthood because He didn’t let me get in front of His plan. I’m excited that the role of being a wife and mother is still something I have to look forward to and it’s not all a written story yet. But Dear, Lord I’m pretty sure we can start writing now!! I’ve shared my prayers in this space before (here) and if I meet someone with this perspective I think we will look back in 30 years and be really proud of what we did together.
- Seek out opportunities to be generous and impactful. To whom much is given, much is required. In 30 years I’ve been given more than I could’ve imagined. The Lord is writing such an intriguing story I have to make sure that nothing is wasted, that all is repurposed for His work. I also want to make sure that the narrative is always consistent, that everyone knows what you get with me – hospitality of an open home, trustworthiness of an open spirit, generosity of an open palm and hopefully 30 years of loving others well with an open heart!